(First Published on Rebelle Society, January 23, 2015, Amy Jones)
I scrolled through my Instagram feed, trying to pass the time. What did I do before I had this? I’d become obsessed with checking it every couple of hours, as if some sacred message might come through. If I posted my own picture, it became worse; I’d have to check my gram every 30 minutes in hopes that someone would validate my existence. The more likes I got, the better I felt. Instant ego-booster. Like a shot of alcohol that strips away the inhibitions and lets you live footloose and fancy free- until you’re hurling in the toilet and wondering whom you slept with last night. “Oh God, please say I didn’t catch anything!”
I was on a mission to get more followers than so-and-so and you-know-who, after all, what did they have that I didn’t? Half the things they were posting I already had; all the things that fall under the oh-so-over-used “boho, gypsy, vintage, hippie, blah, blah, blah!” movement. The pictures people were posting were all starting to look the same; a Free People ad on every feed. But this isn’t me. I will never be that girl or that woman. You know the one I’m talking about- the one that looks the opposite of me. She is tall with long hair and she has breasts that fit into those perfectly beautiful dainty bras that come in every shade of the color spectrum- all the colors that my bras never seem to be available in. In my mind, she only eats fruit and drinks herbal tea and plays in the forest, while wearing all these amazing fairy clothes that seem to adorn her in such a way that she looks like a painting from “The Lady of Shallot.”
Now I see that I’m a wreck, as I come up for air from my feed just long enough to gulp a lung full and swing my head back down to go under again. I stop on a picture of a woman wrapped in a native blanket and draped in enough turquoise jewelry to fund a pueblo school for a year. It triggers something in me and I start to drift into a memory of a series of dreams I had as a teenager…
- Move to San Francisco with Best Friend
- Open up a vintage shop called “Funkdafied Monkey, and
- Sing in a band in coffee shops. No fame, just fun. Just to get away from L.A. and my family.
None of this happened.
“I will not have any starving artists living in my attic!” says a woman’s voice in my memory… which woman was that? Grandma? Mum?
Needless to say, I found myself becoming obsessed and jealous of all the other women I was sure were following their dreams. I craved their power and their dedication. I became insecure around them, shriveling in their confidence and beauty. I’m good with kids, I would tell myself, and hear my mother’s voice in the background, “you’re so good with kids, work with kids!”
So I did.
And then I got so burnt out on being powerless over someone else’s DNA, that I stopped even wanting to have my own children. The constant demand of “give me, give me, give me… more, more, MORE!” from the parents is enough to send every nanny to get her tubes tied or never have sex again.
Neither of those choices were an option for me, so I walked away.
That was so long ago…
I shake off my thoughts and come back to the picture.
I stare at it for a long time.
And then the Voice speaks to me. I hear it clear as day.
“This is not for you.”
Gentle, yet firm, I start to understand.
I see myself back in the desert of New Mexico. I am walking in the arroyo with Angel, my roommates husky. We would spend hours here together during the time I lived with her. We mostly walked in silence, yet the communication and bond between us was beyond anything I had ever experienced before. Angel had become my closest companion.
I took her everywhere with me, and soon, I found myself preferring her company before humans. I started to notice that when I was sick, she stayed by my side; when I was lonely, she demanded my attention, as if to keep my heart from going dim. She always seemed to know just what my spirit needed.
My memory flashes to a time when we were alone for a winter weekend. It had snowed earlier that day, so the ground was covered in a beautiful white blanket. There was a full moon, yet I had paid little attention to this, until it was time to go to bed. I lay there, cuddled up, almost in dreamland, when a very eager and antsy dog stirred me.
“Lay down, Angel. It’s time for bed,” I tell her. She lies back down for a few seconds before she’s up and at it again. This routine continues for a few minutes before I realize she probably has to go to the bathroom. I get up and head to the front door. She is almost leaping now, and I am laughing at how much she has to pee.
I bundle up and open the door for her. A blast of icy air encompasses my face and I am taken aback by how cold it is. I blink for a second and regain my bearings. I look at Angel, who is now in the street, staring at me.
“Go on,” I say. “Go pee. It’s freezing out here.” She continues to look at me, as if I’m crazy for rushing her, and waits a bit longer.
“Go!” I holler.
As if awaiting my permission, she takes off full speed toward the arroyo. She is gone in the bat of an eye. I start to chase her across the street, shouting her name. The moon is so bright; I can see her ahead of me. We are now both running, as fast as we can, under a full moon, and I am laughing and hollering.
“ANGEL!!!!!!! COME BACK!!!!!! WAIT FOR MEEEEEEEEE!”
She stops dead in her tracks, and I finally catch up to her. I am now gasping for air. She looks at me and then looks up to the moon. She lets out the biggest howl a wolf has ever known. “AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
And in between my laughter and gasping, I realize the magnitude of what I have just experienced, and I start to cry. I wrap my arms around her and she lays her head in my shoulder. I am sobbing now because I know she understands. I jump back and forth, a hundred times, between “I’m sorry” and “Thank you” before I start to settle and realize I am speaking to my Self. She waits patiently because she knows it is how every Woman and every Wild has been feeling for a VERY LONG TIME. It has been far too long since we have run free.
Just like that, I am back at the picture of the woman in turquoise. Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I remember that Angel is now dead. She changed worlds a few years ago, yet I feel her presence stronger than ever. I glance at the picture again and suddenly, I see the woman as me. I see the years of sadness and strength etched into her face. I see the joy and the grief of love as it emanates from her chest. Her heart scars are ours to share; my triumphs are hers as well. And everything that has been sung from a Woman’s heart into Creation, whether silently or loudly, whether gently or harshly, belongs to me. All of me.
And now, my simple life, in all its glory and madness, seems far more bountiful and beautiful than I had ever imagined.