Trail Town - Part 2
Dear Reader: This is a continuation of a longform piece in which part 1 published yesterday. If you haven’t read that yet, here it is. Thank you for giving this sort of backstory a try.
I practiced by walking on rocks whenever I could. I’d run across the top of the stone wall on my block. I’d jump from boulder to boulder in the park. My first trip to the ER was for stitches because I busted my lip open jumping across those rocks in that park. People take up falconry with less bloodshed.
As I grew into a teen I started to identify as the outdoorsy girl who felt comfortable with physical adversity far away from other people. I spent more and more time outdoors, in abandoned and overgrown neighborhood areas I could explore with my dog or bike to before I had a driver's license. When I got that license I was on trails all over Carbon County. This was the rebellion I allowed myself to have. I didn’t want to go to parties, smoke weed, or drink. I wanted to find secret places in the forest and read books about forgotten gods. Honestly, don’t know how I didn’t realize I was a lesbian sooner.
But I kept moving across those rocks.
After a while you get used to hardship. You grow an armor from disinterest in discomfort. You recover from twisted ankles, bandage the cuts, and gradually move faster.
Hoo! With my dense badger body I could dance across those rocks. My short, broad-shouldered frame offered a lot of muscle and an enviable center of gravity. I was like a stone covered in velcro on those ridges. The way that every single step had to be planned, had to be considered, I loved that.
I remember one day being with some friends outside and having to navigate boulders around the edge of the pond. I bopped around with ease, moving from rock to rock barefoot. One of my guy friends talked to me later that night, in confidence, asking how I was able to do that? Run across a line of boulders in the time it takes most people to get from the couch to the TV? I shrugged and told him I had practiced a lot, and then felt ashamed for doing something so well that wasn’t correctly feminine. He frowned and said I “acted weird out on the rocks, like an animal”. It clearly made him uncomfortable. That was when I noted that I should probably be alone in the woods or just around other girls. Whatever I learned on the rocks outside town wasn’t what boys wanted to see.
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