Daughter of Mud

I walked down the sun heated pavement, shoes in one hand and the other pushing my dripping hair out of my face. Right and left people gawked in my direction, not bothering to avert their eyes even in the dreaded occasion of direct eye contact. My dress, one of those pretty white lacey things, stuck to the back of my legs and dripped a trail behind me like a solitary parade. I was covered from head to toe in mud so dark you’d think it was tar, and even in the setting June sun, I felt warm and happy and alive. I was seventeen and a wreck, but if there’s anything I believe in its mud.

I can’t say that was the first time that my disheveled appearance had gotten me attention. My best friend and I were notorious for showing up anywhere and everywhere covered in one thing or another. I had sand falling from my shirt during finals, twigs in my hair during graduation, and once or twice arrived at church in salt water dampened surf gear. I guess it’s safe to say that despite my background in ballet and ice cream socials, I was far from what anyone would see as a proper daughter. It never bothered me much, not when my seventh grade friends said I wasn’t girly enough to sit with them during lunch, and not when my father droned on and on about how I needed to grow up. I saw a serene and perfect beauty in being a mess: the confidence that comes with knowing that everyone’s judging you and you don’t care.

Apart from the attention, mud has made me some really great friends. My best friend and I met at eight years old, being the only two girls in all of Summer Camp not afraid to take on the boys in basketball. We settled on an easy friendship of tree climbing, pirating, and werewolf hunting. By high school most of the imagination had gone away, but none of the love for adventure. We joined a co-ed branch of boy scouts and were surrounded by kids that were just like us, if not more extreme. There was the boy who loved to dig (current archeology major), the girl who loved to scheme (engineering major), the boy with the axe (didn’t go to college) and me and my best friend, the clueless freshman trying to find a place. I learned to start a fire, climb a mountain, shoot a gun, ride a horse, but most importantly I learned to stop caring about what other people think. Names like “the boy scout s***” eventually just rolled off the shoulders, because no other girl in my lame high school could say that they spent the weekend laughing around a campfire and learning to throw hatchets. I had a solid group of people who liked me whether I was covered in dirt or wearing a prom dress, and if they didn’t care about my appearance, why should I care? We were a team when we accepted awards at fancy banquets, and when we showed up 20 minutes late for archery practice covered in soot from an abandoned mineshaft.

I believe in mud because of these things. Real friends don’t care what a mess you are. Family Pain, heartbreak, denial, fear, all just things that we tend to get covered in. But that’s the beauty of being a daughter of mud. I know how to accept my messes, how to be covered in trouble but keep walking.





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