Not long ago I asked for writing suggestions and received this, “from the outside, you’re so fearless…what makes a person like you vulnerable?” This is a heavy question, but it’s a topic I’ve been wanting to address. My entire life I’ve been afraid. In every notebook I’ve ever owned I ask myself “what are you so afraid of?” I’ve always feared that I’ll never hold the same worth as a white person, that I somehow will always be less than. This I know is completely false and It’s been a struggle to detach myself from this very irrational fear. My internalized oppression has led me into dark rabbit holes of self destruction, has had me silence myself, shut myself off and regard my self as unimportant. I’m tired of it, and honestly hearing from someone that I appear fearless is actually a lovely compliment because that's the ultimate goal, to live without fear or a healthy dose of it at least.
In my late teens in order to distract myself from my fears I began traveling extensively; road trips, planes, ferries, solo hitchhiking, caravans, buses, trains...moving, moving, moving. I despised going to school, mostly because I always felt different, the white kids in my class always appeared smarter, I was too shy to speak up. There were definitely brown and black kids around me that were absolutely brilliant and I’m positive they are out there doing amazing things and changing the world for the better, but I was also not one of those kids, Im not academically gifted or fantastically articulate. I’m in love with travel, dusty roads, and other people’s stories. After eight years of continuous magic-filled travel I’ve finally begun to slow down, like a coin that's been spun making its final revolutions before being picked up and spun again.
In 2017 I was diagnosed with PTSD and severe depression. The reasons behind these labels are not important, what's important is that these past two years I’ve been facing it all, attempting to heal, and cocooning in order to molt into my next self. Before going on the Baja Divide trip I left three wonderful jobs, sold my camper and left behind a secure and comfortable future and it was all 100% worth it. I could write a post about the amazing people, places, and food of Baja California because there was all of that, but I also want to be real and acknowledge the romance in the melancholy.
The mix of my poor mental health with long stints of reflection time on the bike led to continuously questioning my self worth, my path, and my romantic relationship, which made an already physically challenging thing all the more stifling. This is not a complaint but a reflection because riding my bike through Baja California was not just the emotional and physical struggle, it was one of the most romantic experiences of my life.Riding through the desert with my lil bitty family was indeed euphoric. Together we slept under the stars, felt thirst and hunger, admired wildlife and landscapes, and read to one another every night we weren't too exhausted to speak. The dust, our crooked pack of cigarettes, laughter, arguments, and the moments we found the humor in our anger and frustration, all gifts. Two dirty brown kids taking care of one another as best we could. Kevin bravely popped my butt sores and held me up every time I crumbled from the inside out.
As we pedaled through small towns and ranches, I witnessed and spoke to brown women and girls that are powerful beyond words. Women and girls holding up their families, women and girls with hands calloused by hard labor and smiles on their beautiful brown faces, magic glowing out of every pore of their strong brown bodies, when they speak wisdom flows out their mouths like that first heavy rain after a drought, bringing life where soil was barren. Women breast feeding babes one minute and heavy lifting water barrels, cooking eggs and beans for strangers, and heating up the bath water the next. This is when I slap myself for ever thinking for one second that I am any less, these women look just like me, they are my family, my ancestors; me. Why am I so afraid of my greatness? The journey to answer this question, that's what makes me vulnerable, and I’m afraid but that's ok.