Archives for the month of: May, 2011

i’ve long ago lost the ability to make a direct correlation between the food that i eat and my weight.  this is one of the things about which i’m quite proud.  my weight gain and loss and gain and loss are idealogical, environmental, emotional.

right now, i am a little shocked at how chunky i am.  of course, being the daughter of a constantly dieting mother, as i’m sure most women of this culture are, i will probably always see myself that way.  it is a struggle to not equate weight and worth as a woman.  even if you get the internal voice taken care of, society/media/advertising doesn’t let you slide for a second.

my extra weight that i’m carrying (don’t ask me how much.  i haven’t weighed myself in almost eight years.) is a symptom of something else.  of course, i didn’t start having a weight “problem” until i started dieting and it only got worse when i became a vegetarian at 18.  dieting led to a binge eating disorder (because i was fucking STARVING!).

just in case you’re thinking that if you just find the right diet, you’ll lost the weight, let me tell you two things:

1. diets make you fat

2. diets make you unhealthy

3.  diets make you crazy*

*a bonus thing, i’m feeling generous.

here’s the tweak, though.  diets externally imposed have this effect.

my body imposed a diet that people like to call a paleo/primal diet.  i eat grains or dairy and i’m sick.  i don’t and i’m not.  pretty easy.

i’ve been sick a lot and depressed quite a bit.  it is partially because i haven’t been eating well for my body, but it is also related to why i’ve gained weight.  my life has been crappy for the past 18 months.

i just really haven’t recovered from the twin shocks of the earthquake in haiti and my car accident.

another thing that i know for sure about my weight is that whenever it looms large in my consciousness as something to control, there is something else in my life that needs my attention.  right now, it is my health.

don’t confuse the two.  it’s easy to do.  we’ve been so uber conditioned to equate skinny to healthy and physical fitness as overall health.

health is a lot more than jean size.  you can be skinny and sick.  you can be capable of running a marathon but hate yourself.  you can be a size two and be dying of cancer.  you can lift 2x your body weight but like to torture kittens.  your weight is but a tiny, tiny diet sized sliver of the pie of health.

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i hate the wave of spirituality, or whatever you wanna call it, that is all about ‘killing the ego’.  of course, to be clear, i hate most waves of spirituality.  on some level, they are all different forms of escapism from the messiness of life.

the ego is the bad guy i a lot of movements, i know.  i may even be attacking the golden cow of buddhism, which people tend to let squeak by as “philosophy” and not “religion”.  but, i’ve spent the last three days in bed, unable to even read because my fever was so ridiculous, and i’m feelin’ cranky, so even, you buddhism, are going down!

let’s go back to psych 101.  there’s none of my love wasted on freud, but he created the idea of the ego, the id, and the super-ego that we’ve all agreed to run with.  the id is our wildest, most “primitive” self (a wild child), the super-ego is the rule follower (it absorbs all the stories we’re told by our parents and society and sees them as law), and in between, is our ego.  our ego is what tries to negotiate between them.  our ego is our own self-identification between our primitive self and our societal self.  it is the voice that says:  this is what “I” think.

i’m not clear on how he got to be such a bad guy.  maybe it’s because neither society nor spirituality wants us to be able to say: this is what “I” think.

of course, the super-ego, the dogmatic follower of doctrine, is in all sorts of trouble from the get-go.  not because the super-ego is bad (seriously, do we still have to deal with good/bad, evil/holy?  things just ARE.), but because the stories it has to absorb from our parents and from society are, in a word, fucked.

i feel bad for my poor ego.  how does it reconcile the bullshit patriarchal paradigm and the wild child within?  it’s an enormous task.  the last thing i want to do is kill it.

looking into the world, i don’t see a problem with people’s inflated sense of self.  in general, the problem seems to be that people’s sense of self is incredibly fragile, brittle.  the ego can be a malleable, bendable thing so that it doesn’t shatter, but doing away with it completely is tragic.

it is hard for the ego to develop healthily in an environment that: 1. doesn’t want it.  and 2. lies.  the self has to incorporate a mountain of lies from society and then apologize for its own existence.

don’t kill your ego.  tell it the truth.  let it know that it doesn’t have to be rigid.  only imbeciles don’t change their mind, but your sense of self can remain intact.

