Wild is the girl who used to wander the woods with imaginary friends, finding sanctuary from emotional abuse and addiction among the trees and in the water. The teen mom who escaped to the city every few months to be free with her friends, losing herself to the music at raves and adventuring through altered states of consciousness. The young witch who danced and sang by candlelight in ritual, the smoke of frankincense and myrrh circling her body, ecstatically connected to All That Is. The mountain woman who lived in a “barn” surrounded by redwoods on the side of a mountain and put an ax through her fingernail trying to chop up kindling for the wood stove to keep her daughter warm. The erotic party hostess who artfully created spaces for hundreds of community members to dance and play without the inhibitions of the “real world.”
And now, the magic maker coming back to life after many years of slumber. The daily burning of holy basil and rose as an offering to my ancestors and my creativity. Fingers in the soil of my little container garden; dahlias, begonias, jalepenos and herbs thriving with my care. The soft grey cat who lives on the downstairs porch that we’re going to adopt as soon as we get him to the vet. The community garden that grows at the end of our building, tended by a homeless man for many years. The ducks and geese that wander the fields and dive under the surface of the creek for food. The 50+ breeds of flowers that grow within blocks of my apartment building. And the crazy love and ravenous passion I have for my new husband. Five years together, including a trip to hell and back, and our connection vibrates with more magic than ever.
Wild means being open to what is real about life – the deep, holy, magical connection of everything to everything, the emotions that ebb and flow in this ridiculously beautiful and brutal experience of being human, the expression of all the quirkiness and craziness that makes each of us so fucking spectacular. Being wild is letting loose, letting go, being real in all that is natural to you – talking to the birds, howling at the moon, shaking your hips at the person watching you across the dance floor, growling as your lover brings you to the edge.
Being wild is Being, without all the trappings of insecurity, judgment, and shame.
#wildheartwriters – for the next 30 days I am participating in a writer’s circle and will be posting my responses to the daily questions here on the blog as well
Because I had to initiate myself as an artist through the blood, then and now.
Because I am a woman who bleeds.
Because I am a mother whose blood became life. Because my blood is their blood and their blood is mine.
Because my heart walks outside of my body in a dangerous world.
Because my blood cannot and will not be ignored. She sings, she screams, she demands a voice yet has no words.
Because transgression is my language and disruption is my purpose.
*Work in progress: something about the heart of a (birth) Mother vulnerable to the world. Clay and menstrual blood.
It is not freedom or privilege to live in fear.
It is a confusing and complex experience to be the white mama of two mixed black and white young adult children in our country today. I am trying to figure out where I fit in in this culture war over skin color when I am white *and* I spent 23 years of my life nurturing two children of color with my blood, sweat, and tears. I would never ever say “not all white people,” that is not my stance. I am awake to and actively learning more about the atrocities of institutionalized racism. I will not diminish the realities of being a person of color in this country. I know we need to tear the whole system apart and build a new system where oppressed and marginalized people no longer exist. I know the pendulum needs to swing to voices of color. As I listened to Jesse Williams’ BET awards speech I thought “Hell Yes” with every line. When my daughter posted this morning that Beyonce’s Freedom performance gave her life, I thought “Yes, thank you for the powerful voices and stories of black women silenced for too long.” I am immensely grateful for these disruptive and brave black voices speaking on behalf of my babies and the community they are connected to by blood and history.
I just don’t know the best way to use my own voice as the white mama of children of color, whom I am connected to by blood and history. I desire to be respectful, and I desire the respectful recognition that myself and many other white mamas live in the same fear as mothers of color (there are people on both sides of the war who see our mixed children as an abomination), just as I am the mother of two queer children and fear for their lives for that reason, too (though I am also queer so that’s a whole other situation). I haven’t been able to write about it yet because Orlando frightened me so deeply, in a way I have not experienced before. I am scared for my brown skinned queer babies. My whiteness will not protect them. And I cannot, nor would I try to hide the target that queerness puts on their back. I taught them to wear their identities with pride.
I don’t believe respectful silence is the way because there are many mamas out there like me – black, white, and every other color – probably also wondering where we fit when we have already embraced the “other” by bringing them into our own body and giving them life. There really is no deeper embrace than that. Nor any more apparent fact against the concept of otherness. The fact that anyone still believes there is an “other” in 2016 boggles my mind. Whether you’re into science or religion (the core teachings, not the modern interpretations), both say we are the same more than we are different. There is no other. And yet our culture operates under the assumption of an other – that woman is other than man, black is other than white, queer is other than straight – and may kill my children based on this false assumption.
So I start using my voice here and now, perhaps imperfectly, by saying I am a both white woman and an angry, scared mama who is on the battlefield fighting for racial justice. I am a fierce ally for people of color, fighting on the side all of the mamas of children of color who know our culture has to do better by our babies. It is not freedom or privilege to live in fear, not for our children, and not for our mama hearts that all bleed red when they are shattered with the loss of a child.