Updated: Jan 27
Since I was a young girl, I had an aching soul. I had so much love to give the world, but nobody wanted it. I was called "needy." I have always been extremely sensitive, empathetic, "weird". I was wild to the core. I loved animals, and spent most of my time outside, with barefeet and unbrushed hair, perched at the top of the highest tree I could find. I didn't quite understand how, nor did I care to learn how to fit in. I was just different. The kids in school were all so preoccupied with acting "mature" and "grown up" and dressing nice and gossip...it was as if I had this innate sense of my mortality at a very young age. I wanted to be a kid, I wanted to soak it in, I wanted to enjoy it.
I was an old soul.
I used to pretend I was a Native American, who could shapeshift into animals. Much of my childhood was spent in an imaginary world, because reality was very lonely. Living in a relatively small town with a small school, I was bullied and excluded by the entire school, from first grade until my junior year of highschool. Even the teachers didn't understand me, they didn't see my wild and creative soul, they saw a kid with ADHD who needed to go away.
Deeply spiritual, I identified very much with Native American beliefs and culture, and often expressed interest in living that way to my parents and family. I would cry when the kids would kill bugs in school, and I tried to save as many as I could. I would cry when we would enter a restaurant with animal heads on the wall. I just wasn't born into the right culture.
As the years passed, and the bullying grew worse, my self-esteem and self-worth vanished. I was desperate for friendship, I was desperate to be accepted, so I clung to whoever would show me some attention. This lead to years of abusive relationships, and worsening of my depression, anxiety, and self worth. My instinctive nature, my intuition, my inner fire, was long forgotten. I hated my life, my self, and I felt hopeless. I was spiraling, and still the teachers didn't see my pain. They saw a problem, and kicked me out of school.
"The Mistaken Zygote feels torn. You might say her wolf mother has hold of her tail, her worldly family has hold of her arms. It is not long before she is crying in pain, snarling and biting herself and others, and finally, the deathly quiet. You look in her eyes and you see ojos del cielo, sky eyes, the eyes of a person who is no longer here. While socialization for children is an important thing, to kill the interior criatura is to kill the child. The West Africans recognize that to be harsh with a child is to cause its soul to retreat from its body, sometimes just a few feet away, other times many days’ walk away. While the needs of the child’s soul must be balanced with her need for safety and physical care and with carefully examined notions about “civilized behavior,” I always worry for those who are too well behaved; they often have that “faint soul” look in their eyes. Something is not right. A healthy soul shines through the persona on most days and blazes through on others."
-Clarissa Pinkola Estes
That was my first initiation. I always loved reading, but now I began to read about things that would shape my becoming. I studied world religions, belief systems, psychology, and philosophy. I started a daily yoga practice and incorporated mindfulness into my daily life. Buddhism was my best teacher.
When I went back to high school in my senior year, I was a new woman! I was happier and healthier than ever! I did yoga in gym while the girls sat in the corners talking, and the boys lifted weights. Yet I was still weird. My yoga was weird. My meditating was weird. Everything I said was weird. A few teachers began to see who I was, and it was nice to have their support and validation, but I was still a big fish.
I lived a pretty stable life for about ten years after highschool, aside from being in abusive relationships. My final downfall was getting introduced to percocet. I never touched drugs before, never wanted to, but I was in so much pain after my root canal and wisdom teeth removal. The truth is, I fell in love with the first 5mg pill. All my pain, physical and mental, was gone, for the first time in my life. This lead to a seven year struggle, with pills and alcohol, it was just another manifestation of the Buddhist concept of the hungry ghost. First it was my unhealthy relationships, and then substance abuse, luckily my anxiety kept me from trying harder drugs. I knew my life would be over. I fell and fell, and I landed in a place of pure acceptance and tenderness. My first AA meeting. Where my life began to change.
"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."-Kahlil Gibran
In my darkest hours, I discovered something within me, but also all around me. Something I always had, it had never left. I didn't know what it was right away, but I began searching and studying. My first step in rebuilding my life from the ashes, was to figure out what made me happy, and pursue it. So I finally started reading all the books I never read because I was always so wrapped up in feeding my addictions. I started going to workshops and womens circles, and finding people like me.
