I decided the other day I don’t want to be a woman with a dick or balls.
I want to be a woman with a vagina who embodies woman.
Many women my age grew up calling themselves tomboys, myself included. There was an element of pride to be won in not being womanly, in embodying male traits, in growing up rational and shutting off one’s intuition. Women’s intuition is called crazy. Rational is the only way.
At thirteen, when puberty hit, hormones changed the way my clean, pure rational mind worked and I started crying a lot and feeling ashamed for it all the time. I was a weight lifter, a basketball player, a soccer player, a trombone player. There was little about me I personally found feminine, but my hair grew longer and I developed an ass and boobs and the man I’d been trained to try to be (strong, tough, not a crybaby, Daddy’s first girl of five) just wasn’t meant to be in a body like mine.
I have a tiny waist, a big ass, and a diamond-shaped face that needs no makeup but these are traits that just seemed to get in the way of my friendships. The boys started to ask me out and I didn’t say no because I didn’t know what going out meant. Two weeks later I’d be like, “Yeah this isn’t working,” because it was just this weird obligation to talk on the phone for longer periods of time or tell them what kind of panties I was wearing and I was into studying Japanese and figuring out how to get out of my house. Mom was pregnant with my little brother. A sixteen-year-old and a fifteen-year-old in the same house with my pregnant mother was just…
There really aren’t words.
My mother, my sister and I all have some version of this cyclothymia thing, which I often believe is just heightened sensitivity based on what I’ve been told from therapists (at least ten in my lifetime). The diagnosis has never been super solid but therapists still don’t exactly know what it is.
It is attunement with the cycles of nature–not just nature like that thing we place outside of our perfectly rational selves for some completely irrational reason (let’s call it ego). It’s an attunement with one’s inner nature and the cycles of nature.
When fall comes along, I’m readying the harvest, pickling, making savory food, knitting, getting outside for those last blustery days. Winter has me at a lower energy, wanting to stay inside. Spring is all about new growth, fucking, and making plans, and summer is about work and play. It’s all coded into our DNA after generations upon generations of evolution.
We are the first generation in thousands and thousands of years of evolution to not have to rely on agriculture or the seasons in their immediacy to feed and sustain ourselves. We have technology, refrigeration, freezers, and food processing. We call this freedom.
The following is one of my favorite of many quotes from the father of Psychoanalysis, Swiss Psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, my soul mentor.
“The fact that a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing … He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths … There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable prejudices. ‘You are no different from anybody else,’ they will chorus or, ‘there’s no such thing,’ and even if there is such a thing, it is immediately branded as ‘morbid’…He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. ‘His own law!’ everybody will cry. But he knows better: it is the law…The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization — absolute and unconditional— of its own particular law … To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being … he has failed to realize his own life’s meaning.”― Carl Jung
A google search of the word “attunement,” brings up this blog post which basically states that attunement into other people’s inner state is the basis upon which we form relationships. No one ever tuned into my inner state except a handful of friends. When I was rational, tuning into other people was a matter of examining and trusting human nature. You don’t have to know a person well to get a sense of that.
I was watching Patrice Oneal’s Elephant in the Room last night and thinking about how he is basically talking about how we have suppressed a vital part of human nature. He talked a lot about nasty things, and some people think he hated women because his impressions of women always involve a lot of talking (nagging), but comedians–especially him I think–present things as they are in a way that is hilarious so they don’t hurt as much to look at.
Men, he supposes, are like fisherman. It’s his bit and I won’t explain it to you, go watch the stand up if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. I could tell where my femaleness (not my real femaleness, the idea of femaleness I’m supposed to embody per my culture) started to rise up. It was when he began to excuse men who cheat for being the kinds of creatures who think with their dicks. And, when he said women’s health is women’s responsibility.
I could see where he was coming from when considering the rules of human nature, but the rules of civilization are made by men and civilization is the practice of suppressing the human instinct for the sake of progress.
