TABLE OF CONTENTS
(in no particular order and not all of these will be included in every issue of Globally Nomadic Woman)
The Old Way
Camping (and Nature Studies)
Conversations in MY REAL VOICE
Olaus Murie — a great animal tracker and naturalist.
Conversation In MY REAL VOICE (Voce)
Of course, when you are totally being yourself out in the world, some (perhaps well-meaning but careless) people will say you are just pretending. That you couldn’t possibly be that cute or weird or unusual. Etc. They do this with Aspergers, too (“You’re just faking it to excuse being rude.” I was told this a few years ago by someone.) It’s like with alcoholics who aren’t using alcohol anymore, and they are completely functional in society… but, as they will insist, they are still alcoholics. People don’t want to believe this. Or with someone like me who did something very bad ONE TIME, begged for forgiveness, sought and got professional help, and confessed publicly; some people will not believe that I won’t do that again (even though it was 30 years ago; some people still don’t trust me).
It’s the same way with being one’s true self and speaking/writing in one’s true voice: some people can’t tolerate this diversion from normalcy; they demand that it be negated in some way, called “weird and unusual,” and forbidden.
I have Guardian Spirits. Some people call them Guardian Angels or Spirit Guides. There are lots of them, and the year I met my Eternal Soulmate (in the Divine Marriage) — I was 51 — many of them appeared to me clearly (the Black Motorcycle Rider, the Japanese woman, the Elephant… or was it a Bear? Yes, a Bear, I think) in the weeks before I met Jeremy B. I formally recognize three of my Spirit Guides every day. I thank them for helping me. Recently a woman I call Sheila (though I don’t think that’s actually her name) left me to go work with someone else (at least, I think that’s what happened). She had been with me for a long time, and I bid her a sad farewell. (So much of this, unsubstantiated by my society, but fully validated by other — eg., Native American –societies, is often hazy, as if I can never be sure what’s true and real and what’s my imagination. This does not discourage me.) A man came in to replace her: I call him “Will” or Willis or Wilson. He has helped me a lot already.
I am a Muse, like Oshara (whom I recently met here in Ojai). Muses are often completely “crazy” by the definition of our own uptight society; that’s why we are so effective! Thrilling and challenging people (eg., to take chances) is our job.
At the end of an early morning dream today, the narrator (a guy) revealed that I was insane (was I in a mental hospital? I forget.) I woke up and remembered it, and I felt very freed and healed by that dream. Like I can really be me now and not fear what people will say or think about me.
In my bed on the ground (after this dream), I noticed that some little thing from the tree was in my ear.
After this, the early morning jogger on the Pratt Trail drove up and parked his car (I heard this). Then, he jogged past my camp (across the barranca) with, I suppose, a headlamp (some kind of light). It was pre-sunrise, when it’s just barely starting to get light. I figured out lately why there’s so little wildlife, comparatively, on the Pratt Trail: too many houses around, even farther up the Trail. It’s sort of a good thing: I don’t have to be afraid of encountering a mountain lion there.
I packed up soon after Mr. Jogger tripped by, and I was out on the road by sunrise.
Stigmata (according to Elizabeth Marshall Thomas whose 2nd book I’m reading: The Hidden Life of Dogs) are unacceptable to people who are exquisitely sensitive to social status. (Thomas is describing the residents of Cambridge, Mass., home of Harvard University.)
Stigmata = stigma:
I like the “insanity” (weirdness, differentness, unexpectedness) of sleeping out in nature alone and also of traveling.
The voice of Kay Thompson’s Eloise was and is one of my favorites. I would never have discovered her, at least not in childhood, if not for my bestest childhood friend, Jane Britton. They had it up at her way-higher-class home. I never showed it to my Mom; she would have loved it.
Where am I and who are these people? is what I often think when I’m out in public.
