But desert ritual is just the beginning of integrating a new identity that goes counter to the training to be my parents’ obedient, pretty girl, smiling for the camera. And counter to our society’s messages about what women are supposed to be: compassionate, loving, quiet, small. There isn’t much room for wild women. But luckily, we have the strength and power to make room. To stand up, speak out. Anyway, I am still learning to let my wild woman run free.
I was at a half marathon on Sunday, and she ran with me. She shouted out “Woohoo, 10K!” at the half-way mark. And I heard a woman behind me tell her female friend “She’s got way too much energy.”
I know suppressive bullshit when I hear it, and this comment made me mad. Mad enough to beat my previous time by 8 minutes. Mad enough to run harder than I’ve ever run. Which is one way to use that energy.
But is this what a wild woman would do?
My wild woman shouted Replacements song lyrics when they popped into her head. At first, when these lyrics arose, she kept it to herself. But after the 10K mark, she’d had enough of suppressing her fun life energy. She shouted out “Take me down, to the hospital!” at the medics in the ambulance at the side of the road. And “Red light, red light, run it. Ain’t nobody watching, run it!”
And each time she broke the rules, stood out from the crowd, let herself express what was moving through her, a new surge of energy propelled her on. Real strength. Real expansion, right through the top of her head. Right into the quiet simplicity of nothingness.
My exploration into what it means to be a wild woman continues. For the record, she did it in 2:00:28!