From the rational perspective, feelings and kindness and all those gentle nurturing qualities associated with women have historically been an irrational but necessary function of the wild human being. Nature, it turns out, is savage and a moment of emotional overwhelm can mean death if poorly timed–such as when Prince Oberon tries to tease an apology from the Mountain in Game of Thrones. We all watched that scene and thought, “What are you doing?! Just kill him!”
And if you’ve watched that scene, you know how it ended.
We live in a weird time though. Many of us exist in a civilized world that is so walled off from the natural one, we don’t develop natural instincts strong enough to outshine our civil inbreeding. If you think you know your own nature and you’ve never been dirt poor, you don’t. One doesn’t know the extent to which the animal in the self is capable or incapable until the civilized part isn’t nourished. Without shelter, without food, without company, without clothing, one must strive for the basest, most fundamental resources and whatever thoughts you might have of rightness must be abandoned for the animal instinct to survive.
Now on the nature of men and women–women have historically gathered in groups. It’s both a protective mechanism since women are physically more susceptible, on a fundamental biological level, to being harmed by men than men are to being harmed by women. If you don’t believe that, go be a woman by herself on Skid Row and try going around convincing anyone who tries to fuck with you that you are biologically equal in strength.
Yes there are exceptions. No I’m not here to argue that. Nitpickers who want to go deeper than that are just being argumentative as far as I’m concerned.
The ideas of what gender roles are in our civilization are typically determined by academics and scientists, preconceived notions of a nuclear family, and a history of oppression that leaves women unable to vote until the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, an effort that laid to rest 60 years of women demanding to be heard.
Only after a woman by the name of Carrie Chapman Catt, contrary to the movements of her contemporaries, merged many suffrage groups in to one called the Women’s Suffrage Party and doubled voluntary enrollment in war efforts in WWI by pledging the efforts of NAWSA, more than 2 million strong, to the government since it was “protective of all other rights.” This was a turnaround from the tactics of women like Alice Paul who picketed the white house and went on their first hunger strikes, having learned civil disobedience tactics in London.
A little over a month after NAWSA pledged their support, Wilson declared War and women became central to the successful operation of the military industrial complex. Two years later women in every state were allowed to vote.
The first time a man cheats on me I stop eating and cannot understand why this is my reaction.
My great grandmother was born in 1911 to a wealthy family. During the great depression, her father left and didn’t return. The bank took everything. Great grandma worked in an orange factory and sometimes they subsisted on orange peels alone. Great grandma grew her own food, stashed money around the house because she didn’t trust the government, avoided processed anything, painted, led meditation groups, conversed with aliens, drank a thimbulfull of brandy every night and a smoked 1 tobacco pipe. She didn’t drink caffeine. She walked a mile every day, played music, taught art, and was highly sexually active well into old age. She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 98 I believe? Ninety something.
She did not have a man by her side in later life and pictures of her with a baby in her arms, a younger married woman, reveal a deep resentment I’ve come to understand in a circumambulatory way. I didn’t realize that the urge to stop eating was this internalized, perhaps DNA level awareness, that my freedom is not the same freedom men know.
In Patrice O’neal’s stand up mentioned above, the natural male is presented as a beautiful creature, imperfect but natural. I can accept this narrative. I can accept that if it is in a man’s nature to cheat in order to keep the woman he wants while also maintaining his own nature, he must be true to his nature.
What I cannot accept is that men hold the power of the cultural narratives which determine what my nature is supposed to be. It doesn’t surprise me at all that women are only allowed to vote as a result of supporting War. Historically, this is what women’s roles are for men–support structures in the home so that when the nature of men to become violent lends itself to violent practice, as human nature dictates, there is something to return to, somewhere to nurture the violated soul.
What I cannot accept is my soul practice has been diminished to cooking and cleaning by the mechanisms of the rational.
Yesterday in meditation Isis and Osiris came to me. Say what you will of visions, they are a perfectly normal human experience. The rational mind is afraid of this unknown wilderness, but the wild woman is powerful beyond the homemaker bitchmade thing modern civilization has made her out to be.
