Continuing my week long escape, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I came across this book called “Women Who Run with the Wolves – Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. While it has nothing to do with child abuse, it has a lot to do with reclaiming our femininity. I have a real problem with my feminine side and my sexual nature. In my house, sex was a bad word. You didn’t talk about it and you didn’t have it. I was taught by words and actions that being a girl was being a second class human. The best that you could do was hide as much of the part of you that was feminine. These beliefs lead to a hatred of that part of myself.
Anyway I was flipping through the book, it is like 500 pages long, and I came across the chapter on Heat: Retrieving a Sacred Sexuality. It talks about the wild part of our nature that responds to stimulus that involves the senses: music, movement, food, drink, peace, quiet, beauty and darkness. That part of us that has heat, and not heat as in “oh, baby I’m really hot for you, let’s have sex” but that part of us that lets us act as we see fit, the part of us that has a passion of living and all that we can do. It’s the state of intense sensory awareness that not only includes our sexuality but every other part of us. This wild part of our nature is a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. Although we are born with these gifts, society has been attempting to “civilize” us, making us into over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative and trapped beings.
The chapter goes on to talk about women and laughter and the constants that society puts on what they consider unladylike. As I was reading I realized that there are so many things that I avoid doing because I’ve been told that it is unladylike behavior. She goes on to talk about how we throttle ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to breathe/laugh in a situation that doing so comes off as unladylike. I am constantly catching myself when I laugh –I must keep it to a chuckle and not let up the deeply felt roar of laughter that I feel inside. The book goes on to say “To laugh we have to be able to exhale and take another breath in quick succession. That breathing is to feel one’s emotions, and when we wish not to feel, we stop breathing and hold our breath instead. With deeply felt laughter, a woman can begin to really breathe, and when she does this, she might begin to feel unsanctioned feelings. These feeling turn out not to be feelings as much as relief for feelings or remedies for feelings, such as the opening up of stopped-up tears of forgotten memories.” No wonder a really deeply felt laugh is so hard for me to come by.
So I am making a goal to laugh whole-heartedly, from deep down inside, and not to hold back.