Muthoni Mwaniki - Class of August 2021
Being kind to myself. | This statement got a new and real meaning over three months as I prepared for the Mt Kenya climb!
Being the extrovert I am, the limited movement and contact with people since the pandemic was hard for me. The adjustment was crazy but staying safe was the number one goal. All this time indoors gave me time to reflect and the weight of all the things I was dealing with came crashing to the forefront.
Over the last few years, I had become an expert in not dealing with my feelings and shoving things deep into the back of my heart and mind. This was not working well for me and the stress began to manifest in physical illness. I realized I must do something to have an outlet and get back the vibrancy and joy in my life.
When I came across a hiking poster in one of the many Whatsapp groups I am in. It was the beginning of a new hobby that would change my life. I know it sounds dramatic, but I am sure other hikers will attest to this.
I went on my very first hike in November 2020 and it was hard; my body complained all the way to the top and I made a mental note that I would never do this again. Then I got to the top and found myself in a space I still can’t describe. The beauty of the scenery and openness of the outdoors released something in my heart. I was able to connect with my feels and talk to God in a new way. It was what I was looking for!
Life does have a way of creeping up on someone. I got busy and didn’t get out to the trails until April—I had gone back to not dealing with my issues and hiding behind my smile. In April, the trail was hard physically but again, hiking was emotionally healing, so the journey restarted.
I believe in divine connections and how I came across Outdoorer is one of those. I began to go out every Saturday with them and despite the physical challenge, my heart was opening up and healing. My children are my life and I started to bring them on the trails with me—just my boys for now as my little princess gets her hiking legs.
I learned about the #beginnertomtkenya program when I was halfway through the prep hikes and will forever be grateful to Adam for admitting me into the program. It was never my intention to climb Mt Kenya in August 2021. Weirdly, though, I had always admired people that do, and low-key somewhere on my endless bucket list, it would have featured—but not in 90 days!
Put kindly, I was very skeptical that one can be Mt. Kenya-ready in 90 days! Oh, do I eat my words now; humbly, with a big spoon!
The last two years have been hard for the world, and insane for me. This pandemic has brought to the surface things that were buried deep inside. I was slowly losing myself under the weight of life and constantly being too hard on myself, kicking myself when I don’t do things perfectly. I was especially hard on myself I failed at something and believed I didn’t deserve a pat on the back.
I have been too self-critical in the last couple of years to the point I didn’t recognize myself. These past three months have taught me to be kind to myself. It was not automatic; it has been a journey to loving myself; to kindness, reminding myself what an awesome person I am, and celebrating myself and any wins I get!
My little humans have been my greatest cheerleaders on this journey and as the pictures show, they totally knew I would get to the top and nothing less. I am better for hiking and my kindness is permeating my entire being and flowing outwards.
Thank you, Adam and Robert, for the encouragement when I lost belief in myself and for helping me conquer myself on every prep hike and getting to unlock Mt Kenya in 90 days. You were right; it can be done. I did it.
I can do hard things. See you on the trails!