She’d long dreamed of buzzing all her hair off and hiking the Appalachian Trail. To be lost in the woods and reliant on one’s self for survival was paradise. Her highs came from that thin mountain air and icy creek water coursing through her bones. Life was meant to be lived close to Mother Nature’s bounty.
But while still dreaming of those thin trails and long days, she got married, moved to the city, and became pregnant with her first child. The order of things may have been misplaced, but she was still right where she wanted to be. She’d always dreamed of having a big family like the one she’d grown up with. She couldn’t wait to hike with a baby on her back or watch a mini snowboarder float down a white mountain for the first time.
So it was with a bit of anxiety, but mostly exhilaration, that she held her baby girl in her arms for the first time. She could already imagine those little chubby arms growing to climb trees, or those dimpled legs running and skinning their knees in the dirt.
As time passed, that baby girl grew and decided she didn’t like peas but DID like carrots. Blue clothes were blah, but pink and sparkly were the best. Shoes were her thing and she loved to try on pointy ones or high heeled ones or soft and poufy ones. Outside was cold or wet or sticky or bright. When she became old enough, she begged her mom to take her shopping and to get her ears pierced. Camping trips were things she’d endured with her family to earn time out with friends or a fun shopping trip to the outlets. She only skinned her knee when one of her four brothers pushed her from behind. When her favorite stuffy got caught in some branches after her brother threw it as hard as he could, she climbed that tree and retrieved it, vowing to never do THAT again.
She wasn’t exactly the girl her mom expected that day in the hospital room. But she was strong willed and confident, talented and fierce, thoughtful and brave. She didn’t need a 1000-mile trek in the woods to prove her tenacity to the world. Hers took the form of a young girl playing the violin in front of a crowd, finding a new friend in a new school when she didn’t always feel like she fit in, or watching over her four brothers at the park to make sure they weren’t being bullied. She was exactly who she ought to be, and her mother was proud.
Two strong women, two very different faces of feminine strength, one new definition of girly.
And that’s what Gurley is all about.