Between Red Rock and a Hard Place

To the wind, wild grass bends.
The trout swim one way alone.
To the lakes rivers send,
The law of gravity all they know.
In their compliance are they alone?

Even the mountain’s height is forced.
It’s not his will to rise.
Canyons carved,
Arches coerced,
Repeated pressure a trail’s source,
Its longing for regrowth ignored.

In my heart I know,
It takes courage to break a mold.
To question a story and see it retold.
To deny expectations for personal goals.
Living one’s truth is bold.

I make my peace in an effortless leap.
Preconceived ideas, be theirs to keep.
I won’t embrace, endorse or adhere,
I will live with courage, not fear.
This day is my own,
And I will be
All the truth held within me.

I was raised in the amazingly beautiful state of Utah, and at the age of 35, I couldn’t wait to leave it. Trapped inside its dominant culture, I tried to fit the mold of the model Mormon woman, but I longed to break free. The role left me feeling like my very essence was being lost, along with the person I dreamed of becoming.

I also knew I wasn’t being honest with my family, my community, or myself, but while the act of taking a leap is effortless, the consequences are terrifying.

Instead of leaping, I first tried running. I fled to Austin where keeping it weird is the expectation and conformity is close to criminal. In Austin, I thought I would be free. And, in many ways I was. Rejecting the rigid rules I once followed, I embraced sleeveless tops and coffee shops. I soaked up the sun while sipping wine and saw every movie that interested me, even the R-rated ones. But in many ways, I was still held back by fear. Six years later, when I faced returning to my home-state, I also faced the edge of the cliff I had run from.

It would take my husband another year to talk me into exploring a career as a writer. And, it would take a year of encouragement after that, for me to believe I could be successful at it. In January 2020, I began working as a Senior Writer at Struck. This was my leap, the moment I faced the fears that were holding me back and stepped through them.

Ironically enough, I found myself writing for the state of Utah’s tourism account. The experience has caused me to look at Utah’s culture and beauty in a new way. Just like its diverse, natural wilderness, we are each products of our nature, expressing both our genetic make-up and the forces applied to it. But, we too can be relentless like flowing water following its course and driven like trout following their purpose.

I used to only see how Utah had been stifling, how its strict and narrow expectations had limited my growth, but now I realize its elements have shaped me and revealed who I really am — who I always was.

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Julie Comstock

Julie Comstock

45 Followers

Associate Creative Director at Struck. Curious about most things.