In pursuing what it is to be natural woman, I became spiritual, sexual, confident, and I was often called a bitch–AM. Am often called a bitch. It alarms me that because I’m a woman who speaks, people are wary of me. I worked in kitchens for years with men and with women. The man’s kitchen is always loud and full of shit-talking. The environment is different. One has to attune themselves to a different kind of nature. It’s a different wavelength. Patrice was definitely right on that point. Men and women are simply different. Also, it’s worth noting I think that when I work with women who are well-behaved and have themselves together, the environment is quieter.
I started to speak up for myself at about 25 because I grew tired of being spoken for all the time just to appear easy going, not a crazy bitch. That kind of oppression is the best way to become a crazy bitch if you ask me.
I recently started a new job which pays minimum wage, promises 20 hours a week, blackout holidays, and I get Thursdays off but no promises. The boss lady doesn’t tell me the training is eight hours, but she does tell me I can pick my schedule, failing to mention that because I lack any seniority, the other girls pick their schedules and I get the scraps. Here’s the deal: This is a temporary gig. It’s a transitional thing while I get back into online teaching and freelance writing, something I’m actually pretty established in at this point. I’m taming my proud, hard-won wild woman ego to remember humility, be grateful I have a transitional opportunity so close to home that is pretty flexible and has benefits.
Ten years ago, I’d have been like, “Alright,” and wouldn’t have said a word about the conditions of this workplace welcome. To me, minimum wage, blackout holidays, and no say about when you work is a form of slavery, or at least incarceration to a society I never wanted. If I’d had it my way, we’d all be living in the woods learning about plants and building our own damn houses, growing our own gardens, living as humans were intended to live but with some exceptions–no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. We’ve come so far technologically, it would be great if we could implement that into our natures and nature, reinvigorate the symbiotic relationship of the human being with the planet and it’s creatures before we smother ourselves in our own war mongering greed egos.
But I don’t have it my way.
My way is the wild woman and my people fear her.
She represents chaos to the rational person because intuition isn’t rational. A woman who stops eating because she knows something is off and can’t pinpoint it is following her intuition, perhaps an intuition in her DNA that stems from the history of hunger strikes that were necessary to get her heard in the first place.
I overcame my eating disorder by naming it ED. There is a great book about this if you are in trouble with this demon. I call them demons because that is the only way I can take something intangible seriously enough to fight it daily. I learned to eat with gusto, to fuck for fun, and I did so by undoing my conventions.
Someone, a high class woman I respect immensely, told me recently that “as we get older, we wear darker lipstick.”
I said, “Do we? I wonder who determined that.” Who am I to argue with the conventions of women? I wear makeup once or twice a year maybe and I recognize this as a failure to integrate some parts of the female convention into my practice of her. The rejection was necessary in order to understand a deeper, wilder side I think, but this rejection initially looked like being a tomboy, shaming what is is to be woman, embracing instead the qualities of man.
When we talk about patriarchy, it is this idea of the half woman as an acceptable embodiment women for men who fear her. It isn’t my fault that you don’t want to hear me talk all the time. If you knew how to listen, maybe I wouldn’t have to repeat myself.
There are men cringing at those words and women laughing and that exchange is gross but common.
It is not in the nature of people to disrespect one another, men or women. It is a person’s individual nature which determines their ability to accomplish things like not thinking with their dick, or thinking enough with their head to justify thinking with their dick in such a way it’s actually kind of charming. Women are capable of this too. We are no exception to lust and infidelity.
But I don’t want to be a babysitter my whole life.
This is what relationships have historically felt like to me: Babysitting.
Joseph Campbell surmised that the lack of modern ritual to signify the transition of men into adults has essentially created a land of man children. This isn’t entirely true. Unfortunately, one’s exposure to academia and civilization is directly proportional to one’s total wildness.
