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Girl in the Woods: A Memoir Girl in the Woods: A Memoir by Aspen Matis
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Girl in the Woods Quotes Showing 1-30 of 173
“The trees were friendly, they gave me rest and shadowed refuge. Slipping through them, I felt safe and competent. My whole body was occupied. I had little energy to think or worry.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“She told me that my rape was not my fault, that I should feel no shame, that – simple as it may sound – I hadn’t caused it. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. No one causes rape but rapists. It was true. And it had not been obvious to me. And hearing it from someone else, a professional, someone who should know, helped me believe that soon I would believe it.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I needed to stop hiding: I was raped. It was time to honestly be exactly who I was. I saw—the shame wasn't mine, it was his, and I could stop misrepresenting myself, and I could accept myself.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I didn’t know if I was brave or reckless.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“Loss is the shocking catalyst of transformation.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“Childhood is a wilderness.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I was no longer following a trail.

I was learning to follow myself.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“Walking in solitude fixes nothing, but it leads you to the place where you can identify the malady—see the wound's true form and nature—and then discern the proper medicine.

My malady was submission.

The symptom: my compliance.

The antidote was loud clear boundaries.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“On this walk I'd had so much time and space to actually figure out who I was without my mother's influence. I understood now: the things that my mother had found made her happy were not the same as the things that made me happy. And I understood: that was okay.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“The bravest thing I ever did was leave there. The next bravest thing I did was come back, to make myself heard.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“And the idea of light unexplainably produced out of nothing was haunting, it shook me. A flat drab mountain could produce its own light, no one in this whole world knows why, and if that was possible then of course there must be other things that seemed impossible that weren’t, and so anything—great and terrible—felt possible to me now.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I was safe in this world. This was a place for creatures—I felt I had become more of a creature than a girl. I could handle myself in the wild.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I was so much more powerful than anyone knew. I was an animal learning to fight back, instinctively, fiercely. I was a brave girl. I was a fit fox.

I realized that the most empowering important thing was actually simply taking care of myself.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“She had wanted me to hold rape inside me like a dark pearl, keep it in there, as it grew, as I grew cramped, as it overtook me as hidden things do. Secrets become lies. I'd carried in every step I took this lie, the shame of it.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I was beginning to feel compassion for myself.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“If I was going to put myself into a situation wherein I had no one to depend on, I needed to step up and be the one to actually take good care of myself.The universe wouldn't simply do it for me.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“If I could mark clearly, convincingly and consistently what was good for me and also what was bad — if I could say yes and also no, as if it were the law — it would become my law.

It finally had to.

I understood that it wouldn’t be easy, it would be very hard; I’d need to resist the habit I had developed long ago – with conviction. I’d have to be impolite, an inconvenience, and sometimes awkward. But if I could commit, all that discomfort would add up to zap predatory threats like a Taser gun. I’d stun them. They’d bow to me. I’d let my no echo against the mountains.

And better to feel bad for a moment saying no – and stop it – than to get harmed.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“We aren’t afraid of what we can explain.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“A red leaf danced from a branch like a dropping flame, down into the calm blue lake. A gust had broken it free. There was a cold bite in the wind.
It was now deep autumn in the mountains.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“In the aftermath of destruction, a silence settles – the stillness of fresh loss. People’s cheerful chatter is fainter, the blue color of sky dimmer; now that horror is undeniable and feels inescapable, the value of life seems lessened.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“Mothers are programmed to teach the fit. They are unequipped to listen to pleas, to alter their patterns. Mothers know how to nurse and nurture those who they have hope for—they coo over babies with infections they can help heal, they give advice for things they know, they protect from the dangers they know how to fear. But once their baby becomes so hurt the mother doesn't know how to heal her, she neglects because she doesn't know better. The tricks she knows don't work, she fears, and, eventually, when she is so lost she feels hopeless, she abandons.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“It was heartbreaking to realize how we can fail the people we most love without even trying.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I no longer needed to peel myself of my skin, or to hide. To Dash the colorless ephemeral things that existed just beneath my surface were as vivid as the beauty marks he traced on my cheek.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“For this entire walk, my desire had ashamed me, as if my wanting to be kissed that night mitigated the fault of Junior's sudden deafness. I'd been given stacks of reasons to blame myself for an act of violence committed by another. I had blamed my flirting for his subsequent felony. My college taught me: my rape was my shame. Everyone I'd trusted asked only what I might have done to let it happen.

In my gut, I'd always believed I'd caused it.

I finally questioned it.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“Water was liquid silver, water was gold. It was clarity—a sacred thing.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“Water was liquid silver, water was gold. It was clarity—a sacred thing. Drinking was no longer something to take for granted. I’d never needed to consider water before.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I saw for the first time that I could stop giving people the power to make me feel disrespected. In my anger I began to see the absurdity of allowing this boy to shame me.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I saw now that bad men existed who would take advantage of any weakness and insecurity they found when violating a victim. I saw it was not my fault; I did not choose to be raped or kidnapped. But now I was learning how to protect myself from the predators, to trust my No and my instinct and my strength. I was learning I was not to blame, I couldn't prevent men from trying to hurt me, but I could definitely fight back. And sometimes fighting back worked.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I realized that the most empowering important thing was actually simply taking care of myself.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
“I made a conscious effort to name my needs and desires. To carefully listen to and accurately identify what I felt. Hunger, exhaustion, cold, lower-back ache, thirst. The ephemeral pangs: wistfulness and loneliness. Rest fixed most things. Sleep was my sweet reward. I treated bedtime as both incentive and sacrament.”
Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir

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