Finding my people, was a huge part of my healing process. I was no longer weird or crazy, and most importantly, I was no longer alone in the world. But before I could find my people, I had to dig very deep to find my true self.
As I have healed, I have done things I never thought possible. I've created and facilitated sacred circles, I've gone off to far away places by myself and stayed with strangers from other countries, I've lived alone by the beach, where the sounds of the ocean sang me to sleep, and I've lived with people I love, whos company I cherish to this day.
I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would lead a thing... I was the girl who was always picked last in gym class! I've given speeches and sang on stages, I have brought people together, I've organized workshops and womens retreats!
I, the abused one, have made love, had a child, I've nourished my loved ones, and I have nourished my soul. I've found my dearest soul friends. I am still bringing back the lost pieces of my soul, but I am no longer doing it alone.
This is why I have created Spirit Echo. Because nobody should have to search through the darkness alone.
Much love to you all <3
Here is an excerpt from "Women Who Run With the Wolves" By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
“Over the years of my practice it became clear that this issue of belonging sometimes needs to be hailed from a lighter side, for levity can shake some of the pain out of a woman. I began to tell my clients this story I created called “The Mistaken Zygote,” mainly as a way to help them look at their outsider material with a more empowering metaphor. This is how the story goes.
Have you ever wondered how you managed to end up in such an odd family as yours? If you have lived your life as an outsider, as a slightly odd or different person, if you are a loner, one who lives at the edge of the mainstream, you have suffered. Yet there also comes a time to row away from all that, to experience a different vantage point, to emigrate back to the land of one’s own kind. Let there be no more suffering, no more attempting to figure where you went wrong. The mystery of why you were born to whomever you were born to is over, finis, terminado, finished. Rest for a moment at the bow and refresh yourself in the wind coming from your homeland.
For years women who carry the mythic life of the Wild Woman archetype have silently cried, “Why am I so different? Why was I born into such a strange [or unresponsive] family?” Wherever their lives wanted to burst forth, someone was there to salt the ground so nothing could grow. They felt tortured by all the proscriptions against their natural desires. If they were nature children, they were kept under roofs. If they were scientists, they were told to be mothers. If they wanted to be mothers, they were told they’d better fit the mold entirely. If they wanted to invent something, they were told to be practical. If they wanted to create, they were told a woman’s domestic work is never done. Sometimes they tried to be good according to whichever standards were most popular, and didn’t realize till later what they really wanted, how they needed to live.
Then, in order to have a life, they experienced the painful amputations of leaving their families, the marriages they had promised under oath would be till death, the jobs that were to be the springboards to something more stultifying but better paying. They left dreams scattered all over the road. Often the women were artists who were trying to be sensible by spending eighty percent of their time doing labor that aborted their creative lives on a daily basis. Although the scenarios are endless, one thing remains constant: they were pointed out very early on as “different’’ with a negative connotation.
In actual fact, they were passionate, individual, inquiring, and in their right instinctive minds. So the answer to Why me, Why this family, Why am I so different, is, of course, that there are no answers to these questions. Still, the ego needs something to chew on before it will let go, so I propose three answers regardless. (She may pick whichever one she likes, but she must pick at least one. Most pick the last one, but any are sufficient) Prepare yourself. Here they are: We are born the way we are, and into the odd families we came through 1) just because (almost no one will believe this), 2) the Self has a plan, and our pea-brains are too tiny to parse it (many find this a hopeful idea), or 3) because of the Mistaken Zygote Syndrome (well… yes, maybe… but what is that?). Your family thinks you’re an alien. You have feathers, they have scales. Your idea of a good time is the forest, the wilds, the inner life, the outer majesty. Their idea of a good time is folding towels. If this is so for you in your family, then you are a victim of the Mistaken Zygote Syndrome.
