My last blog post was in February. It’s October. I was pretty bad at keeping up on all things blog last winter, but it was a busy one–and a professional one at that. Because skiing became my job last season, as it will be this season and hopefully many more to come, it became less glamorous. Instead of just skiing to ski and doing it because I love it, skiing is now something I clock in and out for. Granted patrol isn’t just skiing around, it’s a lot of medical response and snow safety too, but it became structured. And because it was structured for me I didn’t feel like sharing it all with the rest of the world and didn’t want to write down what a typical day looked like because it was my job. Patrol absolutely made skiing even more fun than it had been for me even though I’m making it seem mundane (it’s not). But that’s why I left blogging about it out.
This summer I headed back up to Glacier to guide on the Middlefork of the Flathead again with the addition of a 1993 Jayco Pop-Up trailer that soon was the coziest of homes. Jiggs had a long summer of playing hard with all the dogs that belonged to other guides that lived in Sunnyville, our little campground where about a quarter of the guides live for the summer if they have RV’s or trailers. She was literally outside all summer and got to live the best doggie life (she’s slowly readjusting to house and city life, just like the rest of us). As for blogging this summer, again, it was my job to be out on the river every day. Last summer it was this shiny new thing, a goal that I had been working so hard towards, so I wanted to tell everyone about it because I was excited. I was excited this summer too, but living on property meant less time for myself, less time to write, and more time enjoying the present moment, which was awesome.
Another reason why I haven’t been writing is because I get started on rants while I’m typing and they’re pretty negative. I’m not pumped to share my negativity with the world because so often on social media platforms these days there’s just no winning. Someone will have something to say about what you’re posting or what your words mean. They’re ready to tell you you’re wrong, that your political leanings suck, that you’re uneducated, ignorant, or naïve. With all that’s going on politically in this country it’s hard not to get worked up and yell at people over Facebook comments. Since being back in Bozeman and actually reading the news articles I get sent to my email everyday, it’s pretty safe to say the US is in a really sh*tty place. If we’re not focused on mass shootings, we’re balking at the immigrant crisis. If that loses the media’s interest we’re losing our minds over sexual assault, rape culture, and women’s rights. Then there’s the environment. Public lands being stripped away, mines threatening headwaters, forest fires crisping acre upon acre of land in the West. While it does seem like nothing is going right in this country, it does amaze me that we are using our voices. That there’s a huge push to be registered to vote and exercise that right, we’re being encouraged to call our senators and sign petitions or send emails. And regardless of your political beliefs, that’s pretty neat. It’s a bummer that things have to be going very poorly for us to finally speak up, but at least we’re doing it.
Circling back to women’s rights and noting last week’s events with Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, I want to share some thoughts. When the #metoo movement was making its way around social media platforms, I came up with a few instances in my life where I related to that movement. I don’t think of them as traumatizing moments, but they easily could have turned into that and I’m thankful they didn’t. I have come to a realization however, that all my life I have believed that I am a pretty lucky human being with a great life and big goals. And recent events have made it pretty obvious that when we talk about minorities in this country, we’re not just talking about Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, etc., we’re talking about women, LGBTQIAPK, individuals with mental or physical disabilities, individuals below the poverty line, literally anyone who isn’t a middle to upper class caucasian male.And the Kavanuagh case really started to make me feel this way because it goes to show where money can get you. Where being white can get you. Where being a male can get you. And it frustrates me. Shouldn’t we all care about every human life? Shouldn’t we all have the right to prosecute our wrong doers and have an actually fair trial, money and race and gender aside? It’s sickening. It’s broken.
This summer I finally had the a**hole on my boat ask, “Do you really know what you’re doing?” To which I snapped and shouted, “It’s 2018, did you really just ask me that?” as his family shifted with embarrassment and apologized for his actions. But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted him to apologize, him to realize how hurtful that is to hear. But he will never be asked that in his life because he is an affluent white man. The other demoralizing comment I heard this summer actually came from within our own company and it was not posed directly at me, but rather one of my fellow female raft guides. In a room full of guides, she was the only female. It was nearing the end of the season and other departments were short-handed. A higher up in the company came into the room and mentioned housekeeping needed extra help that day. He then turned directly to her, used her name and asked, “can you go do housekeeping?” She didn’t confront him in the moment but instead said no, that she was there to do barn hours and that didn’t include housekeeping. It seems like a small and harmless question but it’s perpetuating the social normality that women should do the cleaning, that they aren’t useful in other fields that historically have been dominated by men. The reason I am upset is because I believe I work for an employer that empowers women, but every now and then, comments are made that are degrading and it is my belief that change comes from the ground up. If one of my bosses can’t set the example, then who will? We need to start being better to each other. We need to be better for each other. I will always cycle back to this statement, but just remember, no matter who you are, what you do, what you look like, where you’ve come from, we are all human. Treat each other as such.