 

there is a chinese proverb that i tripped over and fell softly into while skipping through the Tao of Pooh a few months ago.

“one disease, long life.  no disease, short life.”

depression is my one disease.

i get sick with other things, obviously.  i’m actually writing now through a head that feels full of concrete and joints that feel like rice krispies-fragile and snap, crackling, and popping.  i have a wicked cold.  (i just spent my first time in Boston so i just want to make it clear that it is not a wicked cool cold, just wicked.)

here’s the thing with one disease that follows you around: at some point, you need to listen to it.  disease is always, always, always, a call to act.  i don’t buy that whatever you get sick with is your fault, but if you ignore it, what happens next is your responsibility.

something like depression is tricky because it is your brain that is first affected so your decision making capacity diminishes.  however, i’ve been depressed enough to feel it coming.  i’ve gotten pretty good at knowing, okay, if i don’t do something right now to tweak my self-care, i will be depressed in six weeks.

any disease: diabetes, fibromyalgia, cancer, depression are teachers.  they will show you how to take care of your self, if you allow them.

for a fact, i will get depressed if i don’t take care of myself.  since everything is connected, when i don’t eat sugar, when i go outside for some fresh air early in the day, when i sleep 9 hours a night (i can’t sleep less or more and expect to keep depression at bay), when i eat plenty of good fat and watch my carb intake, i keep depression in its place AND increase the quality of my life.

depression is so good for letting you know that you need to pay attention to yourself.  there is something going on in your life that is not right for you.  learning how to fix those things is certainly a skill set.  learning to express your anger in ways that don’t hurt anyone or anything, discovering how to feed your brain and body in a way that nourishes it, facing the injustices that your psyche can’t accept and making either peace with them or changing them if you can: these are some examples.

i’ll be back with more when all the cold is gone and i only have my disease to serve.

yeah, i wish.

today was spent sitting in the car, then sitting at the aviation school, then sitting in the car, then falling into the sleep of the dead, then sitting in my living room to type up a forever long annotated bibliography for school.  not wild, kids, not wild at all.

however, my son had a pretty cool day:

what?  a picture of a mosquito?  what’s cool about that?  you say…

ah, if only you had super laser vision, you’d see that that is a plane that my son is piloting.  yep, my offspring, who i carried in my womb, birthed, breastfed and diapered was flying a plane today.

it was his first flight lesson.  he sat in the actual pilot’s seat of an actual plane.  and he flew the darn thing.

the distance from that plane that you see here in the picture is the distance i’m most comfortable being from planes and my flesh was all up in the drivers seat.

whatever.  so what if a fifteen year old boy is cooler than me, right?  right?

seriously, though.  i’m SO proud of him.  his face when he got out of the cockpit after they landed was like a piece of the sun!

granted, it’s a bit more of a mouthful than war, what is it good for?  and i’m about to rock your collective world by changing the answer to that question.  war is good for absolutely nothin, but i’m not convinced that that’s the case when it comes to depression.

yes, you read that right.  i believe that depression has a purpose. it has taken me 32 years of experience with the disease to come to that conclusion.  i’ll wait here while you do the math.  i’m thirty-eight today, so yes, i was six years old the first time that i experienced depression.  parts of me can remember the horrible feelings of wanting life to end.  i’ve also pieced together certain things as an adult looking back at pictures of myself during that time and knowing now the symptoms, seeing them manifest in my second grade self.  depression in someone that young is usually situational, and i’m no exception.

i want to make sure that it’s clear right here and now that i’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, so i can only talk about what i’ve learned through my own research and experience.  the research, lots, the experience, vast.  lets say that if depression was a building, i’ve been on just about every floor, spent time in all the storage closets, know the pattern of the tile, the color of the walls, and there are no windows.

depression is an emotional, genetic, mental, and physical disease.  and, it’s not to be trifled with.  it is dangerous.  i lost my dad to depression and two uncles who i never got to meet.  depression has been very close to winning with it’s little battle with my brain, too.

