I come back to it time and time again that four letter word only one letter away from Pray, and that's Play!
It's interesting that my mind keeps churning the phrase: in defense of play, in defense of play, in defense of play. As though it was something I really had to hold up shields for, as if everyone was trying to tear it apart and rip it down.
Why might this be?
Flash back to my childhood.
My sisters and I were trickster, changeling faeries babes: equal parts devil to angel. It was our favourite to run into the woods, exploring sun dappled caragana groves and trying to side eye magic before it sidled away from us. We also liked to lie on the carpets of our homes and scream and squawk and basically be raucous little devil monkeys.
"Girls be quiet!" Was the oft sung refrain of our house. Because we were just that: a unit of sound, called The Girls. And The Girls had to clean their rooms and scoop dog poop before they were allowed to play. The Girls had duties and chores. In some ways our play was encouraged and in others it was tampered down. But with our drawers of dress up clothes, abundance of barbies and river valley woods just across the street, I think we had it pretty good when it came to playing.
And then there was school,where playtime was relegated to recess. You will notice that the recipe for school is not equal parts learning to play. Though ironically we often learn the most through play. But NO, the school system is not organized like that.
There is a valuing of work over play, of order over chaos, of masculine over feminine that is inherent in the mossy stone structures of the school system.
At home it was my mom saying "You girls are so loud! Alice I can hear every word you are saying."
At school it was "Alice is very quiet in class. Alice doesn't contribute much. Alice is shy and soft spoken."
Because I didn't want to be there, because my soul was alive in play and squashed in routine and order.
I loved to learn, but boy did I not love to sit, or be quiet or follow arbitrary rules even though I did do just that. And very well I might add.
So I don't want to defend play, I want to commend it. I want to praise it and build it up, and share it so that it needs no defense at all.
I am not saying do away with structure or routine, I am saying make play a part of your structure and routine.
This idea that if we chose a thing, that it must mutually exclude the other thing is nonsense.
We can have both our fairy cake and our plate to eat it on too.
So how do we include play in our day? How do we make it part of or practice of alternate nostril breathing and side body stretches? Of rubber boots and early morning colonics? Of coffee and cream?
That's up to you.
But I don't know how to play you say!
Okay start by praying. After all it's easy enough to shave that little hook of the "r" and turn it into play.
So pray. Ask God, or the divine, or shiva, or shakti or whoever your heart, your nose, your ears, ask them all "how can I play? How do I want to play?"
And sometimes it will bubble up in you and it's like jumping. It really is. You are eleven years old again and you are on top of that tower looking down at the tiny turquoise chlorine bubble of the pool below, wondering why you thought this would be fun. And people all lining up behind you(other impulses, jostling to be expressed), and either you turn around and walk back down, or you jump.
And you jump baby, cause you are brave, and the air whooshes around you and and then you are smacking into the water, and you are thrashing to the surface and you've survived and it's exhilarating and everyone has seen you, and nobody laughed and now you can do it again, because you know what it feels like and it's fun.
Play is like that.
Only sometimes you are just jumping off a curb into a puddle, and it's a little splash, but it's just as satisfying, and just as fun.
Play is about paying attention, about you got it, playing attention to the little tugs of longing in your heart. All those vowel sounds and somersaults that wish to be expressed.
Today I just sang, rolled backwards and repeated silly strings of nonsense to myself for a good hour or two. For a God hour or two, because yes dammit, play is sacred and more and more I want to do it, because it's most loving to me to be free.
And yes I do still feel self conscious. I don't want to be that type of drama nerd that my sisters so loathed growing up. The one they stuck their noses up at and said with scorn "UGH! drama kids are the worst." And maybe my flavour of play is more flamboyant than your flavour of play. You will notice I used the tower metaphor before the curb, because I'm kinda an all or nothing girl who is learning to have a middle. But has always existed in the extremes and that's okay.
However we show up to play is however we show up. We are allowed to be that person that absolutely loves quoting one liners from a movie, yes over and over again. Because dammit, it feels good to us. We like to feel the texture of those words in our mouth. Just to try them out for size like funny dentures, we don't want to stop and that's play. It's this flow of impulse and silliness. It's this make and ass out of ourselves,and we will be judged ,stream of instinct.
We get to eat our fairy cake on a plate, but someone is telling us we chose the wrong plate and that our fairy bell is too loud.
