As you might know, I have been thinking about creativity and change and how they intersect. Black Mountain is a place filled with creative people, and so most of the people I know here are “working” on themselves, hoping for change. The area around Asheville is alive with therapists of all kinds, and they are kept busy with our evolving population intent on healing in every way.
While I have always thought that talk therapy is the way to go if you want to grow and change, a friend relies on acupuncture to address the issues she is struggling with. Most recently she had acupuncture work done on the meridian in her body where ancestral pain lives. I, personally, don’t have enough hours in the day to deal with day-to-day worries, let alone to dip into past generations and their enormous struggles back in the Old Country. My friend, though, insists that she was instantly happier when she felt these cranky old ancestral problems release from her gut (or wherever those problems reside.)
Another friend reminds me of myself years ago when I was a young mother, dissatisfied with house work and cleaning up baby spit. Andrea is a wise woman, though, and is reading and exploring ways to be proactive dealing with her stuff. She came in today and taught me a new vocabulary that describes problems I, too, face. The first is “Catastrophizing.” I can be having a great day with weather like today’s and no pressing issues, but I will root around in my head and latch onto a potential problem, i.e. my daughter, who lives in NYC. She is fabulous, strong, intelligent, and focused, but I can spin off into catastrophe if I try to call her and she doesn’t answer the phone. In my mind she is dead and lying on the tracks of the subway, her body run over again and again by the F train. Or Ron is ten minutes later than usual coming home, and I’m sure he is stranded, bleeding out on I-40 and his phone is dead.
The other issue we all deal with is shame. Throughout our lives we have been embarrassed by others because we have done something that society deems shameful. It can be something small like laughing too loudly or using the wrong word to describe something. I am still ashamed that I laughed like an idiot at another faculty member at Country Day whom we called Mr. Malaprop behind his back, because he always tried to use multi-syllable words and usually used them inappropriately. Poor guy. He’s probably afraid to open his mouth these days.
We internalize this shame and hold it in our bodies, and until we go to my friend’s acupuncturist to release it, it can make us sick. Andrea explains that through therapy or even intense self-awareness, we can “Decolonize” ourselves of shame. Then we can focus on “Rewilding,” allowing ourselves to behave freely and naturally.
Without being aware I have been doing so, I have been Rewilding for years. I started officially when I changed my name legally to Wilder: I wanted my life to be wilder and more fun. And it has been. Rewilding starts when we stop letting other people dictate how we should live. When we stop caring what people think about how we look, what we wear, or how we behave.
In my generation parents were even more shaming than today’s parents are. I can still taste the Ivory soap in my mouth from getting my mouth washed out for saying a “bad” word. I can also still recite a litany of behaviors a lady must never do, from crossing our legs to chewing gum. And of course, our goal must be to be a lady. Or a gentleman. But their rules mainly involved holding the door for ladies who were evidently too fragile to open their own doors. Actually, living by that old script, I recently criticized a man for allowing the heavy door he was going through to slam on me while I was carrying a load of antique china after an auction. “What kind of gentleman are you?” I demanded loudly. The guy looked confused and pushed by me. He is evidently Rewilding. Or just a rude bastard.
If you want to Rewild, you might consider losing the injunction against cussing. I get great pleasure out of feeling the words “fuck” and “shit” in my mouth. Just letting the F bomb drop can release pent up anger and keep a person from being arrested for assault. That practice works for me every time. The boys in juvie were experts at Wilding (they didn’t ever learn about shame, so there was no “re” about wilding.) And I eventually gave up being the “good example” for them to follow, and let the cuss words fly. They gave me more respect for being blunt than they did when I was super polite. Lesson learned!
Chifferobe should be your first stop in your efforts towards Rewilding and Decolonizing of shame. Pick up a set of Sloane Wilson’s Qwerky Dirt cuss word pottery and display it proudly. Sloane describes a proper elderly lady who bought a set of cuss word dishes at The Big Crafty to use at her Bridge Club. The lady was eager to see who first found the cuss words written on the plates. It’s good for your health! Let your freak flag fly.