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I’d rather be a dirty girl than a clean one.

Unless we’ve camped, climbed or hiked together, you most likely haven’t seen this uninhibited side of me. Most days, I’m in an office where it’s not in the dress code to wear dirt smudges on my skin or clothes. I wash my hair, swipe on mascara and button myself up into collared shirts before work. Sometimes I even brush my teeth for the second time midday.

We live in a society that expects women to smell sweet and look lovely, yet my happiest moments are when I’m neither. About seven in 10 women believe that women are under more pressure to conform than men, according to REI. That same 70 percent of women feeling pressure to fit in are liberated outside and see nature as a place where they’re free from the struggles of everyday life.

For me, the outdoors is where the world’s expectations get left behind in the dust, and I become my wildest, purest form. Self-love is abundant because I find peace with my so-called imperfections and celebrate my body’s strengths as I muscle through obstacles on the way to the campsite or crag or cliff. I’ve embraced the healing benefits of getting dirty in more recent years as I grow more comfortable with the woman I’ve become, not needing dresses or makeup for me to feel beautiful.

I was raised to be kind to bugs, build my own campfire, gut trout, squat in the woods and smother myself in sunscreen. Then, I lived on a houseboat for a whole summer atop California’s Lake Shasta as a boat driver, where there was no other way to bathe than in the water beneath me. It was the cleanest I’d ever felt. While I’m like everybody else yearning for a hot shower at the end of a multi-day trip, I think I get more pleasure watching the dirt swirl with water down the drain than satisfaction from the actual shower itself.

I’m proud when I have a brown line under each of my fingernails, greasy hair separating in strings, exposed blemishes, stubble in my armpits, and scrapes texturizing my knees and knuckles. It shows where I’ve been. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ll eat something that’s dropped on the ground or that I wear the same sweaty sports bra for an entire weekend. Us dirty girls don’t care if you think that’s gross because we’re not trying to impress you anyway. And that is liberating.

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