"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wild Cycles

Yeah, that whole famous quote about it being darkest before dawn, and all that.

Dear readers,
This blog is about wildness - being wild and living wildly in every sense of the word.  I created it to write about being a wild woman, which is a status I say that most of us once held, and somewhere in the past several generations, have lost.  I don't claim to have fully come into this identity yet, but I am writing about the process in the hopes of inspiring others to find that wild place inside of themselves and let it see the light of day.

Sometimes being a wild woman means going on adventures - thus my posts about backpacking, ice-climbing, snowshoeing, rock-climbing, and snowboarding.  Sometimes being a wild woman means living in wild relationships - thus my posts about friendships, about not wanting to fall in love, and those about falling in love anyway.  I know how much my readers enjoy reading my posts about the "mountaintop" moments in my life, literally and figuratively, and I am glad to provide them for you.

But living a wild life in a society that does not readily encourage wildness, especially from women, can at times be a rather difficult experience.  While the majority of the time, I am grateful to be alive and spreading positivity and rainbows everywhere I go, sometimes I'm, well - I'm not.  Sometimes I'm too confused.  Sometimes I'm too overwhelmed.  Sometimes I'm just plain exhausted and not feeling wild at all.

As you have seen, I think it is important to blog about those times, too.  Because if the point of this blog is to open my "journey to wildness" up to the greater world, I want to present a complete picture.  And while those sadder posts may be more difficult or uncomfortable for some people to read, they are an honest portrayal of my journey at that time.  I know life as a constant cycle of rising and falling; of yin and yang.  I am me and I am wild in all parts of this cycle, not just the ones full of happiness and rainbows.

While I feel strongly that it matters to write about these darker times, I also want to write about how I pull myself out of them.  Because just like the darkness in the sky that rocks us to sleep each night, these dark times do not last.  They, like the happy times - like all kinds of times - are temporary.

So what was it this time?  What pulled me out of this particular journey to "the dark side?"

Well first, I slept.  I stopped running around and filling every moment of my schedule.  I started going to bed earlier (like, ridiculously early), and started sleeping a bit later in the morning, even going in to work late a few days to make this possible.

Second, I stopped trying to please everyone.  I allowed myself to not make that phone call to an old friend that I'd been meaning to make, and to not go to that family wedding I'd promised to attend.  I admitted that no matter what I do at work, I will always leave with unfinished tasks, and someone will usually choose to be disappointed in that.  I reminded myself that if I am doing the best I can, their disappointment does not have to be my disappointment.  I am not always the perfect employee, the perfect friend, the perfect daughter, or the perfect girlfriend.  And that has to be ok.

Third, I talked with trusted women in my life who could empathize with me, and at the same time, slap me in the face and tell me to snap out of my self-indulgent pity party.  (Notice I did not say that I talked with Oldman about it.  There are some things in life that only women can do for each other.  I've learned that the hard way.  Many times.  I simply told Oldman that I'm battling something fierce right now and asked him to be patient with me while I work it out.  I assured him that I'd be "back" soon, and that my love for him holds firm through all of it.  And because he's amazing, he understood, and gave me space.)

This brings me to my fourth strategy: I spent time alone.  On Friday night, I returned home to a note on the door from Oldman saying that he had gone for a 30 mile night bike ride down the C&O canal, and wouldn't be home until late.  Rather than feel sorry for myself or try to fill the time with some loud distraction, I decided to go to spa world, by myself, for the whole evening.  I spent four hours there, soaking in the saunas and jacuzzis, reading, journaling, and getting massaged (a.k.a. beaten to a pulp by an old Korean woman).  When I returned home at 2am, Oldman was home from his bike ride, and I don't think we've ever been happier to see each other.  A few hours spent apart, doing what was healthy for each of us, was the best way to be closer.

Fifth and finally, I simply chose to be done in the darkness.  I had logically examined many possibilities for leaving Maryland early, and in the end, none of them came with consequences that I am willing to live with right now.  I am living here, right now, and that is all that really exists.  I reminded myself to stop living in a hypothetical future which may or may not ever come.  I put on my big girl pants and told myself to stop it already.  So I did.

I wrote this post partially for you, my readers, so you could rest assured that I am "happy" once again.  But mostly, I wrote it for me - so next time I take a trip to the dark side, when I am ready to come out and I may have forgotten how, I can read this post and remember a few ways that have worked in the past.

But for now, since I am approaching the upswing portion of the cycle, stay tuned for more posts about mountaintop experiences, crazy adventures, and of course, unicorns and rainbows.

Yours truly,

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