Welcome to All Run Wild, a blog dedicated to venerating the female soul.
Venerating is a cool word! I had never heard it before, then I picked up a copy of Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. "Venerating the female soul" was the tagline, and it means to pay great respect, or revere. Essentially, honor the fact that ALL WOMEN ARE AWESOME.
I was first introduced Dr. Estes’s book when I was working as an actor at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. We no wifi and it was autumn, making it the perfect time to curl up by the fire with some good ol' books on female psychology! My roommate Kate loved wolves, so much that she had one tattooed onto her beautiful back. She was the one who introduced me to Estés’s book. We slept in bunkbeds, and at night Kate would often excerpts aloud before we fell asleep. The book is filled with fairy tales, and not the kinds where a white women sings out the window and a bunch of birds dress her up in a stomach-flattening corset. No, we read Sealskin, Soulskin and The Little Match Girl. Each story carried a lesson, providing insight into the different facets of the female nature. For example, we have a useful thing called intuition! The process of creativity (and not just the result) is healthy! Bodies are not supposed to look the same! Etc., etc...!
Estés further explains how the female soul had been stifled throughout the years. Once untamed, naked, and fearless, women danced with abandon. They were celebrated for their feminine strength and unique bodies, regardless of the shape or size. Unfortunately, patriarchy and strict religious institutions have criticized women for the things that come most naturally to them, silencing our powerful voices and leaving us ashamed for our sexuality. We hide our faces behind our hair and say "yes?"
For years, we women have been consciously and subconsciously told “what we should be.” We have been portrayed in literature as being the cruel wife, the sexy mistress, the manic pixie dream girl, or the clumsy ingénue. We have been told to be good mothers, respectable Christians, doting partners. We have faked orgasms because we believe sex to be solely for a man’s enjoyment. We have been raped and our predators walk away unscathed. I believe that re-venerating our souls is the antidote to this oppression. We can take back what is inherently ours. We can be wild.
If you're reading this blog and you are not my mother or if we have never met, you might be thinking, "Who is this girl? WTF is she talking about? This sounds hippy-dippy and weird." Welllllll it kinda is and I like it! I think it resonates with me because I felt stifled for a really long time. When I was a kid, I was active and fearless. I played in creeks and tall flowers, asked questions without embarrassment, and relished in creative activities without fear of criticism. (There was this awesome story about a haunted sleepover and I still declare it to be some of my best work.) But after elementary school, things began to change. Despite having decent sex-ed classes and open-minded parents, I didn’t have the best introduction to my body. Years of reading Cosmo’s title features, like “Best 30 Zillion Ways to Please a Man” taught me that it was my duty to make sure boys got what they wanted.
I hated my curly hair and curves. I straightened out every strand and starved myself. My senior year of high school, I dropped nearly thirty pounds after shifting in between anorexia and bulimia. And I wasn’t alone; I belonged to online groups where women encouraged other women to stop eating, and throw up what they did. When I got older, a scary percentage of my friends suffered from eating disorders. Almost all of them admitted to calorie-counting or comparing themselves to others.
In college, I was active in discussion-based classes and extra-curricular activities. Even though my university was sixty percent female, the opinion of male students rang the loudest. In classroom settings, the other girls and I were constantly interrupted, or worse, refused to even voice a point of a view. Some of us fought to be heard, channeling our inner Hermione Grangers and raising our hands until we were practically banging on that glass ceiling. But other times, I stayed quiet. It was easier that way.
I wasn’t respecting myself. I wasn’t respecting the wide range of what women can be. My intuition was barely developed and self-worth was in the pooper. Even when I got older and started to have boyfriends, I still did not know the extent of my womanhood. I tried to figure out what they wanted, be that girl (cue T-Swift), and make them love me in order to receive validation. Little did I know, I could find it all my own.
Throughout the Faire, Kate and I had deep discussions regarding our bodies, our thoughts, our relationships, and our passions. I was struggling with my religion (I was in a brief stint with Christianity, more on that another day) and had anxiety about what I would after my contract ended. Over the next two years, I would fall stupidly in love, leave my faith, move to Los Angeles, start a yoga practice, work a handful of different jobs, finally attempt meditation, try out a ton of anti-anxiety meds, experience severe heartbreak, and travel the United States. But throughout everything, the good and the bad, I made an attempt to pay homage to the truest part of who I was as a woman.
It’s only been two years, but I love what I’m learning. I’m dancing without fear and taking better care of my body. I’m learning when to say no. I’m spending more time outdoors and giving much more of a shit towards our environmental crisis. Once you begin to respect and love yourself as a woman, your love for everything else grows so much more.
So thus the reason for this blog!! Over the next few months, I will be sharing honest stories, advice, inspiration, art, and ideas to help my fellow sisters (and brothers if you want to ignite your feminine nature) about the myriad of things wonderful about being wild. Inspirational stories, wholesome recipes, poetry, and more.
I hope you stop by.
Enough talk for tonight. I've got a moon to howl at. ;)