Let Go and Love Yourself – Be Wild

 In Empowerment, Life Happens, Outdoors, Skills

Back when I was in the first grade I became a tomboy. I had seen the film “The Three Ninjas Kick Back” (ya guys, that happened). After watching that film I decided wanted to be just like those boys. Use awesome Karate skills to fight bad guys and go down in history. I refused to be called by my girly name and would run around topless just like the neighborhood boys because no one was going to tell me what a girl could do. One day, in a desperate attempt to understand why I was like this, my mom asked me why I wanted to be a boy. “There are no girl heroes.” I replied.  

At the time, child pop culture revolved around women needing to be saved, not doing the saving. Super Mario Brothers, Disney movies, cartoons, you name it – all of the people that saved the day were men. Personally, I thought that was unfair. What made it so impossible for girls to rule the world?

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The Modern Tomboy

Flash forward twenty-some-odd years and the scene has changed a bit. The female hero is in. Wonder Woman, the campaign to put women in the forefront of the outdoors industry, #ladyboss, the new Star Wars, heck, even Hermoine from Harry Potter. Finally! It took long enough. I’d be interested to see if the number of younger girls identifying themselves as tomboys has fallen. Turns out, no one has released a study on that quite yet.

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Study or no study it’s important to embrace those tomboy roots. Over the past four years I’ve embarked on a journey towards honesty. I woke up one day and realized that I was living someone else’s life. I had become what other people wanted me to be instead of embracing who I was. The gig was up, it was time to change. Only this time around, I lost patience for the bullshit. It was during this time I rediscovered my love for the outdoors. Getting back to nature taught me how to let go and love myself.

Stop Wearing Clothes that Are Uncomfortable

Most women feel this huge pressure to look good at all times regardless of what’s going on. This usually means we sacrifice comfort in the name of fashion. Two words: Screw that. What’s the point of suffering in the name of “looking good.” You can look great wearing something that doesn’t require pain. Tell someone who’s spent 11 straight days hiking that their shoes don’t make their legs look sexy and they are likely to tell you to “piss off.” Hiking makes her legs look sexy and she certainly isn’t doing it in heels. The only uncomfortable pair of shoes worth owning are climbing shoes. And they aren’t meant to be walked in.

Love yourself

In the wilderness comfort is king. If you’re wearing uncomfortable footwear you’re going to have a bad time. A scratchy shirt can cause the worst rashes in less-than-ideal places when you’re wearing a heavy pack. Heck, even a poorly placed belt loop will cause you agony.

The outdoors made me realize that something doesn’t have to hurt to look good. You can be comfy and cute without wearing yoga pants and a ratty college t-shirt. Who cares if you wear the same thing day in and day out? Does it really matter? The mountains certainly don’t care. As long as you are comfortable with yourself who really gives a damn about what someone else thinks of your outfit?

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Stop Wearing Makeup

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn makeup in the past three years. Here’s the kicker: back in the day, I used to pile it on my face. I’m talking full-contouring, multi-colored eye shadow, false lashes, full-face cover ups that are YouTube tutorial worthy. Then, one hot summer day, I stopped.

So what happened? I had a lot more time and money. The condition of my skin improved dramatically. It felt strange at first, but now I feel like a clown when I put on the paint. You don’t need makeup, trust me. People really only notice when you wear too much, not when you’re wearing none.

love yourself

Learn to embrace your own skin. Lip balm, sunscreen, and a good moisturizer are the only things you need in your arsenal. Again, be comfortable. Comfortable with yourself and the fact that you are aging. Everybody ages. Embrace your fine lines and wrinkles. With age comes wisdom (hopefully) so why hide that? You’ll find you look at the mirror and don’t nit pick yourself anymore. It’s just you staring right back at yourself. Be proud to be you.

Go Ahead, Forget Your Hairbrush

Well, this one isn’t entirely intentional, but I have been known to go days on end with the same crappy braids. I’ll admit it: I’m notorious at forgetting my hairbrush. Heck, I left the thing at a tea house in rural Nepal and went six straight days without brushing my hair. Oops. The secret to not letting it dread is to braid it. I rocked these braids day in and day out for the majority of my time there.

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Take this headshot below for example. Wanna know a secret? That hair is two days unwashed and unbrushed. I’m sweaty because I took these photographs in between yanking trees out of the four wheeling road so we could tow my buddy’s broken-down Jeep back to camp. I’m sunburnt from spending the day outside in the mountains. But guess what? I’m happy.

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Who Is the Modern Tomboy?

Maybe today’s female hero will allow other people to find the confidence within themselves. Hopefully young girls today didn’t feel like they have to be born as boys in order to be strong. Perhaps this movement to embrace female strength will cause greater change in the minds of women everywhere. Be a source of change. Be strong. Be you. Look inward at your own strength. Stand tall and proud of your own accomplishments and capabilities. Love yourself. Who else would rather be dirty than done up?

