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June 14 2023, PA Route 191 to Church of the Mountain Hiker Center:
We got dropped off by W.I.C. at the trailhead and she hiked some of the trail with us. She was doing trail maintenance, picking up trash and dismantling fireplaces. Voodoo and I hiked on as it started to rain steady for the last few miles. We came upon a pond and I tried looking for frogs to catch. I had zero luck for they were all too slick and fast. I was drawn to the way the rain pitter pattered upon the water. Something in my mind felt off. It felt like that calmness of nature’s expression was nowhere to be found within me.
We arrived to a donation based church for hikers, where hikers could stay for two nights and more if needed. Voodoo ran into his friends and made a huge celebration scene in front of everyone. He yelled in excitement, hugged them and started talking really loud. I, on the other hand, went to sit outside because I felt there were too many people and it felt like a sensory overload. I noticed in that moment how different our personalities were. He was very extroverted and charismatic, whereas I naturally preferred to retract away from a lot of people.
Shortly after we got settled in, we went out for pizza. His friends happened to be there, so he invited himself to their table. They were finishing up their pizza and said that they would pack the rest out on trail, to which Voodoo went to grab a slice off their plate. I felt heat flush over my body and a sense of embarrassment.
“Babe,” I said, “it’s extremely disrespectful to take peoples’ pizza slices that they just told you they were going to pack out. If I did that, my mother would backhand slap me.”
He goes, “Well, my mom was never around, sooo…”
How could I hang around someone who lacked manners, I thought to myself.
After they left, Voodoo made a comment about one of the worker girls who had a huge ass and he said that there was no way it could be real. I felt so disrespected in that moment and ended up breaking out into tears about it. I was so turned off by hanging around men who blatantly checked out other women. He claimed he wasn’t attracted to her and that her ass was so big that he didn’t even have to look at it to see that.
I told him how it was a huge turn off that his mind even went there in the first place and was so easily distracted by other women. I could energetically feel that he wasn’t being wholly honest with me, either, which made me feel absolutely crazy. I felt like he wasn’t seeing or understanding why it was so upsetting to me, which seemed to put up a huge wall for me.
I noticed how my mind would continuously find things that bothered me about Voodoo, as if looking for a way out. Normally, something like that would have me out the door and not even giving him a second chance. Yet, it seemed that stuff like this would occur almost every day with him and I would still find myself sticking around simply because he knew how to fuck me good. I was starting to think that it wasn’t worth sacrificing my happiness and puncturing my nervous system just for some cock.
Near the end of the day, Voodoo decided he wanted to go to an AA meeting. Right before he left, he made a comment saying that there was a large group of hiker men sitting in the church room and that it smelled really bad. It appeared he didn’t want me to be around other males, so I eased his mind and said I would just sit outside at the picnic table and write.
Eventually, some guys walked outside, conversed with me and told me that they were going out to dinner. I noticed how good it felt to talk to people again.
When did I stop talking to people? I thought.
Voodoo came back to tell me the meeting was starting at 8pm not 7pm and I said how I felt inspired to go eat with the guys because a couple of them were also triple crowners.
Immediately, Voodoo says, “No, you’re not allowed to go.”
I couldn’t tell what I was feeling in that moment. On one hand, I felt turned on. It felt really hot that he made decisions for me which in a way made me feel protected/safe. But, on the other hand, I couldn’t tell if I was misperceiving his dominance for what was actually more like control.
It was true that anytime he left me alone for a moment, men would circle in. He said he didn’t want me to sit around a bunch of dudes that would be gawking at me. Understood, but truthfully, beneath the sense of being turned on, I felt some deep sadness.
This thru-hike felt much different than the rest. I enjoyed going into towns and spending time with other hikers. I loved going out to eat, talking trail stories and laughing about difficult times we faced. That night, I just stayed on the couch like a good little girl while Voodoo went to the AA meeting. He returned to find me in the room talking to some guys. I told him how happy I was to see him and he aggressively began to make out with me in front of them, establishing his place.
A shift was occurring in my mind. I thought I wanted a man that would show me off to the world the way Voodoo did, but I was looking for a different energy after having played it out with him for a while. I desired an expression of energy that was more of calm appreciation, worthiness and gratitude, instead of control, manipulation and entitlement.