As a woman, I am hugely passionate about surrounding myself with other strong, opinionated, and compassionate women. I feel whole when I find community with people that build me up, tell me when I’m wrong, and love me unconditionally all at once. There are twists and turns and mysteries around every corner while navigating womanhood, but that journey can be extremely rewarding when you have other women to walk the path alongside you.
Ever since I met the nine other women on my team at Retreat in January, I knew this group was something special. Now, we are three weeks into our ride, and what a treat it has been to navigate the last 21 days alongside them.
None of us have ever done an adventure quite like this. For each of us, this is the single hardest thing physically that we have ever done. But how beautiful is that! We each get a front row seat to the courage, the drive, and the perseverance that each of us possess. I have found so much joy in watching my teammates and myself overcome hardships every single day. At the start of the ride there were some hills that rose to 500 feet in elevation in a mile or two. Early in the ride that was our hardest hill, a major battle that we had to face for the day. But two days ago, all of us conquered a 1,200 foot hill; those 500 foot hills are now an everyday occurrence that we don’t think twice about. Also, just a few months ago, our 40 mile training rides were daunting, taking us out for the remainder of the day. Now we are riding 40 miles (or more) daily and still able to fit in multiple mid-ride dance parties to our favorite songs. It is truly magical to watch how many fears and hesitancies are overcome in such a short time. And with each win, we celebrate.
Women have a special talent of celebrating the wins, comforting the losses, and sitting with you through each tribulation. My team is no different. I have felt so celebrated, so comforted, and so valued every day of this ride and I know that is because of the women that I am surrounded by. My team is accommodating and affirming, silly and loud, beautiful and soft, tough and brave, giving and kind. There is so much magic in embracing womanhood on the ride.
On the ride, we are isolated from society’s standards of womanhood. We have found ourselves exploring a new kind of femininity within ourselves individually and as a team of women. In this isolation we are discovering unique expressions of our femininity. One of my teammates articulated what it feels like to be taken out of her daily routine: she shared that most days in her normal life she spends the morning putting on makeup and doing her hair, spending time and energy on her appearance because that is how she feels most comfortable and feminine through society’s gaze. But here, on the ride, she doesn’t do that, and still, each one of us loves her and thinks she’s beautiful. We are all finding novel ways to express our femininity and identify with our own womanhood.
On the ride our womanhood is raw, unbridled, and empowered more than it ever has been and I hope we carry that strength with us forever.