For as long as I can remember. . . yes, even before social media. . . It’s always been a dream of mine to inspire others – especially in the outdoors. Lately, regardless of how hard I try to express my love, passion, and interest in the outdoors and conservation, I’m ridiculed.
“She craves attention.”
“It’s all for the likes.”
“She can't call.”
The list goes on and on, and the words and accusations continue to get more hurtful. The negativity and hatefulness is causing me deep grief and resentment, and unfortunately, is beginning to sour something that I love dearly – hunting, fishing, and being outdoors.
Lately, I feel like my page is doing more damage than good. I feel like I’m potentially deterring women who are newly interested in the outdoors from trying out something new. I’ve received countless messages from these women saying the following:
“I really want to learn to shoot a bow, but I’ve seen the mean and nasty comments, and now, I don’t want to.”
“I want to learn to call, but women get made fun of.”
“I’m new to hunting but scared to share my adventures on social media.”
Their words of concern continue to echo in my mind; I lose sleep because my actions are backfiring. How do I respond to these women? How do I tell them that I’m merely an exception and the reason I receive this negativity is because people deem me as a “fake Instagram huntress.”
That label alone makes me cringe.
I genuinely don’t think this type of ridicule happens to everyone – and God knows, I don’t want it to, but by having my page, I feel that women view this behavior from other hunters as the norm, when in reality, it is not the norm.
Lately, I’ve considered deleting my account. Not for attention’s sake. . . and certainly not out of defeat. . . I want to bow out gracefully because I genuinely feel like I’m harming the statistics of female hunters.
On April 25, 2016, I posted a blog called Guiding Women to the Outdoors: How Women Can Contribute to the Rise of Female Hunters. Truthfully, I wrote that blog after I received hurtful comments from another woman on Instagram – calling me a fake – imagine that.
Back then, 2016 Sydney was much more positive than the person writing today’s blog. Today, I can’t find much justification in sharing my adventures any longer. My goal to inspire is dimming quickly, What began as a raging fire in my heart is now merely a flicker. All I can see is harm through my actions, and it’s devastating. . . I want to blow out that flame for the sake of others.
So, here I am. . . a little over two years later. . . still trying to be a positive role model but feeling like I’m failing miserably.When I express my defeats and worries to others, many of whom I look up to a great deal, I receive the following advice that is always a consistent message:
“You must have thick skin to survive in this industry.”
But truthfully, this venture isn’t about me. My efforts aren’t about me. It’s not about me getting thick skin and dealing with the people that seek to be cruel. I aspire to spark an interest in females that otherwise, might not care to hunt or fish or even break a sweat outdoors.
But I genuinely believe my goal is not coming to fruition; my actions are becoming more harmful than helpful, it seems. So, where do I go from here? That’s the big question. How do I combat the cruelty and exude positivity and continue to persevere despite the adversities. How do I continue to inspire with this deep, guilt-stricken feeling that I’m causing more harm than good?
And the answer is, “I don’t know.” I thought by the end of this blog, I would have the answer. I thought that through the soothing noise of methodical typing and spillage of emotions onto a word document that I would have an answer. But I don’t.
In conclusion, I still don’t know where to go from here. I don’t know what the right thing to do is – but I’m ever seeking. Over the next month, I’m challenging myself to find God’s path for me. If it’s not to document my journey outdoors, then so be it. I can gracefully walk away and feel full in knowing that he has a different plan for me.
I will always be a hunter, provider, conservationist, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. But unfortunately, I don't know if documenting my adventures is the right path any longer.
Hey y'all! I'm Sydney Broadaway, and I hope you choose to follow along in my outdoors journey. The most important thing you could know about me is my love for God. He has given me the skills to pursue my passion of being a conservationist and hunter. If anything, I hope I can inspire others to grow closer to God and to the outdoors.