A Famine of the Soul

He who cannot howl, will not find his pack.
Charles Simic

Chapter 8 of WWRWTW dives into the traps that cause women to fall into a famine of the soul. Suffice it to say, the famine of my soul lasted from 2001-2009 during my mid-late twenties. At that time everyone thought I was on top of the world. Not only was I in a relationship with a talented, handsome, popular man; I had an exciting job, made good money, and traveled for work. Yet I was stressed out, bitter and drinking way too much alcohol. On the outside my life looked great. On the inside my soul felt flattened and dead.

I never understood how people could lie about the status of their happiness until I let fear coax me into clinging to a relationship I was completely unfit for.

We’re all very good at projecting to the world only what we want it to see. Most people won’t cut through the façade of those projections. They take us at face value. That’s not their fault. It’s ours for not being more honest. 100% responsibility.

That’s not to suggest that being honest is easy, far from it. The result of me being vulnerable is that it tends to make people close to me uncomfortable. I was a brutally honest kid and teenager. I saw the toll that took on people so in my twenties I tried lying for a while. Suddenly everyone thought I was happy and after a while I had to keep up the lie. If I was honest all of a sudden everyone would ask why in the world I stayed in a relationship I hated. I didn’t know the answer myself so how could I give it to anyone else?

In 2009 when I left New York, dejected and depressed, it probably seemed like that was the famine. But it wasn’t. That was the rebirth. The thing is I started being openly sad when appropriate. Since then, coincidentally when I started writing, I haven’t lied about how I am—high or low; good, bad, boring or otherwise.

Some areas of re-birth can take a long time. So since 2009 I’ve been in a famine of trust and commitment. I can admit to very slowly licking the wounds from the particular experience that hurt me the most, but by no stretch of the imagination has this last decade been a famine of my entire soul.

In fact, being single throughout my thirties is what allowed the rest of my life to explode in very beautiful ways. My soul is exactly what has been expanding through adventure and experience; through life choices that have brought me to start my own business, travel, compete in races, live in Hawaii, help a friend, write a book.

Yes, I want a boyfriend. And, yes, I also freaking love my life. I love my life so much I’ve been protecting it from insurgents for years!

Life and sacrifice go together.
Dr. Estés

What wounds have you licked slowly—disappointment in your career, a let down in friendship, a missed opportunity, an adventure not taken? We all have these areas of our lives. Maybe it’s that we squandered money or trusted a devious business partner or fell off a bicycle and were too afraid to get back on.

Dr. Estés says make your way back already. “Cut through the tangle now and get on with it . . . on the other side are new feet.”

We can trust ourselves to stay safe this time around. We’ve memorized the traps and recognize them quickly. That is the way we remain free.

So much of this book is about women who were trapped becoming free. For me it’s often the opposite. I recovered from the majority of my trappings years ago. I’ve been completely free for so long that now I long to be deeply connected (not trapped) to my match.

“If you want to re-summon Wild Woman, refuse to be captured.” Check!

“With instincts sharpened for balance—jump anywhere you like, howl at will, take where there is, find out all about it, let your eyes show your feelings, look into everything, see what you can see.” Done!

“Dance in red shoes, but make sure they’re the ones you’ve made by hand. I can promise that you will become one vital woman.” Amen!

Today I am that vital woman howling for my match to come find me. I want to welcome him in and love him to my fullest capacity. I long to take everything I’ve learned, every experience I’ve had and put it to good use; to be the best version of me for the best version of him.

Joy is the kind of feeling a woman has when she lays the words down on the paper just so . . . Whew. Unbelievable . . . It is the kind of joy a woman feels when she has done something she feels intense about, something that took risk, something that made her stretch.

Releasing this famine of trust and commitment feels like spring. It’s a revelation to be actively looking for someone I want to spend an extended period of time with and really get to know.

Tell me, what will bring you that joy?

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