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Women Who Run With the Wolves

It was my birthday today. I kind of think of birthdays as similar to New Year’s Eve, a time to reflect on where I’ve been since my last birthday and where I’m going, and whether I’m going where I want to go, which made me start thinking about wolves, packs of wolves. Stay with me, my leap of topic will all make sense, I promise.

I was brought up to believe that you never let anyone see your weaknesses. You also never allow anyone to see what’s important to you or to see you too happy because this “seeing” brings in the wolves. They circle and they attack, not trying to take away your life, but trying to take away your joy.

Isn’t that a heck of a belief system to bring up a child with? Unfortunately, in my life, this bit of wisdom has turned out more often than not to be true.

Living is risky. Loving is definitely risky. You open yourself up. You let people in and in doing so, you make yourself vulnerable.

But it’s like the choice between going through the pain of a situation or not — not going through it means not living and what kind of option is that? Things can and generally do turn around before they flip flop and go south again. I’m learning that these ups and downs both have their pluses and minuses.

People say I’m such a strong woman because I keep picking myself up from life’s circumstances and have found a way to turn sadness into humor.

But I’m not as strong as I’d like to be. I’m too wishy washy. I am prone to allowing people to tell me what to think and do. If you’re happy, I’m happy, or at least I try to be. Truthfully, sometimes I’m a little resentful.

Wanting to make other people happy is not a bad thing, but it needs to be moderated by a solid set of values, things that you just won’t compromise on because they are too important and to compromise on those things will leave marks. To give on some things is to sell your soul.

Words are intrinsically important to me. Expressing myself, being heard, and reading and listening to what other people have to say. A pretty funny do or die value for a person who is verbally and socially awkward, who lives so much insider her head.

But that holding back and keeping myself to myself comes from those childhood beliefs. The thing is, I’m not a child anymore. I need to learn to take rejection and not see it as a measure of my worth. After all, perhaps I just haven’t been hanging with trustworthy people. Perhaps, I’ve been running with the wrong pack.

Have you ever read “Women Who Run with the Wolves” and I would add to the title, “Instead of Running Away From Them”? It’s about the Wild Woman archetype as expressed in myths and stories. Parts of it are a little bit “out there” and you might snicker, but here’s an example of what’s in the book:

To adjoin the instinctual nature… means to establish territory, to find one’s pack, to be in one’s body with certainty and pride regardless of the body’s gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one’s behalf, to be aware, alert… to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can.”… [The Wild Woman] resides in the guts, not in the head.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

My Wild Woman day included riding Luke for the first time this year.

He was full of energy. Since I was trying to constrain the forward propulsion, the energy went into a lifting in place, at times it was a floating springiness, other times a nasty jackhammer pounding. But Luke listened and did what I asked as best he could, with his winter coat and lack of conditioning, and rusty forgetfulness. Poor guy —  he looked like this after just a light 40 minute ride. Too bad Paint Girl doesn’t live closer so she could do her clipping magic.

It was wonderful to be riding again. It was smiley, feel goodness to be outside and in-tune. I sometimes think my ego is getting the best of me, but riding feels so right to me, so natural. It’s where I belong and feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s where I feel connected and I feel reassured that I can handle whatever comes my way.

As an additional birthday treat, I went to dinner with my good friend Bev. We went to a place called Northeast Social Club, where we’ve never been before but would definitely go back. Good food, awesome conversation, and lots of laughs. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful friend. And better yet, Bev, Lynn and I have a writing class together on Friday and Saturday. I solemnly swear that I am finishing one of the books that I’ve started before the end of the year!

I heard the frogs last night and knew that spring is here. I had forgotten about them, how I love that sound, how wherever I live, I want to open my windows at night and hear the frog symphony.

My poor realtor, she has quite a challenge ahead of her. Maery’s housing requirements —  trees and toads.

