Life Changed

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“In those few seconds when I was in the presence of the lion, I did not say to myself, “You must change your life.” I knew, right then and there, that my life had been changed. A piece of something necessary had clicked into place inside me. I had become more aware, more intimate with my own fear and my own possibilities. I remembered what it was like to be humbled by awe. I became more compassionate. I became a better person.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Importance of Place

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“The pretense that place does not matter turns us all into straw dogs subjected to the whims of marketing. If we are unattached, we need. We need so many things to ground us.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Caught

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“For weeks afterward, I felt caught. Not caught doing something wrong, but caught doing something I had not chosen to do.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Misogynistic Expectations

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I have included several quotes from this essay because the subject and the story felt very real to me. I can’t help but wonder how many women of my era physically injured themselves trying to hide the blessing of physical strength (or height) in an effort to fit in, become invisible or simple live through a difficult period while hoping things would improve on the other side.

I found myself both impressed by the author’s ability to flaunt her physical strength and skill, regardless public opinion, and envious of the opportunities and community structure available to her, thereby making this flaunting possible (not easy, just possible).

I truly hope the trend toward strong female characters (both physically and intellectually) in movies and literature (of all kinds and for all ages) not only continues but helps provide the widespread cultural change that will allow more young women to be both strong and unafraid of being seen as strong.

QUOTES:

“The power of mass media pales in comparison to the power of high school gossip.”

As the story went, I fought him off, not because he was weak, but because I was a freak. I was stronger than I was supposed to be…I was not really a girl—but could never be elevated to the power of a guy—so I was somewhere in between: a genderless monster….It was that I sometimes walked down streets, or went to a movie alone. Occasionally, I stopped and helped someone who was stuck by the side of the road. I acted as if nothing had changed since we were all boys and girls playing four-square on the playground, all equal in power. I had not grown up. I had not learned how to be constantly, subconsciously, submissive and afraid. I was not a woman.”

I was downright, happily, self-confidently crazy. I was a girl in high school, and although I did not assume I would always win, I knew I always had a fighting chance.

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Parts of the Whole

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“Like the relationship between the human body and the environment, the products of a culture are intrinsically part of that unique world. Remove them, and you dissect them into unhealthy parts.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Natural Modification of Memory

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“I strive for complete honesty on the page; however, I have no faith that recollection ever produces an absolute truth. Memory is never perfect, never static, and as far as I can tell, it evolves constantly with age. I’m grateful for that.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Culture and Choice

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“In my mother’s day, choice meant three makes of automobiles (if you had the money), one brand of tennis shoe, two brands of coffee, and marriage at eighteen. Today, the definition of choice would not fit on this page, nor in this volume…But this is one of the accomplishments my generation has made: the overwhelming ability to choose. Because I live it, I have never truly recognized it, and recognizing it now, I want only to be able to deny that it was ever otherwise, because we all want to believe, in America, that our fates are cut by chisels we hold in our own hands, that circumstances do not limit, that time and culture do not dictate. But they do.”

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren