There are about a million different ways I thought of to intro a recap of this past summer. It turns out, though, something I wrote in my journal the day after returning home sort of says it best:
“Upon returning home, I realize how challenging it is to neatly summarize three months at Beyond Malibu. It’s not something that packs nicely into an elevator pitch or spark notes edition. Rather, it’s big and uncontained and messy and beautiful trying to explain an entire summer. You have to mention the joy of a bug free sunset after a 10 hour day of hiking, and also the weariness of being on trip for 14 days straight. You can’t talk about the strong, incredible people without thinking of the tears and messiness that is life. It’s easy to want to come home and do a highlight reel – mountain sunsets, sweet views, well deserved summits.
The reality, though, is far less glamorous. It’s sinus infections on 10 day training and digging BIFFS (bathroom in forest floor 😉 ) and eating so much Cream of Wheat you feel sick. It’s piling 7 people into a tent on a glacier in the middle of a blizzard and going multiple days with wet socks and numb toes. Not glamorous, not by a long shot. But then…then you get moments when the clouds clear. Moments when the granite is temporarily hot and you’re doing mountain yoga with the weirdest, best people you know (picture below), and you remember that this isn’t glamorous but it sure is worth it. To say this season has been a gift would be such an understatement.”
Lessons In Being Wrecked
I say this in both positive and negative ways – the summer wrecked me. You know those times that are simultaneously both insanely beautiful, life giving, and sweet beyond words? Those happened. Those times that are chaotic and stressful and feature you at what might be your absolute worst? Yep. I had that covered.
As I Am
Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways, and continued lesson I’m learning here, is that I am enough. Ugh, how overdone is that, right? And yet… it keeps wrecking us! Not believing we’re enough can destroy us. I don’t have to be the most badass mountain guide or the best blogger or the most interesting writer. I am enough, as I am, with what I bring to the table. This summer was also a crash course in what it means to be physically and emotionally spent, arriving home in September weary and ready to rest, but knowing that I had poured myself out completely in the best way.
Each Saturday morning, all of the ladies at Beyond Malibu gather together. It’s a time of sharing, encouraging, updating. This summer, we chose to focus on this idea from Brené Brown: Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart. She has this quote from her book that says it better than I ever could: “The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid – all in the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind.” Boom. Brené, you’ve done it again.
And so in that sense, this summer also wrecked me in those incredible ways – in realizing I was gifted with friends who embody that quote best. In the realization that life is not an “either/or” situation, but an “and”. A “both”. The summer wrecked me with the physical beauty of this place and the mountains I got to climb, along with the stories that I was allowed into and the people who shared them. All heartbreakingly beautiful.
On The End of Seasons and Stepping Into Change
One of the bittwersweet aspects of this summer was knowing that it would bring about the end of two things: First: my time as a mountain guide at Beyond Malibu, and secondly, the season of living in my hometown, working as a graphic designer (the job I quit before the summer). In this, I found myself equal parts excited at the prospect of entering into something less defined and terrified for the same reason. I like control and I like consistency. However, in the midst of the lessons I continue to learn, there is this: we were not made to live on mountaintops. The metaphorical kind, ya know. Comfort zones are awesome, I really truly love mine and believe it exists for a reason, but expanding outside of that has produced all the growth.
All of that to say, my desire is to step into change confidently and boldly. If you’re in a similar season of unknown, know this: you are not alone. And also, no one actually knows what they’re doing all of the time so we can stop pretending that that’s the case. Change is uncomfortable but again, it produces growth. So let it. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself and that’s what I’m working on as I continue through this season of change.
Wow, long post. I guess I am finding words a smidgen faster than I anticipated. I could have just said something like “I laughed, I cried, I had campers say things like “I hate literally every aspect of this” but I came out the other side worn down but (mostly) smiling.” After starting out with a journal entry, I figure it makes sense to begin to wrap this up with something else I wrote, from my last day at Beyond Malibu: “What a wild, beautiful summer.”
I’ve been back in the United States since the beginning of September, and even since then quite a lot has happened. It’ll take a little while to get all caught up to speed with these updates, but it’s been nice to do so. There’s something cathartic about writing about them, curating and collecting pictures, journal entries, and general feelings from the summer into one space.
If you’re curious about Beyond Malibu or these summer photos, let me know. I also have a post here recapping last summer, which talks a bit more about what Beyond Malibu is and what I was doing there, if you’re feeling a little lost. And with that, I’ll wrap things up. At this point I think I’ve blacked out and can’t remember what I wrote. Classic. Thanks for continuing on this journey with me, friends!
PS: Missing style posts? How about that gold and black blazer I’m rocking up there (I’m the one with the knee brace LOL, we always wear fun clothes at the summit). ~FASHUN~ am I right ladies?!