audio narrative

peeps of the PCT: G-punk

About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.

Rita Mae Brown
“Grapefruit Punk” is an artist with a free spirit. We met in the North Cascades and hopscotched the entire trail to Mexico.

What does it mean to “be who you are?” And how do we get “comfortable in our skin,” as the saying goes, able to accept ourselves fully and know that not everyone will understand us, let alone come to love us just as we are?

I met Grapefruit Punk in the North Cascades near Stevens Pass, Washington. She is a person who has chosen to identify as gender neutral. I have to admit, I’m not entirely comfortable using ‘they/them’ in place of ‘he/she.’ I totally understand the need for gender neutral identifiers and a more fluid understanding of who we are as human beings, but as a person who loves words, a plural term for the singular feels awkward.

The gender theorist Judith Butler reminds us that, “Gender is not something that one is, it is something one does, an act… a doing rather than a being.” I find her words a balm when considering my identity as a hiker having taken on the enormous challenge of walking the Pacific Crest Trail, but also post-PCT, as I navigate my future and try to blaze a successful career path.

I walked with G in Central Oregon and could barely keep up with their fast pace.
I walked with G in Central Oregon and could barely keep up with their fast pace.