I find myself in my head a lot. Over thinking, planning and analysing. More often than not I operate from a head space, or so is my perception of myself. My body has a super loud voice, viscerally telling me if something is right or not, but it’s taken me 33 years to learn really how to truly listen to it when it shouts at me. Even if it is as simple as communicating to those around me that I’m doing something outside of my comfort zone and am feeling super anxious about it.
I got back from Evans Lake on Saturday. A beautiful camp on one of those stereotypically breathtakingly beautiful and picturesque lakes with pine trees right to the shoreline and towering blue mountains in the background that Canada is so famous for. The air filled with bird and tree noises during the day, woodpeckers tapping out bugs from trees, the ravens caw echoing across the lake as it imitates some bizzare cackle, and the trees talking to each other around the valley. The water lapps listfully at the dock I’m sitting on in the sun, watching it sparkle and dance over the slight ripples the wind is making in the water. I’m feeling very vulnerable and open – witch camp has this magical way of creating a safe space for me to explore all my deepest vulnerabilities and edges, roughly destroy any lingering crutches or unhelpful security blankets, then provide the support and love needed to put my heart back together and repattern, and re-wild my being into a stronger, more self loving, more self confident version of me.
My comfort zone is interpersonal skills, performance, facilitation, or things that ask me to step outside myself and observe, analyse or look at myself in relation to others. Looking at myself in relation to nature, the earth and my existence and communication with it, is all very new ground.
Innately I am drawn to it. My mind calms when I am in the forest, swimming or splashing in a waterfall, but when I am not moving, when my body is not galavanting my brain across a mountain path, I find the brain voice takes over. I start looking at things technically, as photographer, or even drifting mentally far away checking in with all the minute and mundane carry on in my life that may even be the slightest bit worrisome.
Being the city version of wild has been a massive part of my story, drug and alcohol fueled mischief and mayhem. Getting lost in music, darkness and nightclub lights to shut up the constant static dribble in my brain. Here my body is vibrating to the boom of bass, writhing in a sea of hollow beings, zombied and numbed out of this reality into a darker world. All the connections or what I thought were friendships from this era of my life have evaporated, realising these friendships were parasitic for what they could use me for. My little socially awkward, shy inner child learning to ‘perform’ friendship, devastated and longing for connections that meant something more lasting.
Survival is animalistic, and sometimes comes at a cost of shutting down bodily and emotive responses to accomplish a task. I’ve run away from life and survival several times, turning to sex work to survive, selling my body to feed, clothe myself and at one point in secret also support a partner. All my life I have admired the strong ones, who stood up for sex workers, were proud of their profession and choice of work. My experience felt shameful, full of guilt from my conservative christian upbringing. I couldn’t talk about it, I can’t even physically remember large chunks of time I spent servicing the patriarchy.
Since I started talking about it again I have been slowly healing, taking down my walls against all those I saw that resembled the men who used to use me in exchange for my survival.
Belonging. What is belonging? Is it feelings of validation that are not connected with sexual gratification? Is it feelings of being worthy or valued that doesn’t come with expectations of submission or meeting sexual needs? Part of my healing process has been crucially connected to the difference between intimacy and sex. Feeling connected, belonging and letting go the desire to please, present a version of my self curated for the audience at hand in order to please, or be liked. I always felt like didn’t belong in my conservative christian family who still to this day pray daily for me to repent of my homosexual lifestyle, and who would probably turn a horrified shade of pale if they read this story.
I am a feral Sagittarian body, held in check by a cautious, risk averse, slow processing Capricorn brain, with my delicate Piscean moon flowing with emotions, feels and love looking for a safe place to share and be seen and heard.
I allowed my body and emotions to drive me all last week at camp. I let it break me, re-wild me, re-wire, re-pattern me. We had a cave, we wrote, scrawled cried our stories out on the cave walls. We talked to the earth, listened to the guidance of the stones, connected our hearts, skin, bones and beings with the living things all around us. Green bloods, the bones and life force of animals worked into our magick with permission, consent. Remembering that we were all once in constant communication, that the seasons worked around and within us all. Throwing off the constraints of the over culture of today, the expectations, the internalised shame and believing in each other, being and believing in ourselves.
I stood in that circle of humans, markings of my feral wildness smudged all over my face. I had made my mark on the cave wall. An outline of my hand, the word “body” and a love heart.
My commitment to myself, to stay true to myself, be aware of painful of situations where my bodily responses completely shut down in order to survive. A pact of self love and kindness that I am worthy of love, I am loveable, and that I can find intimacy that isn’t sexually dependant, and sex that is conscious, gloriously consensual and doesn’t ever define my worth as a human to myself or to others. My body went into shock. I stopped being conscious of the story my lips were sharing with the group. I let go, broke, and my mind fully released control – to my body. Tears flooded down my face, and my lungs heaved with relief of releasing and acknowledging my trauma and pain. Not comparing it to the gravity of the experience that others shared, but appreciating the healing, and space held around me. Conscious of the arms that slinked in around me, not conscious of who they were, as I collapsed into the soft caring shoulder offered to me. You all held me in my moment of grief, vulnerability and fragile healing. You all have a special place in my heart.
Feral. Wild. Animism. Belonging.