I see things (life, other people) MY Way, and I’ve always been afraid I’d be “Found Out” (i.e, people would realize I wasn’t seeing life the “right” way, the mandated, sanctioned way, the way we all are supposed to see it). Now I realize that having my own view, my own ideas, my own voice (voce) is not only OK, it’s the absolute goal.
The #1 fear of all life-forms: loss of control.
High status? Dominance (use of force) and ownership (territory)? These are very different (and much less ethically palatable) in the artificial environment we humans live in. These are natural things within other species’ societies (Thomas writes a lot about this in The Hidden Life of Deer). Hierarchies are dangerous in human society: those on top (or who WANT to be on top) commit all kinds of very unnatural crimes. These are crimes for which an animal would be killed in nature.
How dangerous is life for an old woman? Old women are often hated (the reason is that we know too much: women are not supposed to know as much as we do; this threatens many people).
My High (according to the Old Way of indigenous people) Status in human society is revealed by a crucial element of high status among animals (and fish and ???): Courage. Bravery was a requisite of high status among people living in the Old Way. It is also a requisite today; but bravery today is often measured according to how cruel a person can be, how without conscience, and how much money/etc. a person can accumulate (hoard).
My Courageous Gift to my children was not money, territory, status (in the conventional sense), or possessions. My gift to my children was and still is doing these things: Experimenting, Exploring, Investigating, and Adventuring. These are the things that are always new and untested — to me and to everyone (because I am doing them in my own way and in my own creative context).
Doing these things — WHICH I DID WITH MY CHILDREN WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG AND WITH ME — can appear to be reckless, insane, and irresponsible. In reality, it takes a lot of ovaries (for men: balls) to even dream of doing such things. Almost no one tries things that are really different — especially not with children. But to have a pattern of raising children this way, as I did, is very unusual and, in my way of looking at things, highly commendable. My children have been left with gifts they can’t even fathom and perhaps never will.
It is only now that I am realizing all the gifts my parents gave me… and these were not even socially unacceptable gifts (as were mine to my children). Yet it has taken me all these years to appreciate them.
Being what (it’s not “who” if it’s not alive) people expect you to be is very warm and cozy and fun and even funny. Perhaps in another life I’ll be that kind of Performing Bear of a person. But, as Elizabeth Thomas says of dogs (in The Hidden Life of Dogs), these Bears and these people are slaves.
I know I’m “crazy” (i.e. non-conformist, unique), and I’m getting less and less afraid to show it. All the people I have always admired are also “crazy.” Yayoi Kusama, the artist who has a show right now at the Whitney Museum in New York, lives in a mental institution.
Demanding the right to think my own thoughts and not be distracted by social correctness and acting “appropriately” is how to beIF you truly dare to be yourself. Some people prefer to be defined by the mob (society).
Very wealthy people are no different from anyone else. They are part of life inside the bubble, inside the box, the status quo, the life that’s handed to us at birth: “Here is the paradigm; deal with it!” Take your place within the System; step right up. Pink Floyd wrote: “Come in here, Jim Boy. Have a cigar. You’re gonna go far…”
Gabriella Hamilton in Blood, Bones and Butter writes about “compulsory approval,” that subordination people in society are supposed to demonstrate to their superiors. Those who benefit from the current hierarchy (what- and wherever it is) don’t want their version of society questioned or interfered with. Those of us who intelligently question it, disagree loudly, and demonstrate other viable, possible ways-of-living are punished in some way by all societies.
Some of us will never bow down to our supposed social superiors; we won’t even pretend we will. We drop out of the game, and, as a result, we are called crazy, sick, pitiful, dumb, and worse. We become intolerable embarrassments to their own inadequacies. And if we are women in a male-dominated society, and we have the guts to do what others (both men and women) are afraid to do, we are ridiculed. We are stripped of our power, if possible. It’s no one’s fault. Nature is unforgiving. To keep control over one’s life is the ultimate freedom. I certainly intend to stay in control of my own life.