The other night, I was watching the episode of Friends where Rachel goes out on the town for the first time since giving birth. She’s wearing a dress that shows off her (frankly amazing) cleavage, and Ross (of course) takes issue with it. When she’s at the bar and a couple of guys come up to her to chat and eventually ask her for her number, she says she didn’t go out to meet guys, she just wanted to go hang out with her friend and get a drink. I found myself thinking Why did you dress like that if you didn’t want guys’ attention? That is my taming.
Taming is something Glennon Doyle defines in Untamed as the conditioning we receive starting in childhood to make us more acceptable in the eyes of society. She points out that at one point, when we were kids, we were wild, and dreamt of uninhibited futures and expressed emotions freely. But then, society began feeding us its messages that tamed us and put us in cages, and we learned that we were not supposed to be wild. Glennon (yeah, I’m using her first name, because I see her as part of my sisterhood more so than an untouchable author) has opened millions of readers’ eyes by calling bullshit on capitalism and the patriarchy, and teaches us in Untamed how to return to our wild.
I remember one of my first tamings. It involved the school dress code. Girls were not allowed to dress too “provocatively” (how can we dress provocatively at six fucking years old, I ask you?!) because it was too distracting to our male peers. And with no similar rules warning boys not to distract the girls in their class, us girls grew into women who were taught that men can’t help but objectify us. This leads to the body-shaming and blaming of women that I found myself (a 26 year old female feminist) doing to a television character.
This doesn’t mean I’m a bad feminist. This means that I’m still learning how to fight the toxic training and taming I’ve received for most of my life. When that training starts in childhood, unlearning it as an adult is hard work! What’s exciting is that I immediately recognized my Rachel-shaming thought as my taming. A year ago, I think I would have noticed myself making such a comment, but not been curious about it.
I’m equal parts excited and scared to rekindle the wild inside me. But I’m insanely curious what my life can look like outside of the cage I’ve been tamed into.
Some days can feel like I’ve abandoned my cage entirely, when the next feels like I’m right back inside with the door firmly closed. Other days I’m sitting on the edge, questioning whether to leave the cage that’s been my home for ~20 years, or leap into the wild unknown. Being wild is scary, especially in a world that does not accept or appreciate wilderness. But I do know that I’m curious about the wilderness enough to explore.
I’m still not sure if I’m one of those people who believes in astrology or the spirituality of lunar cycles, but I decided to use today’s new moon as an opportunity for change.
I need to reset. A depressive episode a couple of weeks ago left me in some bad habits, and shame has lingered enough to wreak some havoc on my thoughts and behaviors. I want to set some new intentions. I thought it was pretty exciting that I had these thoughts on the same day of a new moon…for those who don’t know, new moons symbolize new beginnings.
I figured I could use the blog as a means of accountability, to hopefully manifest new intentions and habits. So, here we go…
~I love you
~I am not my feelings
~My breath is my anchor, my anchor is my breath
~I am capable
~Regular sleep schedule; get up/go to bed earlier
~Regular yoga practice; same time every other day
~Daily meditation practice
I’m ready for this change, I’m welcoming it. We’ve got a President-elect who gives me hope, and I have professional and personal opportunities on the horizon. Let’s go, New Moon. I’m ready.
I feel like I can breathe again.
It didn’t sink in until about an hour ago that I actually have hope again. I haven’t felt hope like this in a long time. I can finally imagine a world in which I can safely leave my house, see my friends, run to the store, hug my parents. That is no small thing.
Not to mention, we have a woman of color as our Vice President. Honestly, this was the highlight of this win for me. Not so much Joe, but Kamala. I used to call her office when I lived in CA, when I was afraid of the then-newly elected administration. Hearing her speak tonight made me proud. I think the women of this country, and the parents of daughters across our nation shone a little brighter tonight. Representation is powerful. Hope is powerful.
This weekend, I am celebrating. On Monday, I get back to work to figure out how to be a better American, a better woman, a better human. But for now, I can relax. I can exhale. We did it.
wandering aimless for years
i never thought i’d find a home
in any one place
will i ever settle, find peace?
then this year i learned
I am my home
beneath my skin
wherever my heart beats
is where i hang my hat
i’ve made it comfortable in here
my resting place
i am my home base
my breath is the key
that opens my front door
so long as i inhale, exhale
i can enter here
a space furnished by trust and love
mind and body knit together
but when depression rings the doorbell
i feel its pull and long to leave
the home i’ve made out of body
of flesh, blood, bone
fraying edges of body and mind
this cunning mood tricks and deceives
and if i’m not careful
he will carry me out out out
lying through his devil smile that says
there is no home after all
you’ll have to keep wandering
lost, alone, forever
soon i forget my breath’s ability
to anchor me in what i’ve created
here within myself
and i wander through the ether a while
until depression looms no more
and my inhale, exhale returns me
to my heart, my hearth, my home