The howl sulking in my throat
I’ve been told that there’s a howl in me that might shatter glass. At Burning Man, everyone howls at sunset. Everyone except me; apparently my howl is sulking in my throat. Since the burn this year, two other leaders in my community that I respect have reflected the same to me: “Where is your howl for this world? What is it that you stand for? What is it that you care about so much that tears roll from your eyes and blood curling screams come out of your throat? What is it that you’ll create in this lifetime that will outlast you? Your life has been the perfect set-up… I imagine that you have a lot to howl about.” Sigh. I know they are right. I don’t know where the howl is yet. But I do know that whenever I can’t figure out how to move forward in my life, the best thing to do is just move anyway. If I can’t yet howl, well then, I’ll write, willy nilly, and see what comes out.
It really has come to this. Denial, who used to be my comforting ally, has left me here in the dust. The water I used to swim in isn’t breathable anymore. Moving forward looks impossible; every option dangerous. Worse yet, I know I’ll wither and die if I go back to how I was used to being. Home? Comfort? Certainty? What are those? Right now, as I sit with my mask off, my hair down with blood, sweat, tears and mud caked on my clothes, I have two choices. I can choose the bitterness of being on this planet as the walking dead. Or I can follow this urge to howl that will not leave me alone anymore. And so it is. I choose to be loud. The howl, yet still silent, looks to be winning, just barely.
Where do howls come from? I hear they are a heart song. Some say they come from our wounds. Blech. “Heart song” is way too sappy and I have too many wounds to count. But, I do feel a sweet spot, a raw-nerve, and a fantastical story, deep within my flesh, that’s aching to be touched and let out. It, I, we… might rip me to shreds on the way out. I should be terrified. Instead I feel relieved.
These lines, this howl, may, or may not, make a difference for lives that matter. But, I’m writing mostly because I want to create something. Correction, I need to create. But it’s true, I also write because I can’t help but want to make contact with others out there. I am not a lone wolf and never was. So, this is a first story among stories especially written for the change-makers, the warriors, the misunderstood, the bleeding hearts, the bitches, the mama-bears, the crazy ones, the Alice in Wonderlands, the wounded, the twisted, the charlatans, the beautiful ones, the truth tellers, the globetrotters, the pain-in-the-asses, the wild dancers, the passionate lovers, the ladies in red, the inventors at the edge, the high achievers, the threatening ones, the intense ones, the lonely ones, the so-called “burdensome”, the ones who struggle to find their place, and the crucified.
A genius dear friend of mine likes to say, that the best place to start is to jump into the middle of things. We are all in the middle of a collective epic story. There may be no beginnings and there may be no ends. So, this blog, helter-skelter, will begin with an introduction to a precocious young lady not at the beginning of her life nor at the end.
I am 8 years old. That was the year that I found my first female mentor; the first woman who really saw me for my potential and gently began to nurture it out of me. And it was also the year I became obsessed with Alice in Wonderland. When Alice was 7.5 she learned from the Red Queen that life is only a game of chess. That in order to go “home”, she must cunningly go from being a pawn to a queen. She must do whatever it takes. She must use all her powers. Alice was my curious, compassionate, smart, sharp-tongued best friend. But this is where my howl starts to twitch: if Alice were just a little bit older, she might have been called a pretentious bitch and could have learned that it’s much safer to be small.
When I was 8, I told people that I would, no doubt, grow up to be an author. Bitterness, again wants to rear it’s head as I write these lines. No, I am not an author. But, I have learned to be an author of my own creative outlets. This is something I learned out of necessity. “Boredom”, or rather being undervalued, under-stimulated and not finding useful ways to access my abundant creative energy in society, sometimes leaves me severely depressed. So, if an avenue for expression doesn’t exist, I do my best to create one. Be it teaching, studying, traveling to the ends of the earth, dancing, problem solving, fighting for justice, writing, loving… the alternative is and has always been hopeless, flavorless “living”.
My soul gets sick when it can’t express itself and make a difference in the world. For me, soul sickness always manifests into physical sickness and the consequences are ugly. If I’m soul sick, physically sick and surrounded by people who don’t understand me, my life is in danger. My howl wonders what the hell it’s doing here on this planet. I know that place well. I have often wondered how many more like me are out there.
This year I turned 40. I am no-where near where I thought I would be when I was 8. I assumed that my potential would manifest into something impactful and worthwhile by this time in my life. I’ve been on many extraordinary adventures. I can wear so many hats it looks and feels crazy. I have worked my ass off in many ultra-challenging fields and become fluent in all of them. But it feels like I’ve gotten nowhere. I still don’t quite know what I’m going to be when I grow up.
At the same time, Life has delivered me a funny cuisine of I-don’t-know-the-fuck-what. I’ve lost many people, had a few near death experiences myself, watched many others fall by the way-side and even others sometimes take their own lives. I’ve been keeping myself from drowning for a very long time all the while learning to swim like a super-hero. I have picked myself up, or been picked up, out of ashes several times already. You could say that I am the classic Survivor with a capital S, but, then, I’m sick of that story, too.
It has taken me this long to even remember that 8 year old who wanted to howl in writing.
My intention in starting this blog is to lay all the rasa, all the flavor, of my journeys out on these pages, however it may come undone. It may be more like vomit on a page than prose on exquisite stationery. It may sound like an 8 year old is whining. And it may sound like an old lady is sharing wisdom. I expect my readers may be triggered. I expect there may be cheer-leadering and also crucifixion, maybe all at once. Honestly, at this point in my life, I’m very used to the ways that I scare people. It helps that I’ll be writing behind a screen and not have to face every arrow that may come my way. And at the same time, I fully intend to own that this whole damn blog is MY experience.
Today, I dive off this cliff into the ocean of the unknown with my eyes wide open and my nose not plugged. This big blue ocean, as dark and unexplored as she is, I trust, will hold me, just as the sky is infinitely reminding me that I, yes even little me, I am worthy of showing up in full color, full intensity, on this planet in this life.
To be continued…