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13 Comments

  1. Happy Birthday to YOU!!
    Glad to hear you got to go riding. It’s so therapeutic, isn’t it? I swear all the worries just go away when I am riding my horses!
    I would clip your horses if you lived closer, the more practice the better!! That is one of the reasons I clipped Brandy, they sweat so bad with all that hair!
    And frogs? Ours have been out for a month now. Actually they came out a month early, since we have had warmer weather than usual. I LOVE FROGS! I could listen to them all night too!

  2. Happy Birthday Maery Rose. What better way to spend it, than going for a ride on Luke. Looks like your weather has improved quite a bit. Have fun writing this weekend.

  3. Paint Girl – Every year, I swear I’m going to learn how to use my clippers, and every year, I don’t, not even on the bridle path where I just end up using scissors. Maybe this year?

    Lori – I’m going to have to try and be disciplined and get the 15 pages together that I need to bring to class. I’m really looking forward to the class. The instructor is an excellent teacher!

  4. Happy Birthday!

    There’s nothing like a good ride for a present! Even on a “winterized” equine (mine look very similar to Luke, only with more mud).

  5. Here’s sendin’ ya a big old Ozarks HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAERY ROSE!!! I hope ya have the best day ever. I’m so glad you got to ride, it’s so freeing. My father would get very upset if I cried and taught me that was a sign of weakness, talk about messin’ a kid up! Yep, I can still suck up the most horrific situations and never ever let ’em see me cry.

    You have a great day filled with birthday blessings from above!!!

  6. Happy Birthday! I’m so glad you went riding (and eating) on your birthday, and had some fun. This post really resonates with me. I had long run with the wrong pack before I got together with new friends and read “the artists way”…and things just snow balled from there!!
    Cheers…see you friday!

  7. Happy Belated Birthday! Another “March sister”.

    Haven’t heard the frogs at our pond yet… I enjoy the spring sounds. Birds have been singing outside my office window and the morning sun coming in that east window each morning is feeling wonderful.

    I’m listening to Chosen by a Horse (on CD) by Susan Richards. In her memoir she talks about how she always considered herself a writer even though she hadn’t written anything. 🙂 One line she wrote said she was “pregnant with a book”. This is the first of hers that I have “read” or listened to as is the case. And I’m enjoying it. Her wait was worth the wait. Good luck with your writing.

  8. Happy Birthday!! You and I have very close birthdays but mine didn’t turn out so great this year. Oh well.

    It sounds like it’s truly spring there. Riding Luke, hearing toads (?? that’s a June event here!), seeing your hands with no mittens in the phot. Wow, please keep sending those images, I need them! We just got walloped with another couple of feet of snow, and my smile is starting to turn into a frown… But, it’s this way every year, and then spring bursts!

    It sounds like riding a horse for you is like riding a bike for me.

  9. Maery Rose..Happy Birthday Belated! One more year behind you..it looks like you had a great ride..Frogs or the Spring Peepers? I haven’t heard either yet..it is an early spring this year:)

  10. happy belated birthday to you!

    i loved the myths in women who run with the wolves and i like your analogy of running from the wolves! i too am a born people pleaser, it’s so true that in order to be “strong” one needs a core set of values which cannot be swayed.

    well i hope this year brings all of the rides, rivers, trees and toads you wish for!

  11. Oh no! I apologize for missing your blog for so long. My wrist has been bothering me, so I’ve been giving it a break.

    Happy Belated Birthday!!

    Sounds like it could not have been more perfect. Riding is a great way to spend some meaningful time with yourself and nature.
    Poor Luke really worked himself into a froth. Too bad he didn’t just relax and enjoy the stroll. hehe!

    You sound a lot like me, or at least the way I used to be. I’ve grown a lot over the last year, and now I don’t worry about making other people happy all the time, at the expense of myself being unhappy or upset.
    It’s very freeing. But I do still have to work at it. We women always deal with guilt.

    I bet wolves never feel guilty. They just live in the moment….just like horses.
    We should be more like them, don’t you think?

    Great pics and art in your post, too. 🙂

    ~Lisa

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