Well I say fuck 'em baby, let's let our fairy bells ring. Let's go forth and flit and fairy belly all over the place. Fairy bell loud, fairy bell proud, fairy bell like it's ninteeen twenty unicorn
Come roll on the carpet with me! Come stretch and make sounds like a seal in distress. Or come do what feels good to you.
I'd love a friend, to play with.
Meow, meow wink face, rainbow jabberwacky jabbewacky doo! *dribbles and rolls over*
Oh god so here I go: I can act like a pompous ass sometimes. Notice I say act and not be. I am not a bad person, nor am I wrong, but I am not right either.
But booooy do I think I am right. I think I am soooo smart and that I have you all figured out stud. I think I can read you like my great grandmother read tea leaves, with great accuracy and foreboding. In my head I am checking off all your defense mechanisms and noticing all the ways you say things "wrong".
"What a poor communicator," I am thinking "Wow that person isn't in touch with their emotions. They are just doing that to avoid feeling."
And I think these things and then I go and do something like text someone who said :"I'm poor."
"You don't know what poor is honey."
Not my proudest moment.
And that someone comes back at me with something like "First off I do I have lived through that and second off you are being presumptuous and assuming."
Well I do love asses, so there I go making one outta myself.
Why? Why do I often grab onto "being right" rather than connecting with people?
Because I am scared shitless. Oh babe I am sooo scared. I just want you to like me and not hurt me. I'm an an animal that is used to being left in a hot vehicle: "Please don't leave me!" I am an animal that has been called "BAD!" over and over: "Please don't abuse me. I'm a dog that has been whacked and screamed at for what the cat and goldfish did: "Please don't accuse me!"
So I learned it was better to be a smart girl than a soft tender girl. I'm so smart, look at me figure you out. And I am smart, very smart. Very intuitive. And we can figure out what a tornado is doing, but that doesn't stop the tornado. We just stand there getting hit going "well, with the barometer being as it is, I can't really blame the tornado. But weather CAN change, I guess I will stay and ask the tornado to be sunshine."
Being a bit of a PTSD storm myself, I can tell you it's not easy to temper the intensities. And this was supposed to be a blog post about how I want to always be right, but it's become a blog post about how painful it was to stay in abuse.
The two relate.
There is a thread, that weaves them together.
When I want to connect to you, I'm curious. I want to know who you are. I don't assume I know you.
When I am in fight, flight, freeze, faun, flop or one of those dastardly "effs", eff this, eff my life I don't know how to get the eff out. When I'm fucked up and deep in the reptilian brain, I want to protect. And how do we protect? We assume. We assume that you are other, that you are bad, that you are out to get me. AKA YOU ARE WRONG! Not me, you. It has to be one of us so I choose you.
Somehow being wrong has gotten wired into our brain as the equivalent of being ambushed by a wolverine. I was wrong, I didn't do something on time. Or not your way. Or not the "right way". So you shout at me and my sisters, face red, mouth open "You girls are so selfish and lazy!" You threaten to take away the things we love "I am going to go into your rooms and put everything you've left on the floor in a garbage bag." You threaten to take away the people we love "I guess I will just leave and never come back, if I am not wanted then."
Being right and making you wrong, was a way to fight back. Was a way to say NO. No, you're wrong. Because if you were right then I would be selfish, lazy, toyless and fatherless. I would be unwanted and unloved and that doesn't feel safe. And I just want to be safe.
So My opinions, my sarcasm, my sass, were the only weapons I had against you.
But you aren't my daddy anymore. You are my biological father yes, but you aren't my parent anymore. I take care of me now. I love me now.
And what is most loving to me is to catch my screw ups, laugh about them, call myself on them, apologize and reconnect to that person. That person that I don't know. That human that I want to connect with. And I only know my way, not theirs.
We can both be right, to our own selves. And opinions don't protect, they reject when we project them onto others. When we expect them of others.
The way I want to communicate, the way I want to love, the way I want to live that's up to me and I don't get to put that on you. I can choose who my friends are. I can choose the types of people I want in my life.
But I don't get to mould the ones entering it.
We might brush off on each other, influence each other but there is to be no conscious or unconscious directing of their way if there is to be love. There can only be allowing.
I often assume everyone wants to be more open, more self expressed, more expansive just like me. My mind goes, well isn't that what we all want? so I "nudge" them along.
