Exploratory Essay

EmmaKarin Eriksson
The Power of the Mountains
                Have you ever felt free? Have you ever felt so free that you wondered if you would lift off the ground and float off into the sky? Have you ever felt so natural and close to the world that nothing else in a specific instance matters. Imagine this: You are walking through a forest, and you are naked, shivering, excited. You do not know what is going to be around the next tree. You slip over rocks. Slide down dirt hills. Then suddenly, there you are. The exact place you are supposed to be. You are at the base of a waterfall. You lie on the rock, soaking up the sunlight, inhaling the moisture of the trees. Suddenly, everything comes into focus. A hand is stretched out to you. The hand holds everything you have ever mentally, physically, sexually and personally desired. Do you take it? Do you dare throw yourself into decadence? Do you dare let go and finally enjoy yourself after taking care of everyone else for so long? The answer is, “yes.” You take that hand and make dreams into realities until the setting sun turns the sky into fire.                
 You awaken in the shade, naked, glowing and fulfilled. You are completely satisfied with everything that has ever happened, good or bad. Your skin is new and soft. You are luscious and radiating with energy. Your brain is wired into the stars. You feel electric. These moments that fully take away your senses, and place you into an alternate reality of being and consciousness, are rare; they should be treasured and kept for the rainy days when you cannot remember why you got out of bed. I have been lucky enough to have this exact moment. It changed my being forever.
One of those reoccurring rainy days for me is college. For most people College is when you are supposed to have fun, go out partying, drinking, boozing and loosing, hooking up and regretting it. The typical movie college experience that freshmen in High School long to be a part of. That idea of drunken debauchery was not the college experience I wanted. I did not want to hang out with the kids who could not live without beer and pot. I did not want to go to the frat party and do body shots. I wanted to listen to records and drink tea. I just wanted to enjoy the people I was with, not vomit on them. It was only the second week but I was positive I was going to end up cold and alone in my dorm, eating Ramen and reading textbooks, experiencing a year of no friends and no fun. I swallowed my tongue and took it with a grain of salt. Oh well, at least I would get good grades. I wrote my mother and email, telling her how miserable I was and how I hated everything, and if she could please send more pillows. After hitting send and putting on a sweater I went into town. I heard there was going to be an open mic; I can never pass up live free music. As I was walking down there I kept telling myself it was alright to be alone and to never have another personal relationship again. It was okay that I was ugly and unlovable, stupid and boring.  I would probably live longer alone anyway. 
I go up the steps of the muddy cup and sit down to light up a smoke. Out of the corner of my eye something glittering and beautiful steps into view. My cigarette almost drops out of my mouth as my jaw hits the floor. The most stunning creature has just sat down and started to play acoustic guitar right in front of me. I jumped up and ask to take some pictures of him. I could feel his intensity in my blood; I wanted nothing more than to know his name. Over the course of the night we were introduced and mingled with mutual friends. In the back of my head I kept telling myself he would never be with someone like me. I was too ugly; I was not interesting or intelligent, and I was too dorky and crazy. He was way out of my league; he deserved a goddess, not a toad. I put off the idea of sleeping with him and concentrated on being his friend. As the night drew to a close I began to say my goodbyes but was tricked into staying for three extra hours by this boy, Eli, my desire. We talked, and talked, and never stopped talking. We spoke all night about the wildest things, ideas and thoughts I had never dared to share with anyone. I felt so close to him. He was so interesting. He was so beautiful. Then it happened. He kissed me. He kissed me out of the blue, mid sentence. It was electric. I have never felt so many colors and shapes and emotions within my own body than I did when I kissed this boy. This boy, no, this man. He ended up coming home with me, and it was the most satisfying, emotional, beautiful, delicious, wondrous, eye opening experience of my life.
The next day we went into the mountains, and my brain became wired into the stars; I felt electric. We went to the top of a mountain, and we both experienced a moment that fully took away our senses and placed us into an alternate reality of being and consciousness. It was one of those rare moments I will treasure for as long as I can dare hold on to it. After meeting Eli and having him place his hands around my skinny frame and hold it with such passion, I learned something. I learned the difference that exists between people. Eli was a certain kind of beautiful and stunning I thought I would never be able to touch, but he saw something in me I decided not to see. He was not interested in my outside; he was interested in my insides, my brain, my humor, my wit, and my thoughts: my true beauty. For as long as I can remember I never liked the way I looked. I felt I needed to make up for my ugliness with sexuality. I had made up my mind that since I was not pretty I had to be open and willing to sleep with whomever just to get some sort of affection. My desperate attempts at human connections through sexuality put me in some seriously painful and dangerous situations. 
I just wanted to be loved and would do anything to get some emotion from anyone. A lot of my attempts for affection and attention came from my distant childhood relationships with my parents. My mother and father were always working somewhere far away and I was left in the care of our live-in nannies. My mother never paid much attention to my sister or me so we brought up ourselves and had to create our own ideas of how we were supposed to behave and act in society. My sister was older and took on the more responsible role. She did was she was told, and she never started fights or argued, she was the “good daughter.” I was not capable of sitting down and just dealing with what was handed to me. I was vocal about the problems I had with my mother, the problems I had with kids at school. I did not want to be in the shadows and be walked upon, but in a world where my mother told me, “Sit down, shut up, and don’t cause a scene,” there was not much hope for me. Eventually I realized I was not going to get the sort of attention and affection I needed from my family, and I had to look elsewhere. I noticed the more sexual I was, the more attention I got from the people around me. The younger boys were interested in what I knew about sex, and the older boys were interested in giving me more information. I was so desperate for affection I discarded my smarts and my other interested in order to make room for mini skirts and mascara. 
	Girls on television, girls in the magazines, girls in my school, and girls and women all around me were making their way into people hearts through something I thought I didn’t have. I knew they were better than me, prettier, and skinnier than me, but I could never figure out what else they possessed that made them so desirable; what was I doing wrong? The world around me told me, “be like them at all costs,” but I could not figure out how, so I decided to use the only thing I felt held some sort of power in this world, my sexuality. Everything else in my life faded away and was taken over by this succubus who ruled my life. Nothing else mattered but getting the attention of anyone, by any means necessary. I was a hollow shell filled with nothing but my ideas of pleasing everyone else and leaving my needs in the dirt.
There have only been a few instances where I have felt beautiful and womanly inside and out. Meeting Eli is certainly one of those rare and treasured moments. Being near him and thinking that he would never want me in that way allowed me to put away my overly sexual side and focus on my thoughts, focus on the conversation and interacting with Eli on a different level. I always hid my brains and my intellect in order to make room for sex tips and lipstick, but Eli coaxed my intelligence and my passions out of me. When he kissed me I realized that, yes, breasts and sex are nice, but smarts and a conversation last longer.