Unless you’re actively cultivating your own path and seeking the inner wilds, civilization will sweep you up in things you’re supposed to become for the sake of continuing to feed the industrial war complex.
That is what it comes down to. Look at history. Not just ours. Ours is repeating itself. Issues of equality, race, gender, and nature versus nurture always erupt from the insecurities of wartime and justifiably so.
Wars are fought to reinvigorate the economy. Whether we like it or not, we are still trapped in the regular mechanisms of nature–kill or be killed, gather resources or take them if unavailable–but we are so removed from our own natures that we believe that these are matters of state.
No: These are matters of a state of mind that derides the intuitive, the chaotic, and the unknown, grasping for security and certainty at all costs.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this.
DJ and I got in a fight a couple of days ago.
I’m pregnant. I have a Master’s Degree and I’m transitioning to a part-time, minimum wage job so I can work from home and love on the baby. These are my natural instincts and this becomes the intention without my conscious mind understanding it. I’m making less money now and to many, money is status, status is dignity. Without being able to care for one’s self financially, pride and dignity are lost.
This is the sad consequence of disrespecting the wild woman: the people for whom we desire security in the first place, and in whose name we take action like going to war, are forgotten. Instead, war becomes the game, the conquest, the mechanism of pride-boosting pump juice that feeds the national ego.
What is an ego without a soul?
I’m not talking about a divide among men a women. There are plenty of women out there who have dicks, both literally and metaphorically nowadays. There isn’t anything wrong with that either. For my own part, I realized I was striving to be a woman with a dick when really, I just want to be a woman who is respected for her nature. I shouldn’t have to embody the qualities of man to be respected.
This is what we mean when we talk about “the patriarchy.” It is that in order to be respected, one cannot also be emotional, vulnerable, gentle, and open-minded.
Staying home to work and raise kids is no fucking cake walk. I’m only doing the first part right now, and finding work from home, implementing the discipline to do so, cleaning, and cooking and maintaining house, it’s nice for me but still work. Plus pregnant hormones.
Working one’s ass off and putting aside any emotional setbacks to provide security is no cake walk either and DJ does this without complaint, enthusiastically I would say.
There is sometimes, when things get hard, a feeling of resentment for what he has that I do not: freedom, maleness, that ability to set aside emotional setbacks and provide physically. He is a reliable employee, a reliable and loving partner, and providing seems to be something he wants to do–perhaps it’s unconscious, just a part of his nature.
Then, I’m sure, there’s resentment from his side sometimes when things get hard that my emotional nature kicks me into nurture mode as though on autopilot. When his dog died, I gave him massages, cooked with extra care, and avoided any nagging.
I know that these “woman” things are mine and I accept them.
My sister and my mother are the main providers in their families. The men in their households suffer for it, not, I think, because it’s horrible to be home and take care of kids, but because our culture values male attributes more than female attributes.
What’s more, the disrespect with which the provider has historically been allowed to treat the nurturers seems to bleed over across the boundaries of gender. The one who has the money makes the decisions. Role reversal is just as toxic.
We are looking not for role reversal or gender equality I think. We are looking to understand human nature, male and female nature. Our best hope is to understand, as Carl Jung put it, our own nature, discovered by following one’s own law.
A culture that doesn’t value family–or worse, values resource as much as if not more the families for whom those resources are supposed to be won–is soulless. I so resented my mother, the provider, and my father, the provider, for the time that providing took them away from me. My family’s nurturer was my dad’s mom.
My mother’s nurturer was never nurtured or nurturing. My great grandmother was not keen on children and embodied a proud, stubborn, intelligent woman with a strong intuition and a widely open mind. Her father was not kind. My grandmother, her daughter, was with men who beat her. My mother was the first ever to have the ability to choose to make her own money so she could make her own decisions.
