Perhaps this is an admittance of weakness or witnessing an actual breaking point. Either way, a fabulous introduction to me.
I am incredibly fortunate to not only have one job, but to have three. I own two successful businesses and have the pleasure of playing outside all day for my third. Yet, I go back and forth between guilt and elation.
I am the Founder and Executive Director of No Man’s Land Film Festival. No Man’s Land Film Festival is an all-women adventure film festival based out of Carbondale, CO and on tour internationally. I love that empowering woman-identified humans can be my mission. I love that I get to spend my time collaborating with and supporting historically marginalized communities and finding solutions to get people outside who want to be there. But I can tell you, I only enjoy my job 60% of the time. I spend hours talking to companies, donors, foundations, potential hosts, venues, etc explaining to them why it is important to have equal representation for men and women in outdoor media. This conversation usually boils down to the basics of why women are important and why we need a voice and to see ourselves in roles of success rather than ignorance. Walking out of a meeting after being denied based on the virtue of your product - yes, that is discouraging, but not world-ending. But when that product is your humanity, it is so easy to let any hope for the future be shattered.
I am not weak and I am stubborn as fuck. So for me to be beat down 40% of my work day by blind and ignorant organizations, I feel like that is fairly indicative of the culture at large. There have been significant moments in my life when I have been guilty of being a white moderate. This was not for fear or lack of confidence in my stance, rather, I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say. I didn’t know who to say what to. But, I digress.
I am a part owner of Ragged Mountain Sports, a consignment gear store in Carbondale, CO that my husband and I bought together nearly three years ago. Our mission is to fight fast fashion and make getting into the outdoors more affordable. Our business is one of the only locations of interface between the Latinx and Caucasian community in the Roaring Fork Valley. When we bought the business I was over the moon to be working with my husband and I wanted to show everyone that, as a woman, I could be the one to give beta and gear recommendations. I spent my first year being talked over, ignored, put-down, condescended and flat out disrespected. Do I have brains and do I know what I am talking about? Yes. Do I have boobs, a higher voice and a terrible habit of smiling and nodding through ridicule to hold back tears? Why, yes. I do. After that first month, my time at the shop dwindled and now I sit behind a screen and hide from the misogynistic hell-hole that is the outdoor industry. But again, I digress.
I am a ski instructor at Aspen Skiing Company in Aspen, CO. I love skiing. It has been a huge part of my life since I was a child - an immense privilege which I realize has made me the person that I am today. Is it possible to get any whiter, richer, or more entitled than Aspen? Probably not. But the immense beauty of the area paired with effortless backcountry access makes me never want to leave. I have experienced no greater joy than when my students link their first turns on a blue. Or when they can show Mom and Dad their hockey stop. These moments make my heart sing and remind me that while I am structuring my life around the vacationing elite, I have the power to instill a sense of resilience, risk-taking and appreciation for our natural surroundings with the future generation. In addition, the individuals that I have met through skiing have exposed me to a world that I never could have accessed otherwise and I will forever be grateful for their wild generosity.
Am I overworked? Or am I just overthinking it?! I have taken the privilege that I was born with and run with it. I am white-passing Latina, I have sat back as my Spanish deteriorates, I watched my great grandmother battle with her Mexican roots when all she wanted was to be a Californian, I saw my mother receive death threats because of the color of her skin, but my blonde-haired, blue-eyed brother and I were always safe. We can lean into our culture when the opportunity arises. I am a cis white straight woman raised and living a middle to upper class existence and I intend to use this privilege that I was given to amplify and support those who were born with less.
Through my bitching about feeling overworked, I am reminded that this is the price that I must pay for my immense privilege. And that bitching is a privilege within itself. Plus, my work could be way harder.