How has a wild life changed you? Have you learned how to let go of the noise and be in the moment? Life in the wild reminds us that society shouldn't dictate who we are supposed to be. As women, we live in a world where we are told to look pretty and be vulnerable. Well guess what, it's ok to get out there, be strong, and kick ass.

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Showing 14 comments
  • Flo
    Reply

    I loved the 3 Ninjas Kick Back! I agree with a lot of points in this, but think it’s important to be mindful that just because someone washes their hair, wears makeup etc. doesn’t mean that they are insecure or comfortable, nor does it necessarily mean that they don’t love themselves to the max 🙂

    • foxintheforest
      Reply

      Hi Flo,
      I am not trying to say that if you do wear makeup and all that jazz that you are insecure. That certainly isn’t true. The point of the article is to encourage people to feel comfortable with themselves. I’ve got nothing against people who enjoy being done up. I’ve just found that I feel more myself when I’m not those things and I should embrace that. If you feel the opposite, then embrace it! The point is to love yourself and not try to be someone you aren’t. 🙂

  • Amber Pittman
    Reply

    I’ve definitely never identified as a Tom Boy – I don’t like the outdoors much, I stay away from dirt and mud as much as possible – but I definitely understand growing up wondering why girls/women never were allowed to save anyone. It just did not compute for me and the majority of everyone I knew (from family to school) just thought I was some weirdo with too much time on my hands with all that “strange thinking.” The American rural South… *eyeroll*

    I also want to say I totally agree with the body-positive idea you have going on. I love makeup because it gives me that extra boost of confidence when I need it but I only wear it about once a week these days. I have to agree, my skin is doing so much better with *less* on my face now. 🙂

    • foxintheforest
      Reply

      Hey Amber,
      I’m glad I’m not alone in wondering these things as a child! I often felt different because of it, and we all know that when you’re a child different is frowned upon. All I hope is that women everywhere will love themselves for who they are. If you do that, you’re a hero in my book! I’m glad you’ve noticed a positive with your skin! At first I was so grossed out with my bare face, but I found that the longer I went without makeup, the less my skin needed to be covered up. Stay amazing out there!

  • Jessica A
    Reply

    You go girl! Thanks so much for your authenticity and being true to yourself. So often bloggers try to be what they think society wants them to be and end up like everyone else. Keep it up! 🙂

  • Priyadarshini Rajendran
    Reply

    Inspirational post! Definitely agree with many of your views. Especially about not wearing uncomfortable clothes. Hi-fi to you and to Hermoine 😉

  • Erika @LatinAtlas
    Reply

    Me too, I’ve always wondered why women weren’t ruling the world! Fortunately the trajectory is forward. Tbh I identify as tomboy and girly girl. I’m as tough as any man, can do anything a man can do and love to get dirty but I’m also feminine. Let’s be whomever we want to be! That’s the point, right? 🙂 Great read!!

    • foxintheforest
      Reply

      Exactly! I’m feminine in my own way and that’s A-OK with me! You go girl!

  • Tina
    Reply

    11 straight days of hiking will make your legs look sexy! I threw away all my heels when I quit my job and became a ski bum. 🙂

  • John
    Reply

    Great stuff! I am glad to see more representation of women in our culture as more than just an object of affection or someone to be protected or rescued. I love seeing bad ass women claim their place in the world and inspire young girls to do the same. I think the world will be a much better place in the very near future because of awesome ladies like yourself. Keep on doing what your doing.

  • Kate
    Reply

    I have always believed that I look the best after a week of wilderness camping 🙂 I think too many girls are told how to feel beautiful but, never find their own way to feel beautiful and empowered.

  • Rhiannon
    Reply

    I grew up super close to my older brother, so was always a bit of a tomboy wearing his too-big hand-me-downs and climbing trees with him and his friends, trying to fit in.
    I’m with you on the no make-up!! I’ve never been one to wear much – just a bit of foundation and lick of mascara really – but after my 9 month jaunt around the world last year, enduring some of the HOTTEST and most uncomfortable temperatures I’ve ever experienced (oh hey India, how you doing!), I stopped altogether and haven’t looked back since!
    As for lack of female heroes growing up, my absolute idol was Chyna from WWF. She was a badass and everything I aspired to be! I’m so glad there are more role models these days, so my 3-year old niece’s generation will grow up knowing that yeah, girls can kick ass and definitely can rule the world.

  • Reply

    I sort of was a tomboy growing up though I never called myself that. When I turned 15 I kind of became a girly girl. I think there need to be more girl super heroes ou9t there to show girls they can be themselves, e strong and grow confidence and self-esteem.

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