Faced with this sense of vulnerability, that the man I love is providing, that we are taking this leap together, my wild instincts rare up and my claws come out. I’m yelling because I’ve been wanting to see my family for a year now and I don’t want to go alone, but he’s shown no interest in meeting them for now. We are starting our own family and we have bills to pay and things to take care of here and this toxic history of “money decides,” twists my gut into distrust.
I list the instances in which I have been disrespected for not providing, despite the support I have given him financially and otherwise in pursuing his career. I’ve moved jobs so he can have the car and go to his job that he loves. I left the job I loved to make more money because we weren’t making enough. Not making enough led to this default disrespect which is in our culture. Here is why and I’m sure you know:
If you are homeless, the boundaries between you and a job are more than needing a home. You need a shower, clean clothes, nutritious food with which to properly allow the mind and body to function. You need technology (during the pandemic, libraries are not open). You need to write a resume, brush your hair, and walk in with shoes that aren’t duct taped together.
In high school, people I’d known since I was five-years-old, and with whom I’d had rapport, started calling me a dike, a lesbian, a weirdo, because one day a lady at Walmart, perhaps just new to her career, cut my hair too short. While kids in high school are notoriously shallow and evil little bastards, it is not because they are bad people, it’s because they are awakening to the chemicals which drive human nature and learning to operate on them. What’s more, they are incorporating the biases of civilization into their daily lives, learning to handle money, to drive according to the rules of the road, to be women who use contraception and men who buy condoms and people who do people things according to how they are supposed to be done.
I left highschool, graduated early, did what I was supposed to do and found no freedom from the torments of being a woman in a man’s world. I became a man-hater for a while, tired of always having to “make myself little,” in the words of Miley Cyrus, for a man who feels emasculated by my power.
Women have incredible power and we misuse it I think.
The argument, the history, the comedy, and the science, all had me wondering: What is a woman, to a man, who can provide for herself?
She’s a doorway to understanding.
After the Great War, Carrie Chapman Catt returned to the women’s movement, deciding not to join any groups after being turned out following the pro-war pledge, which was a majority decision. She was the scapegoat.
I wonder if this is when women started to turn on one another or if this was normal even then. It was never easy to make female friends, especially as a female who doesn’t wear makeup. Bitches be jealous. But in the last 5 years, as the hormones of young lust wear off and the animal competition to mate and find worth and security is behind me I see that a powerful woman must empower others or become the resentful, freedom-seeking, caged being who tries to negate her existence, which she hates, by not eating.
The woman who can provide for herself is a symbol, to man governed by instinct and ego, that he must relinquish control–for unless he plans to physically restrain her, the means by which men have controlled the story of women is purely financial.
The man who cannot control his woman must instead learn communication using wordy word words and feely feel feels. And this threatens what we believe it is to be a man, culturally that is.
The greatest Heroes of myth are feely feel wordy word men with battle hardened bodies and physical prowess alike. Odysseus was a pretty emotional man driven to adventure reluctantly, desiring instead to stay home with his wife and child–even going so far as to pretend to be insane. An eloquent speaker and dutiful soldier, he was capable of powerful nurturing both as husband and kind, but also powerful destruction as a warrior.
The powerful women of Sumer, Egypt, and Sparta were revered for fertility, fairness, beauty, skill in art, and quite often, their cunning. Women’s power, her own battle-readiness, is in the realm of the psyche today.
She must, from the first, battle forth against the slings and arrows of the outrageous boxes which war, that sickening display of pampered man-child ego painted all over the earth in the blood of her children, has tucked her greatness into.
When war becomes not a show of strength and skill, but of force and domination, the female power to nurture is bypassed. Nurturing takes attention to detail, cultivation of small steps and seeds over time, patience. Force and domination are crude, but I’ve been quite a forceful, dominating woman in my time.
Now I’d like to be nurturing, to be patient, to cultivate over time the little things. This is my Power. She need not be jealous and cruel or dominating. She need not have a dick to be respected.
