I did not wake up slowly, gently stretching, blinking my eyes open, adjusting to the light.
Though it took ( and is still taking ) some time, it has not been an unfolding. It has been a shattering, an implosion, a detonation of knowing.
I broke the surface of consciousness, gasping, heart racing, blinded by the glare of my truth, flailing to find something to hold onto ... and there was only myself.
That was the point, I think of waking up ... and waking up some more as Sue Monk Kidd writes in Dance of the Dissident Daughter. I am learning that there is only myself. Though I welcome the companions who travel with me ... the humans, the words, the stories ... still this is only me walking through.
In August of 2012, I wrote on the front pages of Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
"I come now, parched, broken, needing words that will give me hope, hope to believe in ... everything, justification, validation ... the message that I am internalizing and the reason raging waters are rising is that it is not OK to feel this way, to feel anger, to feel emotional ...
I need to walk through, walk through, walk through . . . "
Five and half years later, I am still walking.
When Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, "Stop the World for we are not going on without her any longer", I heard that howling call and answered with my own.
Aho. Aho. Aho.
Her is the she that is within me ... within you ... the wild woman, the knowing, the truth of you.
How did we think we could live without her. Exist? yes. We were, and maybe still are, well practiced in existing, going through the motions, following the rules. Living for anyone other than ourselves is not living. I've often thought ... "are we just zombies?" ... but to be zombies we must first have been alive. Were we ever really alive? Surely ... yes ... at some point. In the childhood years maybe? But the silencing comes swiftly. I was spanked at six months old for making noise in church.
Forty-two years later, I would really make some noise in the church as I stood boldly in my questions, my doubts, my intolerance of hypocrisy. I wrapped my anger around me like a shield deflecting those scripture wrapped messages of suppression and oppression, of inequality and injustice. Holding my ground was easier though than walking away. Once the gates swung closed behind me, my anger became the weapon that was used against me ... and sometimes I was the one clutching it.
Anger equaled bad and I was angry, very angry, therefore I must be bad, very bad. And all I ever wanted was to be good ... to be a good Christian, to be a good wife, to be a good mother, to be a good daughter. In 2012, I was immersed in these patterns of anger and shame. I wondered if it would have been better to never have woken. If I could I have just stayed blinded to it all, I could have kept walking those footsteps laid out before me. Here was this newly born me and I didn't know how to care for her.
Women Who Run with the Wolves offered me just what I wrote that I needed. Hope. Hope to believe in. Validation that all I was feeling was normal and OK. Mostly though, the stories of the wild woman reminded of that I already know, that I've always known, and that I could hold onto myself.