But No, not everyone wants to be an explosion of rainbow sound, raining like confetti down on the world. Not everyone wants to be a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower. Some people want to be the rain, tender, wet and nourishing. Some people are earthern and steady, as rich as dirt. I love those people. I love what they have to offer. May I nourish them with my understanding and acceptance of who they are.
Because even if some people's actions are "garbage" guess what I make art with garbage. I take lead and I make it into poetry. Whatever experience I have, however people bump up against me, if I open to it. If I say yes to just the way they are, they help me shed more and more defenses. They help me open more and more.
And if you read my poetry you will know my all time favourite word, the one I slather and slobber for is:Open.
So thank you, to everyone, for exactly the way you show up.
And yes sometimes I will judge you and get all snarly mouthed and protective. And bark out "wrong! wrong! wrong!" But I'm not right and neither are you, we both just are.
I am making a game plan for loneliness. I wrote a whole blog post about it and my expectations and what I was doing with it and then deleted it. Because with that blog post was trying to delete loneliness.
I want to expose everything I am doing so I won't do it anymore.
Because I am afraid of the reaching, the hands grabbing outwards, that comes with loneliness.
I am afraid of the heavy hobbling lameness that comes with it. The please hold and hug me and introduce me to your friends.
The fear that arises, they are going to slap your hands backwards. They are going to slap the label "needy" on you.
But here is the truth, I need people. I am a social animal, that needs her family.
I am a creature who left one pack behind and now she wanders howling at the moon, listening for a returning howl, but only hearing the hoots of owls. Are the owls my friends? Yes, but are they my tribe, no.
Can I convince the otters to like a wolf life me? No, I am threatening to otters with my vocalizations, with my hunger, with my weeping and laughing. I am "too much" for the mice. And I am "not enough" for the peacocks.
So this is my spell, not for erasing loneliness, but for guiding myself to my other wolves. To discovering the other unicorns. And other shamans and other people that are a little bit of this and that and get me.
This is my spell: Patience, Patience, so mote it be, I call upon the power within me.
Because friendships aren't made, they are discovered, I can search and search, but my soul friendships just flutter into my life, hearts whispering in recognition, as mouths blab on. In places I never would've expected with people I never would've never thought. People 17 years older than me who are da das or people 17 years younger than me who are half orphans. People my heart overflows, overflowers with love for.
And it's not about waiting for these people. Because that implies endurance and life isn't to be endured. It's about celebrating these connections when I discover them. Connections, like golden shafts of sunlight, running between us, I didn't create the sun, it was always there.
So I celebrate my soul family that is scattered here and there. The people that I met on my 46 day journey. I celebrate and bless, the boy who rubbed water melon rinds on my back, ran in the woods with me and danced and danced. Thank you and I love you.
I celebrate the two souls who believed me when I told them outlandish stories of spirits squatting in my body. The two souls who shook our my back and told me my tears were beautiful and vulnerable. the two souls who made a love infused soup with me over the fire and welcomed. Bless both of you, beauties, beautiful, radiant spirits. I love you both.
I celebrate the spirit I discovered at a festival and unwrapped in the backseat of a car. I celebrate how they mirror me and hold me and encourage me with their kindness, to show up totally in my whole unabashed, snotty, messy, expressive, self. Thank you and bless you. Kiss you and bless you. Touch you and bless you. Bless you, bless you.
So here is to my soul family! I raise my glass. And here is to the loneliness that points me back in the direction of that family. That says profound connection to this earth, to others is missing here in this moment. That says something is holding. Something is resisting. Just so you know.
Here is to beautiful bruise coloured sadness, that weighs on my chest and whispers, you can open even more. Even more, you are doing so good and I'm showing you where you can open even more.
You can go even deeper, deeper still with the soul family already around you.
Trust baby. Trust.
So I recently had to say "NO." Actually it happens most days that I have to say "no". But this one was a little more difficult because what I was saying "no" to was soooo delicious.
It killed me.
I was having this really sexy online flirtation with another poet on instagram. Ugh his poetry made me tingle and I felt it viscerally. so I commented on it's power to evoke sensation and then he started messaging me. But also he had a girlfriend. Which he let me know very early on.
So we played the game called "we are just going to talk about non sexy things and not flirt". We were both big losers in this game, but we thought we were winners. Because we kept straying again and again into talk of wolves and devouring and biting and bondage and full moons and all that appetizing fare.