you can have situational depression which is brought about by something that your psyche deems unacceptable in your life.  you can have a genetic pre-disposition to depression where certain hormones in your brain just don’t do what they should. you can have a depression brought on my mental exhaustion when your brain just gets too tired trying to figure something out that it can’t quite accept.  and, this one is essential to grasp, depression is physical.  just like diabetes is physical, just like cancer is physical.  what i mean is that when depression has you in its talons, your body, not just your brain, doesn’t function to its optimum.  when i am depressed, my body aches.  all of it.  my hair hurts-i can feel each follicle and the place where the hair breaks through the surface of my scalp.  my muscles alternate between humming with electricity and feeling completely used up.  my bones get really heavy and my joints feel made from concrete and old, dried up rubber bands.  and, then, there is the sensitivity to stimulus.  everything is too bright.  everything is too loud.  and everyone is just too fucking talkative.

emotionally, i will feel an ebb and flow between a numbness that stretches my skin to just wanting to cry and cry and cry and cry, and then wanting to watch the world burn. i’ve had low-grade depression which allowed me to function but, just like a low-grade fever, altered my perspective of life.  i’ve had depression so dark, like being in the bottom of a deep well, that there was no light available from the top of  the hole.  i’ve had fleeting depressions (these live on sunday afternoons).  i’ve had depressions that are nothing more than swallowed rage.

depression may manifest differently to you.

all in all, depression is the least fun i’ve ever had.

because depression is so prevalent in my life, i used to think that it was going to win in the end.  i had a very adversarial relationship with the disease.  my vocabulary in my mind was: i’m going to beat this, i have to kill it, i need to rip it from my brain, i want to strangle it.  in all my encounters with depression and even to this day, i’ve never accepted that it was me.

several years ago, i read this book.  although it doesn’t deal specifically with depression, one of the greatest things it offered me was a different vocabulary.  it gave me a different framework for things.  one of Susun Weed‘s greatest contributions to the world is her defining the three traditions of healing.  the book really explains them.  around this time, there were a lot of different things going on at once.  i was finally able to declare myself an atheist, after a lifetime of not having a word for what i knew.  i was studying to be a green witch (yep, a witch who doesn’t believe in spirits.).  i was exploring the fact that i was an animal, pure and simple.  it was a couple years later that i fell upon marks daily apple and started the paleo stuff.  all of these things congealed in me and i realized something very important about my depression.

it existed for a reason. for many reasons, actually.

it existed for an emotional reason.  the decades of abuse, of pain that i’d never found a safe place to express festered and gave depression a comfy nest.

it existed for a genetic reason.  i was very much my father’s child and in this, there was no exception.

it existed for a mental reason.  i’ve been a thinker since the age of six.  i think i always have been, but around that time, my body became a danger zone and my brain was where i went to figure things out.  depression loves a thinker.  picture a pokemon (i know…i know….stay with me).  some of them get stronger through their relationship with their trainer and others get stronger through experience in battle.  (i’ve just consulted the resident expert.)  depression is just like that.  it feeds on me thinking about it, trying to figure it out….it feeds on me attacking it.  the more i do mental exercises to defeat it, the more it grows and transforms into something more powerful.

it exists for a physical reason.  anything felt in the body is a signal.  i don’t trust my brain, even less my mind.  i mean i can do some really cool things with it, but i wouldn’t let it out in public without tying on one of these.  my body, however, (and yours, too, by the way) IS.  NEVER.  WRONG.  once depression hits my body, that’s when i no longer feel powerless.

*tune in friday for more.

**if you want a little homework assignment (especially if you love someone with depression but can’t quite understand why they don’t “just get over it”, please watch this.  if you are depressed right now, DON’T.  just sayin’.  it’s not a mood lifter.)

my furry feral friends, i hope you had wild weekends away from your computers and gadgets.  the outdoor time with just our bodies, plants, and others always refuels me in ways that nothing else really can. since i’m always on island time, i just found out that may is mental health awareness month, so i’ll be writing a couple times a week about depression.  after this month, it will probably make an appearance at least once a week in my posts.  it’s an important issue to me.

