“To malign or judge a woman’s inherited physicality is to make generation after generation of anxious and neurotic women. If she is taught to hate her own body…she is cheated of her confidence. It causes her to perseverate about whether she is a good person or not, and bases her self-worth on how she looks instead of who she is. It pressures her to use up her energy worrying about how much food she consumes or the readings on the scale and tape measure. It keeps her preoccupied, colors everything she does, plans, and anticipates. It is unthinkable in the instinctive world that a woman should live preoccupied by appearance this way.” Estes
One of the most impactful books I read in my 20s was Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. During my teenage years as a competitive athlete, I completely lost the “wildness” of my body. I learned to control and manipulate my body; I overtrained, under ate and lost connection to my appetites and desires.
Estes book shook me to my core. My whole body said “this is what you’ve been missing- get back your wildness”. But I didn’t see or know any women who were wild, natural. They were all controlling their bodies, attempting to shrink, to take up less space. What would trusting my “wildness” look like? When and how did we all forget?
“A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving. Yet, separation from the wildish nature causes a woman’s personality to become meager, thin, ghostly, spectral. We are not meant to be puny with frail hair and inability to leap up, inability to chase, to birth, to create a life. When woman’s lives are in stasis, or filled with ennui, it is always time for the wildish woman to emerge…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 draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one’s cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as possible.”
Every Friday I work with girls and women with Eating Disorders. It is painful to watch a woman torture her body, to deny her appetite, to shrink and fade. Is she killing herself in order to prove worth, prove control, prove character, be more visually pleasing, more financially valuable? When did she lose her “wildness”. When and how did she learn to deny her own existence?
“A woman cannot make the culture more aware by saying “Change.” But she can change her own attitude toward herself, thereby causing devaluing projections to glance off. She does this by taking back her body. By not forsaking the joy of her natural body, by not purchasing the popular illusion that happiness is only bestowed on those of a certain configuration or age, by not waiting or holding back to do anything, and by taking back her real life, and living it full bore, all stops out”
I’d love to be that change, and I’d love to help prompt that change in others.