For as long as I can remember, I have always lived in fear.
There is no “safe” place in this world.
There are places that temporarily protect you from dangerous things, but there are no real permanent places that will serve as sanctuaries.
That is what we are taught.
It is smart, it is logical and the knowledge itself provides a barrier against the harsh winds of the unknown.
As brown rabbits, we are always told to stay away from the snow. Our brown coats stand out against the white snow, making it easy for predators to pounce on us. And so, running across the white snow is known to bring death.
Of course, no one in our community has actually died from doing this. We have heard from other communities of such deaths, but to us it is foreign.
I envy the white rabbits.
They are free, free to run across the wide, white expanses of snow. Free to feel the cold wind weaving through their fur and to feel the thrill of being able to blend into their background.
What a wonderful feeling that must be.
At first, I only run on the brown flats of the tundra, feeling joyous as I stealthily sprint over rocks and and small shrubbery.
And then, one day, I run straight up to the edge of the end of the frozen tundra grounds, right to where the snow starts.
It burns in me.
The burning desire of freedom.
To leap across the the endless white, to feel the joy of all white rabbits.
I cannot stop myself.
All at once, I am running, leaping, twisting.
Adrenaline pumps through my body, emphasizing my excitement.
For the first time my whole life I feel happy.
I belong here, dancing across the snow.
This is me. This is who I am. The essence of my soul lies in these very actions.
My ecstasy is overflowing, my body too small to hold such energy.
And then, I realize, it is time to go back. Back to the dreary, muddy grounds of home. The excitement drains out of my body. I run back to the tundra grounds, my padded feet barely touching the icy surface of the snow.
I tuck away that part of me, deep inside so no other brown rabbit will find out that the line has been crossed.
That I have broken the boundaries.
Every day, I run to the snow and secretly run across it, around it.
It is what I look forward to when I wake up each day, and what I dream about when I fall asleep.
For the next few months, I have the time of my life.
I am truly happy.
Until one day, I am running across the snow like I usually do. The joy never ends, never lessens. I am so caught up in my own pleasure, I barely hear the soft patter of receding footsteps.
My heart slams against my rib cage as I catch sight of a brown rabbit, pounding away.
He has seen me.
The panic ignites within me, rooting itself in my chest.
I have been caught.
I scamper away, back to my community.
I can feel the disdain. It is palpable.
They punish me for running on the snow. They bite me. Kick me. Scratch me until I bleed. And all because I ran on the snow.
Anger burns in me. Yes, I get they want to protect me from predators. But look! I am safe, no predator has even touched me! And I accept the danger that comes with running across the snow. But, I am willing to trade that with the happiness that strikes me each time I set foot on the snow!
And as I lay there, beaten, bloody and bruised, all I can think is Nothing can stop me from running on the snow. Anything is worth it for that feeling of freedom, happiness, ecstasy. Anything.
A spark of rage sets a fire in me. I simply cannot run across the snow because my fur is brown.
I hate being a brown rabbit.
Now, you probably think I’m crazy for writing about a brown rabbit’s life wishes.
In fact, this story is really just an analysis for my story.
I’m a runner. I love to run. It’s who I am.
At first, I didn’t run in the woods. I was content running on the streets, doing what I love.
Then, one day, I decided to run in the woods by myself. And once you get a taste of something better once, you can’t just stop returning.
So, for a whole summer, I ran in these woods, defying the wishes of parents, who did not want me to run alone in the woods for many reasons.
One day I was caught running in these woods by my Dad, who was also running in there too.
As soon as I got home, I was punished for my actions.
No, I was not beaten physically. I was reprehended repeatedly and certain things were taken away from me.
My parents were furious with me for running in the woods, for I could have gotten sexually assaulted.
I understand how my parents want to protect me from such things, but, like the brown rabbit, nothing compares to that feeling of elation. And I know that there are men out there that would harm me, but the feeling I get while running in these woods is indescribable. That is my happy place. Just me, my music and the woods around me.
My gender prevents me from running safely in these woods, for I am a girl. A girl that can be raped.
If I was a boy, I have no doubt in my mind that my parents would allow me to run alone in those woods.
As a girl, or as a brown rabbit, we are taught to live safely, and to stay away from the dangers of sexual assault.
Girls are taught to run away.
It is not okay to sexually assault someone. Boys should know this. Boys need to be raised so they don’t harm others.
So they don’t prevent me from running in the woods.
Not all boys are like this, and I recognize that. Thank you for respecting us.
All I want is to run in those woods again.