I was once an accolade chaser. I needed big awards to pack around with me and even tempted to exaggerate them (as if they were not enough) in ways that made them seem bigger than they were but not out and out lying. "I taught sea kayaking in Alaska,” I would say. Welp ~ I had a job to teach sea kayaking in tour trips up in Alaska and only made it two weeks. My boss turned out to be a creepy MF that made passes at the girls he hired … and we lived in little cottages with him so I decided to head home. My parents made me feel that I was such a failed-wild-adventurer. They made me tuck my tail between my legs instead of remembering the amazing parts.
Here is some TRUTH of the trip.
The Alaskan highway was unreal amazing. The locals call the road the Alaskan Roller Coaster, and for good reason! When the frozen waters under the roads begin to thaw giant chunks of road fall into the earth leaving gaping holes in the road upwards to 10’ across. Because of this you have to drive slow enough to have time to swerve. Pay phone booths are scattered every 30 miles or so, because there is ZERO cell service, there are hours and hours that go by before other humans can be seen and the amount of car crashes you pass where there in not a single person in site is chilling. I saw a jeep sticking out of a lake, a semi on its side with crime scene colors all around the edges of the cab, a lady standing alone in the middle of nowhere with a gash bleeding down her face, a truck on fire (seriously ~ flames twenty feet high and not a soul to be seen) and so many more. The lack of humans equated to lack of stop shops to by a drink and a snack and the boss man I drove up with was a deep hippie who only had rye bread and carrots and called it a sandwich. I lost 15 lb in two weeks of driving. When we hit Whitehorse in the Yukon I ate 1.5’sandwiches and two bags of chips as if I had just crossed a vast ocean with out sustenance. I saw a bear, porcupine, moose, elk and other amazing animals. The northern lights were the most spectacular quivering green and the days started fluctuated 40 degrees. The black pine trees was a bizarre introduction. I called them little pines or dwarf pines as they were a stumpy 5 feet tall branch and have barely any needles. Looking across a giant valley there would be a little pine every now and again making them appear anti-social.
I drove in the spring allowing me to see these glorious waterfalls that literally went on for a mile. The cliff we drove alongside had so much snow melt pouring from its edges it created mile long waterfalls that we kept company with for a day.
Near mid week my boss changed his clothes and sported a pair of jeans that had a hole so big on the tooshie that I could see that he was wearing a jockey strap. That’s it, a man thong and jeans. He promised me that he knew my type and that I would be a person that would grow up to cheat on their spouse…I hotly denied his belief in me although I did technically heat on my first husband meaning I kissed someone before divorce finalized. Boss, I am sure, would have said I told you so. The moment you cross from Canada into Alaska there is a bomb of enmity that hits. The humans have mowed down the thick trees to create an extremely wide section of land between the countries to help separate them. I hated the feeling I had staring at this baren line disappearing into the horizon. Even the trees seemed to be yelling at each other, “Mine!” “Stay out!” . It was peculiar to me even if logical.
I skated around anchorage to eat and play for a bit before we started heading north again to Seward. Denali park was like nothing I had seen. I hope to tour it someday.
Anyway. I could go on. I am curious why the truths of my life seemed to be far less rewarding to share than the piece of it construed as an accolade. Maybe “I” AM the accolade.
I am still alive. I am happy and learning to chase what I want instead of the rules and expectations of others now.
What experiences has your self image altered from reality into a form of manly approval intsead of beautiful truth?