And Then I'd admonish him for flirting or he'd admonish me but then in the next moment, we'd be right back at it. With him telling me basically I could do whatever I wanted with him. Saying this in so many ways, but not in those exact words. And I'd say "Stop it" "Don't tease me" And then flirt outrageously.
It culminated in him writing me the sexiest poem ever. Ugh I weep just thinking about it. I have never had someone write me an erotic poem before. Never-mind of that caliber. Sooo not fair. With lines like "Breath that satisfies my mouth. I have tasted you as the trees taste the moon." God my knees jerk and my breath catches in my throat when I read it. Oooof!
I was like oh god, I want this and thank you yes, please and just like that, but also this has now gone waaaay past the line of flirting. This is fucking verbal foreplay right here.
So I said, and this is today btw so no response as of yet," This has to end now." I talked about not wanting to harm someone even though I can't see them. I don't know them. But I just couldn't anymore. It felt morally wrong. Blah blah blah. And end scene.
So after that the wolf in me pouted. She was like that was sooo yummy. You just shut down all that delicious seduction. I want more poetry that titillates. How could you say no? It's not fair! Why do I have to be the bigger person? I'm single. It's not my girlfriend! STOMP STOMP. Tantrum, tantrum. Gimme back my candy!
And to that I responded " Honey, do you want to put all this time and energy into a person that is dishonest?" And with that I thought. No, I sure don't. And then it became about loving myself. Choosing what was healthy for myself, Not squashing my desire. Saying hey babe, you have this desire for sexy poetry, I respect that, but not with this guy.
The "No" became a resounding "yes" to treating myself with respect. Became a resounding cry that I can desire and it doesn't kill me if I say "No" to that desire. It became a declaration that I was whole whether I had someone seducing me or not. "huh." I thought. I do deserve honesty and authenticity.
I don't need to cloak my desires. I don't need the secrecy to get off or to feel safe. I was unconsciously pleased he had a girlfriend because it meant it wasn't going to go anywhere(no danger of commitment) and it also gave me the illusion of being irresistible.
But with that "No" I blew all of that away. And said, no thank you. I choose healthy, supportive sexuality. I can play with the wolf, I can play with the darkness and blood-lust and new moons and full moons and ravaging, and it can be healthy. It can be conscious, not this sideways unconscious spilling out of desires I am too scared to knowledge. It can be aware and consensual to all parties involved and non harming and affirming of who I am as a person. Which is someone with a love for exploration who is pure of heart.
So I'm proud of myself! And that's my story about saying "NO!" and having it really mean "Yes" to something else. because isn't that always the way?
I love you, I love you, I love. Keep on being you!
.Dear bae, baby, babe
People are going to Judge us no matter what. We can hem ourselves in or puff ourselves up, we can dress or undress, but there is no formula that is going to make everyone like us. No formula for escaping judgment!
"But that's not fair!" we cry.
No babe, it's not. It sucks. But it's crazy impossible to have everyone like us. And some people will poo poo us, even dislike us. We will be too loud for some, too quiet for others, too this, too that. Too, too too much of wearing tutus, they'll say. Did you see him? How dare he? So flouncy!
There will be someone there telling us our thoughts, our preferences, or our boundaries are not valid. This will hurt, a lot. I am sorry, babe, but we can feel this pain together. These people aren't cruel. And feel free to call them asshole or stomp your feet or cry. But they are just unconscious. Unconsciously wanting us to conform to their worldview because we make them uncomfortable, babe.
We make them uncomfortable with our powerfuls "Nos!" and with our resounding "Yeses" to who we are and what we want. So we might as well say fuck it and stop wasting our energy pleasing them or defending ourselves to them. Because when we do that, all we are saying is you are right, please still like me. Or you are wrong but still please love me.
Fuck it babe, we don't need that racket, it's same as the sensation of a tooth biting down on the tine of the fork, there is nothing there for us but pain. So leave it.
And say to them through words or actions:Hey join me! Come let us fly our freak flags, freak umbrellas, wear our freak boots as tromp in freak mud and make freak messes and be fucking who we are! Unashamed, unabashed, unapologetic! Celebrating the freaking miracle of weirdness, of peculiarity and personality that each and every one of us is!
Because we are all one delicious spice, or seasoning in the soup of life and we need them all to make a good broth.