What is really sad about all of this is how, for the most part, these binaries are only a part of the conversation on a media-wide scale, an academic scale, a political scale, and a workplace scale but because we are exposed to these facets of culture, we learn to internalize these mechanisms of garnering pride from cash and dolling out disrespect for sensitivity.
On a human level, working together to survive is always what is has come down to. The argument we had, my resentment, “You have more freedom than I do!” turns out to be a fear born of the internalized expectations I have that men will take advantage of a woman who doesn’t provide for herself financially. This isn’t true for all men and all women. What’s more, I am providing financially.
A petty part of me snuck in the fact that if I were only out to care for myself, I would be doing far better in the financial department. Hell, if I’d been focusing on my career instead of men I’m afraid what kind of cunt I’d have become. Power like that does something fucked up to my head–it makes me not have to be accountable to others. This is the freedom of the selfish.
I’m learning a different kind of power: the power to observe human nature and respond to it as it demands. An angry person wants you to react. When you don’t, they are forced to be angry alone. This takes away their power in that situation. A sad person wants you to nurture. Sometimes, like when his dog dies, nurturing is all that is needed. Some sad people just want to be nurtured instead of doing what is difficult. I know because I’ve been this person. That person needs to be told to get the fuck up and fight. That’s the archetypal male nurturer.
Really its not a male or female things. It’s a nature vs. nurture thing. We’ve just been nurturing a structure of toxic masculinity for too long. Yes yes, we have so many virtue signaling words in here but I’m not here to disrespect men.
Men, too, have been disrespected. Men can be poets and soldiers…some of the best men of history were. Men can be spoken to instead of nagged. Men should not be expected to provide just because it might be in their nature, and men have been told their whole lives to “suck it up,” like life is just this long road of gobbling the dick that is duty.
What it comes down to is human nature is not understood and certainly not respected–otherwise nature would be well and psych meds wouldn’t be so prevalent. When you’re cramming 1-6 minds into boxes maintained by pills, perhaps it is because there are pieces of the human psyche that are supposed to be allowed to spill out. My fundamental problem with relationships is that I refused attunement to the biases of my civilization in favor of hairy legs and armpits and a total ignorance of who decided we were supposed to wear red lipstick as we get older.
Rejection of culture to the extent that one cannot be tamed into a regular job meant homelessness for a while, which is why I know what it means to be an animal and not a person in the eyes of other people. It’s just some makeup, some clothes, some food, a shower, and perhaps some dignity that stands between you and becoming an animal. That’s it. The ideas of what we are supposed to be are cultural stories.
I followed my own story and happened to move in these cycles that seem circumambulatory, a word Jung used to describe what the process of Individuation feels like, but the story was tested by my own instincts and capabilities against the element of my own nature vs. what this civilization wants to do to it.
When I got this part time job, the corporate computer training is eight hours long. The multiple choice test comes after about 20 minutes of information that is presented in a somewhat disorganized fashion. I had an AA by the time I was supposed to be graduating high school and was teaching college by the time I was 26, straight out of my master’s program with a Dean’s list 4.0. All that jazz. This test fucking sucked. I still have four hours of it to complete. They tell you, after all the information is presented, that you must then answer questions which are worded subjectively according to the company culture of safety or diversity. That is, this test is not objective. It’s basically a training in safety and the cultural competency of the environment.
It’s also the first hurdle for anyone off the street getting into a full time job, or anyone in high school getting a new job. To participate in a culture, one must believe in it and be equipped with the facilities to operate within it.
1 in 5 Americans is illiterate. I don’t know what the digital literacy rate is. I don’t know how many people struggling to land a job would meet that test and give the fuck up, but I know I almost smashed that damned computer. What’s more, you don’t take the test in a quiet room. People are talking, the fluorescent lights are glowing, the subjective answers are laughing at me and I hate the stupid little boxes in which we securely operate.
