Yosemite Valley Floor - Part 5


He doesn't want me to be bear food. That's a good start. I look ahead at the washed out trail and pick a new route.

"That's the Sydney Williams I know and love, the one who takes charge!" Barry shouts from behind me as I charge my own path.

I stop.

Wait a second, he loves the Sydney that takes charge?

The Sydney who takes charge has historically been scolded, shamed, talked down to, patted on the head like the silly little girl we all know is hiding behind the woman who takes charge. The Sydney who takes charge gets called bossy, a bitch, too much, and was asked to bring her first date personality to client meetings.

How did I miss this? I mean, I wouldn't say I've changed myself to fit into this relationship, but there are times, like when we are hiking, that I default to Barry because he's older than me and has more life experience. In the case of hiking he's a wilderness EMT and has had hundreds if not thousands of miles of trail time, and our relationship started as student/teacher.

I've always chalked this up as a respect thing. And a safety thing. And frankly, it's easier to let him lead so I can just let my mind wander. As long as I follow his footsteps, literally, I won't get lost. I'll be safe.

Sweet baby unicorns, this is huge. Can I trust this? Can I trust that he can handle Sydney Who Shows Up? Because she's intense. She gets shit done. She's unstoppable. She asks for what she needs. Unapologetically.

I realize I am out of practice being Sydney Who Shows Up. As I keep hiking, still ahead of Barry, ice broken but still hiking my own hike, I think of all the ways I toned it down. I've already done this work, at least, I thought I did. But this work is cyclical. I used to get annoyed when I find myself running up against the work I've already done, shaming myself for not seeing it clearly. For not seeing the lesson presented in a different experience.

"Did I grow up back there?" I shout back.

No response.

"I grew up back there! This hike is a metaphor for life and Hiking My Feelings and I didn't quit. I kept going. Especially when it got hard!" I continue.

A man of few words, he replies: "Yup!"

And we keep hiking.