Quotes From "Girl In The Woods: A Memoir" By Aspen Matis

The trees were friendly, they gave me rest and shadowed refuge. Slipping through them, I felt safe and competent. My whole body was occupied. I had little energy to think or worry. Aspen Matis
Beneath hot sun, desert roses bloomed. Under cold moon, I still refused to. Aspen Matis
And so, despite the complex web of paths, waterfalls, cliffs, as a hiker wanders downhill, drainages merge, faint, abstract paths coalesce, thicken, until there is one path — the one, natural, trodden way. Aspen Matis
Water was liquid silver, water was gold. It was clarity–a sacred thing. Drinking was no longer something to take for granted. I’d never needed to consider water before. Aspen Matis
I was passive by nature. I had always been. Arguing felt unnatural and uncomfortable. I was always agreeing even when I didn’t really, instinctively looking for ways to forfeit power, to become more dependent, to be taken care of. I realized how intensely Icecap reminded me of Jacob. They were similar, both diligent and harsh in their judgments–and my big brother’s sureness had always comforted me. But as I ran on sore legs to keep up with Icecap, my tendency toward silence stressed me. . Aspen Matis
This was trail magic. Sea Breeze’s fire, his light, his heat, his life, remained, their salvation. It is a fact that all drainages, if followed downhill, lead to the same lowland water body. Lost and fallen hikers follow drainages down because walking ridges is harder. And so, despite the complex web of paths, waterfalls, cliffs, as a hiker wanders downhill, drainages merge, faint, abstract paths coalesce, thicken, until there is one path — the one, natural, trodden way. It isn’t a coincidence that Sea Breeze, Brandon Day and Gina Allen, and countless other hikers all wandered, lost, down the same steep slope to nowhere. Aspen Matis
I saw now that bad men existed who would take advantage of any weakness and insecurity they found when violating a victim. I saw it was not my fault; I did not choose to be raped or kidnapped. But now I was learning how to protect myself from the predators, to trust my No and my instinct and my strength. I was learning I was not to blame, I couldn't prevent men from trying to hurt me, but I could definitely fight back. And sometimes fighting back worked. Aspen Matis
There was so little I wanted to carry. Packing my backpack took me all of four minutes Aspen Matis
The bravest thing I ever did was leave there. The next bravest thing I did was come back, to make myself heard. Aspen Matis
I’d believed I needed to be steady in myself before I could function with others–but surviving alone no longer felt like a good way either. Aspen Matis
On this walk I'd had so much time and space to actually figure out who I was without my mother's influence. I understood now: the things that my mother had found made her happy were not the same as the things that made me happy. And I understood: that was okay. Aspen Matis
Still I walked into the snow, moving to keep warm, burning precious energy searching for an answer I couldn’t think of. I didn’t turn back, compelled to continue without the trail. I didn’t want to risk futilely backtracking. If I couldn’t find the trail before dark, I could wake tomorrow disoriented and desperate, without having even made any new miles; my loss of the PCT should have distressed me, but a new instinct led me forward. In this moment of despair I was refusing to stop fighting. I asked the mountains for some guidance, the strength to get myself out of here, and pulled wild power from within myself I’d never known I’d had. I was no longer following a trail. I was learning to follow myself. Aspen Matis
And if I'd be left alone in the woods again, I smiled to think how I'd find new gifts and thrive. At the end of a long trail and the beginning of the rest of my life, I was committed to always loving myself. I would put myself in that win-win situation. Aspen Matis
I realized that the most empowering important thing was actually simply taking care of myself. Aspen Matis
I was promising myself strength. I had to write it, say it, make the effort and fake it before I actually believed I could do it. Aspen Matis
I was the director of my life, it was already true, and I would soon lead myself to my dreamed-of destinations. It was the task of my one thousand miles of solitude. Aspen Matis
I no longer needed to peel myself of my skin, or to hide. To Dash the colorless ephemeral things that existed just beneath my surface were as vivid as the beauty marks he traced on my cheek. Aspen Matis
The way to self-love and admiration is to behave like someone whom you love and admire. Aspen Matis
I'd crossed a border– Speaking openly, exposing the weak girl I'd been, I was no longer her. Aspen Matis
I didn’t know if I was brave or reckless. Aspen Matis