Your family moves slowly through time, you move like the wind; they are loud, you are soft, or they are silent and you sing. You know because you just know. They want proof and a three- hundred-page dissertation. Sure enough, it’s the Mistaken Zygote Syndrome. You’ve never heard of that? Well see, the Zygote Fairy was flying over your hometown one night, and all the little zygotes in her basket were hopping and jumping with excitement. You were indeed destined for parents who would have understood you, but the Zygote Fairy hit turbulence and, oops, you fell out of the basket over the wrong house. You fell head over heels, head over heels, right into a family that was not meant for you. Your “real” family was three miles farther on. That is why you fell in love with a family that wasn’t yours, and that lived three miles over. You always wished Mrs. and Mr. So- and-So were your real parents. Chances are they were meant to be. This is why you tap-dance down the hallways even though you come from a family of television spores. This is why your parents are alarmed every time you come home or call. They worry, “What will she do next? She embarrassed us last time, God only knows what she will do now. Ai!” They cover their eyes when they see you coming and it is not because your light dazzles them.
All you want is love. All they want is peace. The members of your family, for their own reasons (because of their preferences, innocence, injury, constitution, mental illness, or cultivated ignorance), are not so good at being spontaneous with the unconscious, and of course your visit home conjures the trickster archetype, the one who stirs things up. So before you’ve even broken bread together, the trickster madly dances by just dying to drop one of her hairs into the family stew. Even though you don’t mean to upset the family, they will be upset no matter what. When you show up, everyone and everything seems to go quite mad. It is a sure sign of wild zygotes in the family if the parents are offended all the time and the children feel as though they can never do anything right.
The unwild family wants only one thing, but the Mistaken Zygote is never able to figure out what that is, and if she could, it would make her hair stand up in exclamation points. Prepare yourself, I will tell you this big secret. This is what they really want from you, that mysterious, momentous thing.
The unwild want consistency. They want you to be exactly the same today as you were yesterday. They wish you not to change with the days, but to remain as at the beginning of Steaming Time. Ask the family if they want consistency and they will answer affirmatively. In all things? No, they will say, only in the things that matter. Whatever these things are that count in their value systems, they are too often anathema to the wild nature of women. Unfortunately, “the things that matter” to them are not cohesive with “the things that matter” to the wild child. Consistency in manner is an impossible sentence for Wild Woman, for her strength is her adaptation to change, her innovation, her dancing, her howling, her growling, her deep instinctual life, her creative fire.
She does not show consistency through uniformity, but rather through her creative life, through her consistent perceptions, quick-sightedness, flexibility, and deftness. If we were to name only one thing that makes the Wild Woman what she is, it would be her responsiveness. The word response comes from the Latin “to pledge, to promise”—and that is her strong suit. Her perceptive and deft responses are a consistent promise and pledge to the creative forces, be it Duende, the goblin-spirit behind passion, or Beauty, Art, or the Dance, or Life. Her promise to us, if we will not thwart it, is that she will cause us to live. She will cause us to live fully alive, responsively and consistently so.
In this way, the Mistaken Zygote gives her fealty, not to her family but to her interior Self. This is why she feels torn. You might say her wolf mother has hold of her tail, her worldly family has hold of her arms. It is not long before she is crying in pain, snarling and biting herself and others, and finally, the deathly quiet. You look in her eyes and you see ojos del cielo, sky eyes, the eyes of a person who is no longer here. While socialization for children is an important thing, to kill the interior criatura is to kill the child.
The West Africans recognize that to be harsh with a child is to cause its soul to retreat from its body, sometimes just a few feet away, other times many days’ walk away. While the needs of the child’s soul must be balanced with her need for safety and physical care and with carefully examined notions about “civilized behavior,” I always worry for those who are too well behaved; they often have that “faint soul” look in their eyes. Something is not right. A healthy soul shines through the persona on most days and blazes through on others. Where there is gross injury, the soul flees. Sometimes it drifts or bolts so far away that it takes masterful propitiation to coax it back. A long time must pass before such a soul will trust enough to return, but it can be accomplished. The retrieval requires several ingredients: naked honesty, stamina, tenderness, sweetness, ventilation of rage, and humor. Combined, these make a song that calls the soul back home.”