I asked my new boss about the way the steps for lifting a trash can are supposed to be answered in exactly this order, but that these steps are subjective, and she answers, “Nope. That’s the right answer. I get you don’t like it but we all have to do it.” And i’m’ like, I’ve lifted enough damned trash cans and can write well enough to understand that while they were trying to offer this answer and said it this way in the training, the wording is wrong. The person who wrote the test didn’t know how to use the proper language and everyone who does this training now has to use memorization instead of common sense.
This is why I left high school.
We are not standardized one size fits all. We are forgetting ourselves and I rage every day against the pacification of my wild side. My claws are out but I will never again turn them against my people. It isn’t their fault.
We all have to?
No. We don’t.
We all choose to do things we don’t want to do, because making your own way…that’s fucking hard. I went so far as to study herbs and plants, hunting, gathering, putting together my go-bag which can sustain two people for at least a couple of weeks. I was so afraid of being controlled by others that I wanted to make sure if it came down to being myself or being a slave I could go out into the wilderness and be myself.
That mentality…we all have to do things we don’t want to do…is fine. When it is in the name of justifying the survival of a system one doesn’t believe in…that’s complicity.
My people are afraid. My people are the people who know what it is to be paid minimum wage while bartering too much of their damned time just to provide for the resentful family at home who never see them.
My people are not treated with dignity. The resentment I feel for our lack of freedoms is almost equal to the disgust I feel at willful ignorance for the sake of ease.
In the bible, the Israelites are slaves to the Egyptians. They build their pyramids. Moses comes to set them free after God appears to him in a burning bush. When Moses first arrives, the Israelites tell him to leave them alone. They don’t want to anger the Egyptians who retaliate against Moses’ requests for Pharaoh to “Let my people go into the wilderness and worship.”
God sends plague–locusts, disease, acid rain, dying livestock and animals, spoiled crops. Those who recognize the cycles of nature do not suffer. The Israelites are eventually allowed to leave and Moses famously parts the red sea for their crossing.
After the red sea swallows up the Egyptians, who pursue them, the Israelites follow Moses into the wilderness and there they grumble and complain the whole way. The passages that follow in the old testament discuss how they must learn to provide for themselves from the land and there is no happiness in this process. It’s as difficult as building the cities of Egypt and many complain that at least in Egypt they got all the bread and water they could ask for.
It is natural for people to prefer security to freedom, even at the cost of slavery.
This, perhaps, is the crux of that search for individuation. We are not free. We are trapped in nature by human nature and must abide by the laws of nature or else transcend it. Civilization might be able to circumvent those laws temporarily, but without reinvigoration, after too long, the taxed soul of the earth will strike back with her warm seas and her plagues and her dying animals and acid rain.
I often wonder if we are in the midst of evolving into a completely different species. Here’s a wonderful Ted Talk called, “Will Our Kids Be a Different Species?” by Juan Enriquez.
I wonder if this step in evolution will see us integrate the best of our civilization with the best of our human natures. I hope we are on the verge of transcending our own natural inclinations to self-destruct. I hope we are becoming self-aware–individuated from the animal milieu from which we evolved. I hope we are becoming true stewards of the earth.
This is why I don’t protest. I work. I’m a part of this country, this system, these people, as much as my wild nature might want to protest. Fighting against what nurtures me and my people is like fighting with DJ about my lack of freedom as a woman: it’s pointless because the target of frustration is misplaced.
It is not the culture that cages me or you. It is our willingness to accept that culture’s story, that culture’s values, and live by them. What’s more, one finds that to reject such values and stories makes one a “bad” person because instead of working for the good of people, you are standing against what supports them and their illusions, even if they are choosing slavery.
So how can we be free, powerful women and men without the toxic stories of our culture infiltrating our subconscious minds, and without totally abandoning the niceties of civilization like jobs and showers and cookies?
Perhaps we can start to fight the war within finally, and leave the sticks and stones and bombs and drones in the pages of history as a testament to our ignorance and impatience, our lack of cunning turned to force out of desperation or again, impatience.
