Growing up, I cannot even begin to count how many movies I watched where girl-meets-boy, girl changes something about herself, boy “sees” her for the first time, then boy and girl live happily ever after. These seemed to be a staple of the 90s. These types of movies have been around forever, of course. Grease, for example, was one of my favorites. I didn’t realize until later it was pretty problematic that Sandy had to change everything about herself to be accepted by Danny/the T-birds. Sure, he was willing to join track and wear a letterman sweater, but he tossed that to the ground the second she emerged in that black, skin-tight suit.
Fortunately, I learned that is not what we should have to do to be with the person we love. In my opinion, our person should be somebody who accepts us 100%, encourages us, calls us out on our b.s., and is there for us when we need a shoulder to lean on or ice cream at 2 am.
Even though I was aware of the fact that I did not need to change the fabric of who I am to be with the woman I love, did that stop me from forgetting logic when I did meet that woman? Let’s consider a story.
I met my girlfriend in Peru. We were both Peace Corps volunteers. I quickly realized she was somebody I wanted to know and on some bizarre level was certain I would get to know. We started talking (via t9 text because that was our technology level while abroad) and she invited me to go on a hiking trip. Me, thrilled she wanted to spend time together, eagerly agreed.
Quick background: I’m from Texas. Texas is flat. We have a hill country, but when my girlfriend visited my family and we drove through said “hill country” she giggled and said, “It’s so cute.” There are not many, what some may call, challenging hiking trails throughout the state. Thus, I had never hiked. Didn’t even own a pair of hiking boots. Didn’t think to buy a pair when I moved to a country that played host to the Andes. And I didn’t need them, really, because I ended up living on the coast, in the desert.
Until I met her.
So, after being invited on this hiking trip, I considered my options. I could pack my best pair of sneakers, figuring, “Hey, I’m an athlete. Or, I was a college athlete. I’m in good shape. I can handle a hike.” Even if I learn this hike would be a three-day excursion, with overnight camping, I wasn’t fazed. I could do this!
I could jump on a night bus, ride down the Peruvian coast, and arrive in Arequipa. She would be there with her friends, and it would be a grand time as we take a combi (like a taxi van) to the starting point of our hike, which would be at the top of one side of a canyon rim. Colca Canyon.
Maybe you just did a quick search. Maybe you discovered Colca Canyon is stunning, full of breathtaking wildlife like the famous condor; rich in cultural attractions; and nestled in the southern Andes. Maybe you also saw it’s one of the deepest canyons in the world.
A person like me, then, who was not a hiker, who had not truly hiked in her life, who did not even own a pair of hiking boots, would learn all of this and think, “Huh, maybe this was a bit of a leap. Maybe I should have asked this woman to go for pizza in Lima, before we did this. Because she is about to see right through me as I tumble face-first into this canyon.”
I mean, anybody in their right mind wouldn’t do such a crazy thing for love, right?
Yeah. Neither would I 😊