but, today is monday, and i like to let y’all know what i did with my weekend.  i would also really, really love to hear how you spent yours.  hint, hint, nudge, nudge.  below.  in the comments.  like, type it in, people! my weekend started early.  i got to go up to montpelier on friday to visit my new friend.  she’s not paleo, but she’s hardcore weston price.  so in the spirit of open mindedness, i sacrificed myself on the altar of a thai rice ball.  sweet baby jeebus, yum!  it was so good that it is the first thing i report in a weekend chock full of awesome.  it was still warm.  of course, gluten free, which is essential.  (in the spirit of full disclosure, weston a. price was my gateway into paleo eating.)

we wandered around for a little bit.  in town, we walked three stories up to a dance school that i hope to frequent in the fall on a very regular basis.  i really miss dance classes.  yes, zumba, i flirt with you and you’re fun and all, but you just can’t scratch that deep dance itch.  (montpelier also has a kickass crossfit gym.  i really, really miss this one that first seduced me with it’s hardcoreness.  this is how i’m easing into the announcement that i’m moving to montpelier in the fall.

okay, back to the weekend. my friend C asks me, rather nonchalantly, if i’d like to go feed some lambs.  what?  hells to the yeah!  so i got to meet the lambs.

bottle feeding the lamb...it would sigh after each swig. melted my little wild heart.

after loving on the lambs, we walked up to check out the others that were able to suckle from their moms.  there were 14 of them.  they were frolicking (literally and only when referring to lambs is that verb viable).  they also had a llama and a cow to keep them company.

llama

cow.

(i’ve labelled them to avoid confusion.)

after the animal time, a.k.a. future buffet recon, we went to her house and snacked on raw cheese, chopped veg, and fermented veg.  we then went to a party and supplied beef sliders and roast turkey.  so yum.

saturday was supposed to be my son’s first flight lesson.  most teenagers rebel with drugs, sex, piercings.  mine can’t.  so, he rebels by deciding to be a pilot.  it’s all very passive-aggressive.  he knows i’m terrified (terrified!) to fly.  born with no wings, no hollow bones and all seems to be proof enough to me that i shouldn’t.  i digress.  his lesson was cancelled due to bad weather.  (vermont, up yours!)

so, he went to spend the night at his buddy’s place.  that’s right, kids.  the wild woman had the place to herself.  she celebrated by watching this movie while awaiting the rapture, going for a run (A. RUN.) with the dog, and ate fish smothered in onions that had been sauteed in almost a cup of butter and a red wine reduction.

first, the movie.  i love this kind of shit.  i would love love love to be a spy and hit man, with all those sweet skills.  but not like in real life, cuz it’s actually pretty boring, all that data collection.  i love the adventure.  but, in my dream, i’m never in any REAL danger and when i find my target, i fire a dart with a slow-release drip of chocolate.

secondly, the run.  after watching jason statham, i always tend to have a mysterious surge of energy.  hmmmm….i chose to pretend i was ‘on a mission’ by tethering the dog to my waist with his leash, putting on my vibrams and heading out the door.  kids, i was surprised by how far i went!  i think that the three things that factored into the distance were: 1. it has been a really, really long time since i’ve run, so i wasn’t burnt out.  it’s not my favorite thing to do.  2. i was on a trail i’d never been on before, so it was novel.  3.  jason statham crush chemicals.  i also didn’t stress myself about it.  it wasn’t a “workout”.  it was just me and the dog out having a good time.  so, i would run, sprint, walk, rinse, repeat.

third, the fish.  it was supposed to be steak.  but, the aforementioned kid put the steak back in the freezer instead of the fridge. the onions were already golden, soft in the butter and the wine, so i just grabbed some frozen fish and let it stew together.  not my first choice, but, butter and wine and onions all combine in a way that the rest doesn’t matter all that much.

of course, the house to myself meant i could get naked and walk around.  so good for the wild soul!  shed those clothes as often as you possible can!

oh, and, yeah, there’s this little thing that happened, too.

if you can't guess, here: my hair is purple in some places.

clearly, someone watched far too much of this as a kid.

sunday was equally full of fun.  the kid came back.  we hit the rocks by the river near our house.  both of us in our vibrams.  i’m still too cold to go completely barefoot.

the water is brown because of tannins, not sewage.

for dinner, since the kid was back, no fish, no onions, no wine.  but, i’ve done my best to raise him right, so it was steak….sauteed in butter.

that was my weekend.  hit me up with your adventures.