When the thoughts that would turn you against another arise, be patient, hold your tongue, and witness the awesome power of receptivity and saying no to what you will no longer tolerate. Summon your strength and fight. Saying no will send you into the wilderness and there one must have faith, patience, and perseverance. It is this or it is slavery.
Give your power ONLY to empower and when you are being crushed, have the strength to reach out and ask for help. When the angry person comes along, be patient and see how patience and surrender of the ego, virtues of the archetypal woman serve as a reflecting pool for the spiritually unconscious. What we do not attune to, we do not feed.
“We all have to do this.”
No, we don’t.
The virtues of the archetypal female to nurture, to cultivate, and to be patient are ours. The cycles of nature have moved so that now it is time again for war not fought with sticks and force, but with intention, cultivation, and a decisive surrender of what we believe we know for what we choose to believe.
Put down the dogs that howl in your mind with a better story about your purpose in this world. You can do it. Start small. Maybe give up beer or wine. I always kind of figured asceticism was a way to free the mind. The less you need from others, the freer you are to proceed alone. The freer you are to proceed alone, the more others who are not free will despise you. Encourage them to be strong. Encourage them to be free. Encourage them to choose the way of freedom by enjoying it.
Time for me to take my own advice.
I didn’t know how lucky I was.
Here we are back at mimimum wage and black out holidays, only this time it is temporary and voluntary. Not so for my coworkers who are all peacefully going about their lives nursing addictions and recoveries to cope.
Addiction is a cage. I lived as a slave to my own nature for a long time. I resented my freedom at first because now I have all this responsibility to create, to cultivate, to nurture and I’m angry at having fought so hard for freedom only to find the free are slaves to the fact that they cannot do everything alone.
It is not slave and master, us and them, civilization and nature, man and woman. It comes down to us. Just us. We’re in this together despite the stories and beliefs. The master is the one who can see past the beliefs and the culture into the nature of the person. What do you need? How can I help you?
The one who is not a slave is the servant. Moses was a servant to God and the Israelites. He didn’t even want to lead them. He gave his life over to service the path of service. Any great leader in history gives his own selfish interests over to the path of service.
The worst, the tyrants, seek instead the path of greatness and self-fulfillment. These are the Pharaohs, the dictators, and the crony capitalists.
“Let my people go into the wilderness and worship their Lord.”
The wilderness, now, is the psyche. What peoples choose the destruction of the only security promised them (the earth you follow)?
A traumatized one.
What has driven us to this threshold of our natures that we question our meaning and place on the planet except a lack of satisfaction with our own stupid greatness?
Is this not a tiresome game already? Have there not been enough tyrants, enough con-artists in banking and the stock market, in politics and corporations, for us to understand that these are just people aiming for self-satisfaction in a world that demands a leader who will serve?
Perhaps the total uselessness of our political corporate military industrial complex except to cause suffering to our natural dispositions is a testament to how much we’ve evolved. Now what?
Be patient. Be kind. Trust in your own power. The security provided from above–those who say what we must do–are only as secure as the believers by whom such securities are held in place.
Flow like water or the blood on the red moon.
Embrace her, the goddess of chaos. She is owed her sacrifice. Walk into the wilderness of your own mind. Face your fears. What is it you do not know about how you can become better? What is it you never allowed yourself to believe about meaning, about what you mean? What stands between you and self-worth?
Nothing, ever, but your own choices.
We are here because we are not fighting. So perhaps it’s worth it. Or maybe there’s just a smarter way to fight.
“Conscious and unconscious do not make a whole when one of them is suppressed and injured by the other. If they must contend, at least let it be a fair fight with equal rights on both sides. Both are aspects of life. Consciousness should defend its reason and protect itself, and the chaotic life of the unconscious should be given the chance of having its way too – as much of it as we can stand. This means open conflict and open collaboration at once. That, evidently, is the way human life should be. It is the old game of hammer and anvil: between them the patient iron is forged into an indestructible whole, an ‘individual.’ This, roughly, is what I mean by the individuation process.”― C.G. Jung