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On Wildness and Weeds
Happy Tuesday, F-Worders!
This week, on THE F WORD: wildness, unleashing your inner toddler, and WHY WE JUST SHOULDN’T WEAR SHOES.
Thank you, thank you, to everyone who is still hanging on for dear life to this WILD newsletter journey. And to those of you who are new subscribers, thank you for being here! Tune in every Tuesday for musings on Failure, on Life, on this WILD ride we are all on together.
The word “No”…
… can be a feral one, one that separates you from the pack. “No” means that you are not following where others are going, “No” means that you are removing yourself, “No” means that you are taking up space. “No” is a dividing line. “No” is a rejection, a separation, a distinct breaking.
We live in a culture of “yes’s”, and it is in this way that our wildness capitulates.
What other ways do we tame ourselves? What other ways are we tamed by the world, by the way things are? Do we lose that voice inside of us—that calling to roam? Society demands compliance in order to function successfully (or what it deems to be success), but if we are social creatures meant to learn this type of behavioral compliance, as we lived and survived in small groups for the entirety of our species’ evolution, how is it that we are born as blank slates? How is it that we are not, actually, hardwired to abide by any sort of set and distinct behavior? Why do we possess the qualities of individualism in the first place, if we need to live by social rules in order to survive? Why do we have the ability to abide by different social expectations in different settings? How can we have the power to perceive all of this, the unspoken agreements of relationship?
Social rules are not without significance, but they are arbitrary. While SOCIETY and THE WAY THINGS ARE can seem like an impermeable, immovable power with totalitarian control, all we have to remember is that nothing says these rules are rooted in anything that makes them “true” in a black and white sense. Just step a few paces to the left and remove yourself from the equation, in so much that you can see the boundaries of it. When you are in a forest, the forest can seem like the entire world. But once you are out of it, you can see that it, like everything else, merely has certain boundaries.
Go to a different part of the world, and while “social rules” still dominate each society, these rules differ wherever you go. The ways we move and exist in this world, or, rather, the ways we are ALLOWED to move and exist in this world, are largely determined by geography and chronology. We have no control over the place and time we are born into, and therefore the place and time we are born are arbitrary. Therefore, the social rules that dictate our lives in these places and times are also arbitrary. Rules can be important for survival, but there is nothing, at all, that even says our own survival comes down to ethics and morality.
And yet, we are threatened by this ambiguity. We are threatened by those who think differently, or by those who seek to live their lives outside of the boundaries that have been set for us.
Proof of the natural state of things, proof of our WILDNESS, is in this blank slate of being. We are BORN wild. We are the imprint of ourselves; a naked, wriggling, screaming thing untouched and untethered. We are alone.
We spend our formative years on this earth with our wildness being stamped out of us, shamed away, punished for existing in its natural state. In this context, the wild “No” turns into a form of submission—a child refuses to put her shoes on, her resounding “NO!” heard round the world in its ferocity. We are similarly taught, as parents, that our job is to say “NO” to that NO, to colonize it, to make it conform to OUR way, to THE RIGHT WAY OF BEING. “NO you will not act like that.” “NO you will not make your own decisions.”
YOU NEED SHOES, we tell them. I see your “no” and I raise you a “no”; and I’m the house so I WIN ALL TIES. I win, you lose. I will grab your body and force those shoes on your little feet. Want to play again?
And the child learns that their natural inclinations and proclivities are wrong, that they, themselves, in their wildness, must conform to survive.
Yes, shoes are important (sometimes). But so is the art of the “no.” The individualism that kids possess so naturally, so beautifully, is completely stamped out of them in a thousand different ways and in a thousand different settings by a thousand different people. Their wildness is tamed, shamed, made small by eye rolls and scoffs and comments from strangers. Their wildness is tamed and shamed and made small by people who profess to love them for who they are.
So what does it mean to be wild in this current time and place that we find ourselves? Can we ever get back to that place of true wildness?
What does it mean to be wild?
Sometimes wildness is saying “yes,” and sometimes it is saying “no.”
Wildness is loudness, wildness is silence.
Wildness is not being contrary for contradiction’s sake, but is in acting on your own intuition despite the voices of others.
Wildness is listening, at any time, in any place, with any person, when that wild voice inside you says:
THIS DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT.
Wildness is learning (or rather, rediscovering) HOW to even identify that voice when it arises. This is no menial task when our entire lives have been formed by an effort to choke out the wild. Our weeds have been grabbed with both hands of the world and pulled out by the roots.
(But the thing about weeds? They always seem to grow back.)
(WEEDS ARE GOOD! Weeds are vital to the ecosystem! Weeds can RESTORE DEGRADED SOIL! They are only seen as “undesirable” in areas of human control…and this is why they are so friggin WILD, man.)
Our voices have been told to “hush” for so long that we lose touch with them, but they are always there. Our voices, our wild, can never leave us, because it is as much a part of us as our own souls, our own bones.
(SIDE NOTE: Some people will try to spray Roundup on the weeds of your WILDNESS. They will naysay, tell you you’re wrong, tell you you’re TOO LOUD, TOO OPINIONATED, TOO MUCH. Do not let these people ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR GARDEN. These people have planted astroturf in their own souls.)
Once we know how to even hear this voice, wildness is then learning how act upon that voice, to listen to what it is telling us, and to make decisions accordingly.
Wildness is living authentically. That means being fully aware of your self in a world that tries to take you from yourself.
Wildness is the feral call of doing the impossible thing.
Wildness is blackened nails, caked with dirt, uncombed hair, unshaved legs, period blood, hormones raging, grays growing, wrinkles deepening: wildness is allowing yourself to grow older. In all senses, wildness is not fighting change, but accepting it. Accepting change is the most wild thing we can do.
Wildness is letting the mushrooms grow. The weeds. The moss.
Wildness is inner strength, nakedness, ferocity.
Wildness is leaving behind what doesn’t support or suit you.
Wildness is knowing when something is no longer of value, and doing the hard thing of letting it go.
Wildness is the pure embodiment of being.
It is not selfish to be wild, it is a homecoming.
A manifestation of everything you are, and everything you will be.
Wildness is sorrow. Wildness is hope. Wildness is joy; and is feeling everything all at once. It is not being afraid to face the truth. It is being afraid, and doing it anyway.
Being alive is wild, although we spend our entire lives being told it is not.
And if there is any sign that wildness is the truest form of being, it is that we are born this way. Our wildness is the closest thing to “right” that there is, because how we are born—wild, uninfluenced, raw—is the most natural thing there is.
The only right thing is to embrace the wild.
What is your wild voice telling you?
Psssst! Hey! You, wild thang! If this newsletter means something to you, could you share it with someone? Someone wild? Someone who deserves to remember they are wild? Much like those old PBS ads, this publication is supported by VIEWERS LIKE YOU! Thanks for reading.
Until next week,
Love, light, and LET THOSE WEEDS GROW,
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