george mallory apparently said when he was asked why he needed to climb everest, that he had to do it “because it was there”.

why must we head outside and be wild?  because it’s there….for now.  not to be debbie downer all over your day, but, the wild is disappearing.  both the external wild that beckons from the out of doors and the internal wild voice that pushes to be true to your animal self.

so, after visiting my cousin like a quadra-dozen times, i finally hiked the mountain that is only a couple miles up the road from her.

when i took off that morning to climb it, her hubby told me that he’d see me later that afternoon.  i was back in two and a half hours.  the hike itself took me about 1 hour 45 and i took my time getting to the top and hung out a little bit in the tower.  i felt like a rockstar.  and to toot my own little horn (it’s not the size, kids!), i hiked up that mountain all the way to the fire tower at the tippy top in a dress (i don’t know why more people don’t do this.  it’s SO much easier to pee on the trail!) and nearly barefoot with the pup in tow.

i loved this trail because it was so varied.  some patches were really, really rocky.  others were mossy paths.  then, there were boulders to climb.  one point, with rock walls scaling up on each side, looked like the broad gates to another dimension.  one place looked like a meadow.  on the way up, there was one 200 foot stretch that was shrouded in mist.  one the way down, the mist shattered into teeny, tiny rain drops.

my furry, feral friends, if there is an unexplored corner that exists in your familiar territory, this is the time to wander through it.  walking up this trail, sometimes actually gripping rocks to climb, hopping over snow-melt streams, and at one point getting second wind and sprinting up through a little gorge reminded me of who i truly am.  all the titles (mom, sister, daughter, student, writer, funny-girl, cousin, bla bla yada yada) fell away one by one as i climbed.  it was just my legs, my heart beating, my skin breathing, and my sweat glands earning their keep.

so this past weekend, it was a mountain.  it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.  is there a path near your house that you’ve never walked?  a trail that you’ve never ridden down?  a puddle of water you haven’t splashed through?  a tree you haven’t yet climbed (or just hugged…not to get all fruity on you)?  a corner of your backyard that you don’t haven’t sat in?

go outside today, find a new place, and GET SOME.  then, send me some pictures of your outing.

here, for your visual enjoyment, are some pics of the mountain adventure:

rock it, man!

almost to the top, it gets "meadowy"

can you tell that i'm a mom who's sick of carrying other people's shit?

the fire tower. notice the cables near the top. they were keeping that baby on the mountain.

from the top of the tower-the great sacandaga river off in the mist

resting and smiling at the top of the mountain.

"you're turning violet, violet!"*

a breeze had come through and scattered the path with white blossoms. this pic doesn't do it justice.

back to the bottom (isn't that green psychedelic? no retouching!)

my cousin and i are a lot alike.  we look alike-well, mostly.  she’s the long, tall, thin version of me and i’m her with curves to spare and 8 inches taken off the top.  personality wise, we are both pretty wild.  each in our own way, but untamed we are.

she’s always fun to hang out with because where i love to talk about all these really cool ideas, she’s the one with the follow through.

i introduced her to this book a few months ago.  i’ve yet to make a recipe from it, but she’s done at least three or four by herself.  this weekend i spent with her, she decided it was time to follow yet another one.  dandelion wine!!!!!

when i was a little girl, i went outside because it was there. (thank yougeorge mallory!)  as i got older and became more of an indoor pet, i needed a siren call.  herbs were it.  they were what got me back outside to forage, play, seek out the green mysteries.  i’ve made plenty of tinctures and oils, but wine?  not yet.

here’s what you’ll need to make five gallons of wine: (five gallons????? what do you take me for wild woman, a lush?  nope.  but this shite is tasty and it takes a year to make and you won’t be drinking alone.  this is for sure a community celebration kind of thing-both in the making and the tasting.)

a SHIT TON of dandelions-2 cups of blossoms per gallon.  (we-and by we i don’t mean me-picked 10 tightly packed cups worth of blossoms to make….FIVE.  GALLONS.)

