When I Dreamed of My Soul as an Owl

Kelli Lynn Grey
Nov 1, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Lenka Novotná from Pixabay.

The house was dark, and I was afraid.

Laughter. Singing. Snarling.

Snapping wood.

Shattering glass.

And heaving footprints.

A band of shadows in the shape of men

forced their way into my home.

I stood up and said LEAVE.

Then they were gone,

and I was alone,

and she was there,

older than I’d see her later —

wrinkled skin,

long black and silver hair,

owl wings wrapped around her,

then wrapped around me.

Holding me with her arms and wings,

she asked:

Do you want to live?

YES.

YES.

YES.

I spoke through tears with quiet strength

each time she spoke the question.

She held me warmly, closer to her heart.

My tears were her tears for we were the same.

Days before I dreamed this

(nearly 10 years back from the day I’m writing this now),

I had been lying across the railroad tracks

outside my home.

I wanted to die, but I chose to live.

For me, making that choice also meant

denying my childhood God,

denying my family’s patriarchs,

and denying that my marriage was meant

for everlasting love.

It also meant

healing on my own terms,

defining morality for myself,

and embodying my soul.

Art has helped me.

Poetry has helped me.

Sweat lodges have helped me.

A wreck has helped me.

Jail has helped me.

Cancer has helped me.

Motherhood,

Marijuana,

Ayahuasca,

Denver, Colorado,

Atlanta, Georgia,

and the women of Soul Fire,

who gather in July

in Marshall, North Carolina

have helped me too.

Yesterday, the Soul Fire sisters and I

lingered after lunch in the lodge.

We were talking politics,

and science,

and philosophy,

as though we were goddesses

planning an ideal world,

where the boundaries between

mandate and choice,

as well as objective and subjective,

were clear.

Among the many things we mused about

was why people act so often

against their own best interests.

Some of our conclusions:

Because they do not want to be wrong.

Because they are afraid.

Because they are uneducated.

Because value is ultimately relative

and no one’s the same —

making one person’s best interest

different from another’s.

I agree with all this.

I also think we left one major reason

mostly unexplored.

That reason is:

Because they are human.

We all are human.

And self-sabotage is a human birthright.

What blocks my connection to MY soul,

preventing me from living my own “best life”?

The vague fear I’ll be regarded as insane

coupled with a much stronger belief

that I simply don’t deserve good things.

The second part of that idea isn’t rooted in abstraction.

It’s rooted in the reality that authority,

after authority,

have re-enforced this as truth.

And, even though, other authorities

have rebuked my worthlessness and lifted me up,

my human, animal mind

remembers trauma more clearly

than love.

We all do.

WE, as our individual selves, AND,

WE, as cultures and subcultures,

recovering from a still-unfolding experience

of oppression, suppression and abuse.

Within my bedroom at home,

there’s a collage, pieced together

from other collages, made of clippings

ripped from the pages

of my favorite magazines.

The centerpiece comes from one I made

near Easter 2016,

just before my 5-year-old son shattered

the bone around his left eye.

It says:

Here is the world.

Beautiful and terrible things will happen.

Do not be afraid.

Today, my Soul says:

Yes. This is true.

Keep going.

Trust the process.

Be brave.

Thank you.

BAMF Mag

To be BAMF is to be “bad” AF by showing up daily to meet your evolving self exactly where you are. Featuring poems & essays by Kelli Lynn Grey, BAMF MAG is a companion to the imprint BAMF Books. Both explore one woman’s approach to a BAMF life.

Kelli Lynn Grey

Written by

My words, CBD, a magic shop & instrument sales support me as I navigate life with cancer, serve a non-profit & raise unique kids in GA. www.kellilynngrey.com

BAMF Mag

BAMF Mag

To be BAMF is to be “bad” AF by showing up daily to meet your evolving self exactly where you are. Featuring poems & essays by Kelli Lynn Grey, BAMF MAG is a companion to the imprint BAMF Books. Both explore one woman’s approach to a BAMF life.

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