by Diana Proemm
Over 20 years ago I left my home in Ohio to be a ski bum for a year in Big Sky, Montana. At that time, I thought I knew everything about life and was ready to take a walk on the trail of alpine life. Mountain culture is very different than city life. People make working to live a priority versus living to work. Quality of life is good and focuses on spending time in the outdoors, eating healthy and looking for the next trail, or river adventure.
I remember the day I left home so vividly because it was the first time I saw my dad cry and I was 23 years old. It truly broke my heart but I knew that he and I would be OK – the adventure had to ensue. It was in Big Sky that my love for the outdoors and mountain life took ahold and did not let go. With friends I explored all the local trails hoping to find something cool, like an old cabin, views, animals or wildflowers. The summers in Big Sky are like nowhere else. You can lose yourself in the mountains, but come out finding your place in life.
The Big Sky summer started a love affair with a man who led me to Alaska that winter. We literally drove the Alcan Highway to Girdwood in January. I left even though my inner tuition told me not to go. And by all means he would not wait for me to finish out the winter in Big Sky. Our relationship would be over and I did not want to lose him.
After our arrival in Girdwood just south of Anchorage, I acquired a job with two local commercial photographers who still are close to me. Being in a new location and the best trail finder ever, I went to work skiing, and exploring the majesty that is Alaska. Glaciers, mountains jutting out the ocean, and the biggest wild blueberries one can find. Upon summers end, my boyfriend had started drinking and changed. He became angry at times, call me horrid names and would call me fat even though I was 145lbs at 5’6”. I began to see my life differently and realized I had lost my confidence and my true self. Throughout that summer I let him take away my true and confident self. Reality shifted and I dropped out of a pink colored cloud I had been living in saying things were OK when in reality they were not.
Realizing that if I stayed in this relationship, I might not be safe. How had I let someone degrade me into thinking I wasn’t worthy? I realized then why so many women do not leave abusive boyfriends or husbands, as they make you feel like you cannot live without them and put fear in you if you leave. Although he never physically hit me, he was verbally abusive and there were some things thrown in my direction. I was thankful and proud of myself to get out when I did. When I was packing up and out, he called me many things that are not appropriate to say here. I took my best friend to obtain the last of my things from his place. He started throwing my spare tires at us and yelling profanities and we gave each other a look, grabbed whatever we could and left.
I was grateful to have to have the strength to leave and I vowed that day to never let any man treat me with disrespect. Over the years I have helped other ladies to do the same. I have seen women come out of abusive relationships they didn’t know they were in. The support and love I felt from my friend that day and beyond got me throughout that whole event. She had my back and I couldn’t be more grateful. Women have an uncanny knack to support each other when a fellow sister is in trouble. This is one of the many reasons why I started Bigger Picture RT, to empower women. My goal is for you to find your voice and confidence through outdoor adventure experiences with other ladies.
Whatever your story, know that the Big Sky womens tour will lead you on a journey to some of the first places I discovered when I arrived in 1995. The pristine beauty has not changed. The Alaska adventure will take you deep into the bush and into America’s largest national park. You will be flown into some of the rawest land in the nation and walk below 15,000ft peaks and miles of glaciers. Join me on a path to adventure with other amazing women next year.
The Bigger Picture experience is your trail to transformational healing. These adventure therapy trips for women will empower you to dive into the most rad terrain you’ll ever come across. You will sign up for a journey with other ladies to join a sisterhood of greatness. There will be no formal therapy sessions, and the trips are designed to invoke holistic therapeutic processes that may challenge your emotions. The best part is the group and professional support you’ll receive the whole time. Emotional safety is our number one and learning how to cope amongst others going through similar issues is a good way to move forward. You will leave with a sense of accomplishment.
Bigger Picture creates positive change in the lives of women struggling with anxiety and PTSD through weekend retreats and outdoor adventure. Check out our adventure trips for women here.