golden raisins (1 lb per gallon)

oranges/lemons (2 each per gallon)

sugar (2 lbs per gallon)

a packet of wine yeast (we used champagne yeast)

a five gallon crock or clean plastic bucket

car boy and air valve (or go old school, use empty apple cider gallons gleaned from your healthy food store and use either a balloon or one of those condoms that you’ve been meaning to use cuz you bought it in such an optimistic moment…i digress)

a bunch of willing kids (i think this may be the most important ingredient.  my cousin and i did a lot of talking and giggling about who knows what in her kitchen while our collective four kids were off in a field picking dandelions.)

and several liters worth of patience.

you can get the book or do a google search to find instructions for the specific steps or this will be the longest. blog. entry. ever.

i will touch on the highlights.

when both of our families, totaling 8, were sitting out of the porch making up songs and BAD raps while the sun set around us as we freed the yellow blossoms from the green sepals.  her daughter, my comedic soul mate (the one person in this world who may ACTUALLY be funnier than me!) figured out a fantastic twist and pull method that decreased the frustration level of this task by a factor of 15.

discovering that those darn kids had actually picked EXACTLY enough for our recipe.  like to the blossom.  PRECISELY ten cups of bright yellow flowers.

washing the antique five gallon earthen-ware crock that my cousin scored from her mother-in-law.  (all i ever scored from mine was a bad taste in my mouth for mother-in-laws.)

breathing in the aroma of 10 cups of dandelion blossoms, orange juice, lemon juice and raisins.  it’s like nothing else i’d ever smelled but close to so many things.  it is almost like mown grass.  it is almost like a new flower.  it is almost like candy.  yet, it is like none of these things.

adding sugar.  and then more sugar.  and then more sugar.

everyone in the house having to stir the slush mess with the huge wooden paddle, obsessively.  even my cousin-in-law, all 6’2 mountain man of hisself.

two days into the fermentation, i nickname the crock the “pot o’rot”.

watching the past three episodes of glee with my little cousin and turning the sound down during the commercials to gush about puck’s hotness.  in the pauses, we would hear the pot o’rot gurgle as the yeast feed and bubble.

here’s the basic procedure in pictures:

blossoms, peels, and raisins. yep, we ran out of the goldens.

introducing the white death-meant for the consumption of yeast and yeast only, kids.

the yinnish yanginess of it all.

squeals the sugar, "i'm melting, i'm melting." (sorry...too easy.)

first stir of millions.

these little buggers will eat the sugar and we get wine. what a tradeoff, suckers!

full crock

two days later-notice the way that the pot o' rot seems much fuller (it's all the yeast farts!) i had a better pic but couldn't resist the lurking kid.

this project is the best of the wild world.  lots of outside time, using an ingredient that most people pour pesticides onto (suckers!), laughter on top of giggles layered with guffaws, community, and, at the end of it all, shifted consciousness, in this case, wine.

hello my feral friends,

i can’t wait to tell you about the couple things i did this weekend that just ignited my wild soul’s fire!  you can read about them tomorrow and the day after.

right now, i need to deal with a little topic that can get a little out of hand in my life.  it’s the opposite of express yourself, kids.  the big, many clawed beast of depression.  oh, so civilized a fellow he is.  he sits and just waits for me to no longer worry about him, reclines with such elegance that i don’t notice him in the corner there, so well-behaved he is until…BLAM!  i just get to wander around lost in my brain that he’s just invaded.  the first thing he does is close off all the little windows and skylights in my brain that let in the light.  he likes it dark, still, and that everyone carries on with polite decorum.

this is the aspect of the wild woman that i don’t talk about much.  well, i don’t think i do.  i like to pretend it doesn’t exist.  i like to put forth this image that i’m hardcore and my attitude is just as big as the sky.  sometimes.  but, i’m a pretty fragile flower really.

instead of making me need to behave, that fragility is the very reason that i need to be wild and wilder and wilder.  i can be as vulnerable as i truly am when i’m walking in the woods and my broken brain doesn’t seem broken out there.  i don’t have to wear a certain mask when i’m swimming in the ocean.  nor do i have to be a culturally appropriate lady.  i can yell outside.  i am a freer girl when i can use my outside voice.

the dapper depression monster does enjoy my company sometimes.  and, these days is one of those times.  i haven’t been getting enough sleep, mcdonald’s has probably recorded my voice three times in the past two days (just because it can hardly believe that my voice is there!), and i haven’t been able to express my self as i’d like.  oh, poor me, right?

