writeonthebay

tending the wild woman

In friends, In Other Words, Writing on November 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm

My friend Heather recently made a remark that reminded me of a book I read in college, Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I had came across the book in my work study job, cataloging the entire library collection of the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women. The title intrigued me. Even the author’s name was interesting.

I was a biology major working in the home of the women’s studies department. I never took a women’s studies class. I had only a cursory knowledge of the history of feminism. But I read this book. Devoured it really. It served as a pivotal text for me, giving me a primal understanding of the wildness I saw in myself. It put into perspective the Wild Women’s place in the world and my life.

The Wild Woman part of me has faded since then. She’s been packed away with marriage and kids and mortgages and jobs (nothing like working in Washington, DC to shush the Wild Woman). But she’s been there, and she’s ready for a little more attention.

I see the Wild Woman in all of my girlfriends. That’s probably why I love them so fiercely. I don’t see her in all women. Some women are so meek I don’t seem to have much patience with them, and that may be why.

Heather is good at reminding me to embrace the wildness. She’d been running with coyotes — literally — in the trails of Park City, Utah, and wondered aloud why women are often compared to wild things like coyotes in a derogatory way. I recommended she read Estes. Her husband Chris got a little worried when he saw the book on her nightstand. But our husbands already know that we are not to be tamed. And whether they admit it or not, they are completely smitten with our wildness and wouldn’t have us any other way.

I started reading the book again myself, and I’ve been thinking about wildness and womanliness and what it is I want to do with this life of mine, including this here little blog. It’s a work in progress of course, but one thing I know I want to do is honor the Wild Woman. I want to protect her from the demands of soccer momness. I want to give her space and freedom to write and create without worrying about critical eyes and clucking tongues.

So you’ll see some changes around here — a new look, a streamlined list of links, some wild words. Stick around if you dare.

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