I saw a quote the other day that kind of rocked my world:
“There is no competition among wild women. They are too damn wild to be caught in a tiny space of envy. Instead, they dance together and allow the good to flow abundantly to them.”
Contrast this with the story of the lobsters I heard a while back:
A chef and her sous-chef are boiling lobsters to serve to their customers that night, and the sous-chef says, “Don’t we need a lid on that pot? The lobsters will crawl out if it’s open like that.”
The chef replies, “Nah, if one tries to escape, the others drag it back down. No lid required.”
If you look at these two stories side by side, they whisper some important questions…
How do I want to live?
How do I become less lobster, more wild woman?
When you frame it like that, the path of the wild woman seems pretty compelling. But why do wild women seem so rare? Why are they always just a small segment of our friend populations? And what does it really mean to be wild?
When I say ‘wild’ I don’t necessarily mean the kind of wildness that leads to bad choices and severe hangovers. That’s the cheap, knock-off version of wildness. (Although, who among us hasn’t been there?) I’m talking about real wildness that allows a perfectly average woman (Ed: no such thing) in her middle years to strike out and do something brand new in her life. I’m talking about boldness, creativity, and a balls-out strategy to follow her own music—whatever that music is.
I began to really think about who in my life reveals that kind of wildness, not by virtue of her ability to swear like a truck driver (guilty), but because of her ability to do the unexpected, the unsafe.
I thought of my friend Erica, who after many years in corporate America started her own personal training/nutrition business, called Green Goddess Studio. So badass.
I thought of my friend Ellen, who decided to give stage acting a try. She and a group of friends decided to write and stage a performance of Alice in La La Land, loosely based on Alice in Wonderland. Ellen said she was scared out of her mind, but had the time of her life. Seeing her in full stage makeup in photos on Facebook filled me with such joy, it almost felt like I was the one performing.
Or how about my posse of friends who competed in our school’s Amazing Race, dressing up in crazy costumes and performing various feats of strength and insanity over the course of an afternoon. Just because. I watched my friend Stacey balance a bucket of water on her head while traversing a patch of grass in swimming fins, looking like a complete nut job, and having the time of her life. My other friend Laurie did laps in a giant kayak inside of a backyard swimming pool. There was no booze involved that I could see. This was just wild women doing their thang.
My own inner wildness gets let out every morning when I take 30 minutes on the porch in the early dawn hours to write. Or when I make it to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class and grapple with a bunch of dudes and a few totally badass dudettes. It’s not like I’m any good at it—I barely make it past the 5 second mark. But it’s thrilling, and I leave feeling alive and electric.
Wild women have something in common—wild women are working on that set of emotional/spiritual/psychological muscles that allow them to burn less and less energy seeking approval from the outside world. Wild women are constantly learning new ways to tune out the ‘shoulds’ and tune in to the ‘what ifs?’ Wild women know how to balance the grounded-ness required to be good mothers, partners, friends, and professionals with the untethered energy required to follow their curiosity and their bliss.
Wild women get butterflies more often than the rest of us. If Rob Bell is right when he says: “…getting butterflies is just your body’s way of telling you you’re still in the game,” then these ladies are most definitely still in the game.
I think our culture wants us to believe that wild woman = dangerous, irresponsible woman. But I think what’s actually true is that wild woman = whole, integrated woman.
So, as we live in the practical, the here-and-now… as we face the bone-crunching process of re-entry into a new school year… as we go to the grocery store, pack lunches, and answer emails at 10pm, let’s also schedule time to honor that wild woman inside of each of us. That inner Stevie Nicks who so badly wants to prance around in flowy scarves and grab that microphone. As Stevie says, “Lightnin’ strikes, maybe once, maybe twice… it all comes down to you.”
So do it now. This second. Open your calendar. Schedule time for wildness. Even if it means doodling or sketching something crazy in a notebook for 10 minutes while you’re waiting for your next meeting. It could involve cranking up the music and getting your grind on for a few minutes. It might just require you to do a cartwheel on your front lawn before going into the house. Your will leave your children, neighbors, or spouse speechless. And you will find you have a great big grin on your beautiful face.