that’s the hardest part for me.  i mean, really, is my life that bad?  nope, it’s not.  and, yep, it has been.  no need for the sob story, but, my acceptance of my tendency to share a couple cupcakes with the suited beast of many manicured claws is also the acceptance that diabetics go through or those who dance with cancer must eventually make.  i can rail against the injustice of my brain broken in places because i wasn’t nurtured by the world in the way that all children should be all that i want or just accept that there are a series of practices that i must do over and over and over, daily for the rest of my life.

one of those practices is being physically active.  my brain fucks me over consistently.  my body just wants to have a good time.

another is nourishing myself like a goddess.  herbal infusions, plenty of meat, vegetables from all the colors of the spectrum, and lots of fat makes my cells sing.  grains and sugar and seed oils make my cells weep in pain.  (true story.)

yet another (the hardest for me) is retraining my brain.  habits of thought are deeply entrenched.  just as i was brainwashed (we all were) to think a certain way, i can brainwash myself to think another way.  this is also called “doing the work” and we all know how i feel about work, especially when i’m not getting paid or with no vacation time anywhere in sight.

there are other more specific habits that fall under these umbrellas that i will probably be talking about, but my depression, contrary to what i used to think, does not need to be tamed, but let loose.

getting wild is so much more than about physical strength.  it’s also about emotional vulnerability and safety.  seriously, do wild creatures even get depressed?

in the words of the incomparable, *express yourself, don’t depress yourself!

*nope, it’s not lost on me that this video takes place in an industrial NIGHTMARE.  discuss amongst yourselves.

yeah, me neither.  maybe smarter isn’t the right word.  wiser might be more appropriate.  of course, some people might think that a cat is at the pinnacle of wisdom.  others will say horses (hi, m!) and others will say whatever other animal they like to spend time with.

let me explain.

when it comes to health, animals just are.  they don’t count their calories.  they don’t weigh and analyze the micro or macro nutrients in their meals.  they don’t wear pedometers.  they don’t have to.  their bodies are their personal trainers, personal nutritionists, and life coaches.  generally, they only get sick if we the people intervene.  (apparently, cancer is not found in nature anywhere but among people and their pets.  someone google this for this lazy blogger to verify.)

my two greatest inspirations on this wild woman path are my dog and my cat.  both in slightly different ways.

my dog doesn’t stress about his weight.  he doesn’t worry if moving the way dogs move is the workout of the moment of not.  he doesn’t wear certain shoes to run and others to walk and still others to hike.  he wears his feet because his feet work.  he doesn’t complain about walking in the rain, runs out a full speed when he wants to and just sits down and refuses to move when he’s done.  he’ll sleep for hours when he needs to and plays like a puppy even though he’s technically older than me.

my cat is my hero because he just doesn’t give a shit.  he gets what he wants without apology.  the other night, i heard him growling in my laundry basket.  he’d caught a bird.  a few minutes of crunching and all that was left was a content cat and a few feathers.  at other times, he sits on the valley between my ribs and my hips and purrs.  he teaches me that fierceness and deep tenderness can live in the same creature.  it lives in all of us.  the more we try to deny either one, the less whole we all are.

so much of what we’re taught about being fit, healthy is really bullshit thought up in an advertising meeting.  you don’t need to buy the right shoes to go for a walk.  you don’t need to buy packaged food, formulated to have the right ratio of bla bla to yada yada.  you don’t need to count calories.  you don’t need to monitor your heart rate.

just listen to your inner pussy and do it doggie style.  get out of your cultured brain and back into your wild body.  it knows when it wants to race across the beach at full tilt.  it knows when it wants to eat half a roast turkey.  it knows when it wants a chopped salad.  it knows when it needs an extra hour of sleep or when the sunrise beckons.  it knows how to move, honey, it really does.  that’s why it was all put together the way it was.  cats are clearly predators and sensual masters.  dogs are seekers of playful pleasure and notorious nappers.  people are powerful movers and dynamite dancers.  we thrive on fresh air and in the words of frank forencich, being “massaged by the biosphere”.

take off your leash, open the front door, step outside in your bare feet and let your body lead you.