Of wolves and slinkies
wherein I am surprised to find myself not yet rewilded
Lately my therapist has me writing letters back and forth to my inner Wolf. Is this when you know you’ve really lost your marbles? Could be. Regardless, I like the practice. It has helped to have a way to channel all the restless internal energy I’m experiencing these days; a way to methodically organize the conflicting messages in my brain in hopes of one day finding some synergy.
Because honestly? The past few weeks I’ve felt like someone inside of me is manically climbing the interior walls the way my stir crazy children do our exterior ones in the long Midwestern winters. We’ve named this part of me the Wolf, my therapist and I. She’s scratching away, trying to break free from all social constraints (mostly a good thing!) and all personal responsibility (errr…. a less good thing).
I told my therapist — let’s call her Amy, b/c that’s her name — that I feel like I should have this resolved by now. I mean, I literally wrote the book on this. A few months ago, I had a nice tidy bow wrapped around the whole rewilding motherhood thing. And then, BAM, I take one solo trip for three days and come home not sure if I want to tear through something with my teeth or run into a mosh pit, but whatever I want, it definitely involves taking off halfway around the world and not being stuck in this house making another pot of godforsaken macaroni and cheese.
(Let the reader understand: I am madly in love with my children and I have the best partner imaginable. Love is not the problem here.)
And Amy said the most brilliant thing, you guys. She said that when we are working through something in our lives, we tend to expect it to be a more or less linear process — even if we acknowledge that process to be three steps forward, two steps back. But the truth is, these things work more like a slinky (you know, the kid’s toy) that has been spread out on the ground: the circles stretch out a bit and then they loop back around. But the whole is never disconnected; its all one piece, not disjointed or devoid of rhyme or reason. Amy said that when we make new gains, the slinky loop extends out an inch or so — but then it must be integrated, so it must circle back inward, but not forever. Eventually it goes out again. Then comes back to integrate. Then repeats.
So it looks like the Wolf and me, we have some more befriending to do. Which is fine really, because we’re turning out to be pretty good pen pals. She tells me about all the ways I’ve caged her and I tell her she can’t have free reign over my life; she tells me she’s afraid of being killed and I tell her I’m afraid she’ll kill everything I hold dear. But gradually, we’re moving towards trusting one another, Making space for one another. Gradually we’re moving the slinky circles forward, and there’s not much more I can ask for than that. I imagine there will come a day when I don’t feel quite so feral every blessed waking hour of the day. But if not, I suppose that really, that’s alright too.
More resources for wolfish women:
Nightbitch is one of my very favorite novels. Its weird but paints a portrait of the early years of motherhood that I’ve never seen another book come close to getting right.
The song Mama Werewolf by Brandi Carlile was recommended to me by several friends on Instagram when I posted along this theme a few weeks ago. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard it yet! Love it so.
… here is that Instagam post I mentioned.
And this poem, Sometimes a Wild God, is a poignant reminder that behind all the rewilding of our lives is a God who continually sets us freer and freer.
That’s it for now, peeps. Now go howl at the moon or something; I don’t know, I’m not the boss of you.
And if you or your loved ones are in an area affected by Hurricane Ian, please know that you are in my prayers — and if there is anything I can do to help get you what you need to recover, don’t hesitate to reply to this email!
All my love,