Back in February, I headed down to SoCal to hang out with some very, very rad ladies: Kam Altar, Oshie Magturo and Shawnté Salabert. I think it was my first real ladies’ trip. No dude friends, no boyfriends, no men. I’ll come out and say it: female friendship is something that’s very new and different for me. When I talk about “ladies’ weekends,” my long time (male) friends mock me and ask “What girlfriends?”
As a wee lass, I was always kind of a tomboy, complete with boys’ clothes and all. I didn’t do the makeup thing, but I wasn’t allowed to anyway. My friends were always a bunch of dudes because, for some reason, it was just easier that way. I outgrew the boy clothes, but the awkwardness still remained. I played competitive volleyball for many years, and while I had friends, I never quite belonged.
I’ve never really feel like I fit in with my own brand of strange. You could say I’m a bit of an odd duck, a kind of misfit. Too loud, too quiet. Too shy, too outgoing. Too weird, too obnoxious, too forthright. Stumbling over my words, unsure of the right thing to say. Always too something, and not enough anything.
Outside sparked a deeper longing for connection. (Hello OWA.) Boys are great and all, but they’re, you know, boys. Through the outdoors, I found a lady squad—multiple lady squads, even!—where I’m just a little less awkward. We’d known each other online for months, maybe even years. We picked a date to get together, and it became our first Feral Female Weekend.
We base camped at Mission Creek Preserve, a gem courtesy of Shawnté, SoCal hiker and guidebook author extraordinaire. We hiked on the PCT and then the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. We slept until the sun was high in the sky. We talked Diva Cups and menstrual cycles and running naked beneath the moon—which was in Leo. We scared ourselves silly with made up stories about our other camping friends.
We befriended an elderly gentleman, and played a bunch of Bananagrams. We lamented over the fact that we’ll never look that perfect in felt hats and Pendleton blankets and swirly fog. We demolished all our snacks and brainstormed innovative ways to eat snacks while driving. We chased a cat around a cacti nursery and devoured Indian tacos. We just were, and it was the most magical feeling.
To this day, I can barely put on eyeliner. I still hate showering. Brushing my hair more than once a week is novel. I’m still my own special kind of awkward, but I’m so glad I’ve found a quirky little group where I belong.
Kam also shares her thoughts on Feral Female Weekend.