Nicole Coenen advised her story to producer Cat Jaffee for an episode of The Day by day Rally podcast. It has been edited for size and readability.
I discover chopping wooden extraordinarily cathartic and it’s such a very good launch. It’s such a very good stress reliever. Generally it may be very disturbing, since you get a bit of wooden that simply gained’t cut up, or has an enormous knot down the center. Ultimately, you’ll be able to develop this sense of virtually studying the wooden. You know the way it’s gonna cut up. You’ll be able to really feel when the ax hits, you’re like, Oh, OK, simply two extra swings and I acquired this.
I stay in British Columbia, Canada. I suppose I’m the lesbian lumberjack of the web. I’m additionally a filmmaker, and work loads in environmental nonprofits. I’m very a lot an introvert. I stay in the midst of nowhere, type of for a purpose.
I grew up within the suburbs in Ontario in a really conservative neighborhood, and actually struggled with presenting at the same time as a tomboy. I all the time really tried to make myself appear weaker than I used to be, and I wished to be stronger, however I didn’t suppose that that was actually allowed.
I went to movie college, and I actually liked speaking about queer illustration and extra numerous illustration. As a result of rising up, I didn’t actually have a variety of mates, and I used to be additionally actually making an attempt to determine, as all of us are, who I used to be, and after I would watch TV or watch motion pictures, I didn’t actually see myself represented fairly often, if ever. Generally even queer kind of traits could be seen as villain-esque or in damaging methods. So I believe I gravitated in direction of filmmaking or storytelling in media, as a solution to sprinkle a little bit bit extra illustration in there.
In August 2020, my associate and I on the time impulsively determined we wanted to get out, we wanted to maneuver to the mountains. I had by no means been to BC earlier than, however proper once we touched down, I felt like I used to be dwelling. I felt like this can be a place that I’ve been dreaming about, and I felt like in that panorama and within the nature out right here, I might categorical myself much more.
Ultimately, I acquired linked with this little group of wooden choppers. They’re known as the Greenwood Angels. The group itself was primarily comprised of older males and my buddy Sarah. So mainly a bunch of older males and two lesbians.
After I first began chopping wooden, they need to not have given me an ax. My goal was so unhealthy, and it was simply flailing far and wide. However there was one thing so cathartic about chopping wooden in order that you could possibly heat your self up for the winter. This group would sustainably harvest bushes, after which we’d buck it up into firewood. We’d promote that firewood, after which donate the earnings to a neighborhood initiative. Not solely did it really feel good to be exterior and be energetic and bond with the neighborhood, but it surely was doing good as nicely.
So January 2023, I believe it was only a random Thursday, and I keep in mind I used to be not in an excellent head area. I used to be fairly remoted from mates. So I used to be on my mattress, my canine was beside me, and I used to be scrolling by way of TikTok and got here throughout a really iconic wooden chopper named Thoren Bradley. I’m certain a variety of of us know of him. And he was splitting a spherical and I’m like, Hey, I might do this, I cut up a spherical like that simply this morning. So one of many ways in which I get out of a tragic state is both go exterior or get inventive. And so I type of did each. I went exterior and made a spoof of Thoren. It was very impulsive; I simply sprung off the bed and I used to be like, I’m gonna go exterior and movie this tacky parody video. I had a black tank high on and simply aggressively chopped this little spherical. I say little now as a result of I’ve undoubtedly chopped larger ones, however that’s all I had on the time. And posted that.
The response was type of hilarious. Folks appeared to actually prefer it, and lots of people requested if I might do it once more. And so I did. And did it repeatedly. And ultimately, I type of grew to become the cliché that I used to be spoofing. But it surely was nice as a result of I used to be having a lot enjoyable with it.
Then I began to additionally put my very own spin on it, and had a variety of enjoyable with it presenting a little bit bit extra within the masculine queer illustration. In order that was actually empowering in a variety of methods.
The feedback, particularly round girls empowerment and queer illustration, amplified it much more. The individuals have been wonderful. I used to be all the time terrified to publish on-line as a result of generally individuals will be imply. I do completely get a variety of mansplaining feedback, but it surely’s additionally nice as a result of each time I do get a kind of feedback, I get 10 extra supportive feedback. I’ve really gotten some feedback from mothers, saying that their daughters got here throughout my TikTok, confirmed it to them, and stated that they wished to be sturdy like me. And that simply hit me so exhausting as a result of it’s humorous, this person who I’m on-line is strictly what I wished after I was rising up. I want I had illustration for a powerful, queer, outdoorsy girl and that simply didn’t exist.
Though I’ll say my content material isn’t actually geared in direction of youngsters, I believe my youthful self could be actually stoked and actually proud. In order that makes me actually completely happy.
Nicole Coenen is a videographer, canine mother, and the lesbian lumberjack of the web. Via her movies, Nicole celebrates LGBTQ+ id and discusses psychological well being. She lives on the transfer in mountain and coastal cities throughout British Columbia. You could find her @nicole_coenen on TikTok and Instagram.
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