“You … are the wolves. Surrounding you today is your wolf pack. Look around.
Don’t lose each other.
Leave these sacred grounds united, storm the valleys together, and be our salvation.”
Are you still carrying the “good girl” title?
Are your shoulders slumped from carrying the world’s weight and expectations?
Are you trying to bat away that niggling voice that keeps saying there’s got to be more?
I did. I got tired, really really tired… and sick.
I got tired of tossing and turning at night with that voice shouting at me that said you know you ought to follow me for once.
I got tired of feeling like my worth depended on my title (mom, wife, daughter, student, job title, [insert your own title here])
I got sick from the stress of feeling I was not good enough!
More importantly, I was tired of putting off giving myself the time and space and more importantly, the permission to explore, …to wander around, to risk making mistakes.
Here’s the sad part. I tried avoiding making any mistakes. I tried avoiding failures. I’d make mistakes anyway. I’d fall anyway.
Then the sad realization hit, I hadn’t learned how to be me. I didn’t know who I was when I set aside all those titles.
And, I felt lonely, extremely lonely, trying to figure it all out. I felt like a failure. I was scared and lonely. There was no safety net.
Once I realized and accepted that I was lonely, I saw stories of women trying to do it all and be it all alone, everywhere. I saw that they were hanging on by a thread too, without a safety net!
In proving that we are equal and that we deserve to be treated equally, we are still carrying generations worth of load— of our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers, … of women of both past and present who aren’t treated as an equal
— we’ve overburdened ourselves and we are trying to go at it all alone.
That’s how we’ve conditioned to operate, together but still alone, working hard to prove that we were a good mother, daughter, wife, everything else but ourselves.
Taking a breather seemed like a guilty pleasure, falling ill seemed like a burden, asking for a chance seemed almost absurd, and having fun seemed out of character and an invitation.
But see, just like Abby Wambach said in her Barnard College Commencement speech, we are not individual red riding hood too curious to stay safe from the wolf but part of a wolf pack.
You may not be comfortable calling yourself a wolf just yet but hear me out, will you?
Wolves are not just the ferocious animals that kill, they possess these characteristics that we women share: “keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion” (Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., Women Who Run With the Wolves).
More so, wolves, even those small in number can transform not just the ecosystem like that of the Yellowstone National Park… but also, its physical geography.
Healthy wolves and healthy women … [are] relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength, … experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances,… fiercely stalwart and very brave.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
So, we women, who can warm up to the idea that we are wolves and are meant to be part of a wolf pack can change our community and the culture for the better.
You see, my wolfpack consists of women and men who can relate to the stories of trying to be a “good girl” or a “good boy.”
- I am an immigrant woman who wants to do her part in ending the taboos around periods because women are still considered impure and untouchable because they menstruate.
- I am a highly educated woman (with a Ph.D.) who had to scramble to find her worth and her voice when she couldn’t find a job.
- I was a contractor to a Fortune 500 company who worked alongside the full-time employees, wanted to be a part of it all and was merely a second-class citizen.
- An individual trying to learn how to ride or hide from the wave of changes.
- I am an introvert who felt she did not belong until she started to understand the power of introverts.
- I am a parent who is trying to learn how to raise an independent daughter in a nuclear family where other family members aside from her parents are just infrequent visitors.
- I am a parent and an educator who understands how the current education system hinders students to become the whole person that they are.
- I am a person who is very lonely trying to do it all and be it all and flailing and failing at everything. I am an awakened woman who has started to trust and listen to her inner voice
- And, I am an optimist who believes that we can do more. We can “unite our sacred grounds” and “storm the valleys” if need be.
Who would your wolfpack consist of?
So, this Women’s day, I urge you to quit holding the “good girl” title and listen, really listen to yourself.
I urge you to give yourselves the permission to:
Ask for help.
Lend a hand.
Sing out loud.
Jump up high.
Find at least one forgotten part of you or the whole of you!
Find Your Pack!