Monday, October 4, 2010

Love letter to a wild thing

        The night Max wore his wolf suit
        and made mischief of one kind
               and another
        his mother called him "WILD THING!"
        and Max said "I"LL EAT YOU UP!"
        so he was sent to bed without eating anything.
                            – Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

I wish I'd consistently respond to my wild thing the way Max's mom does. Often, I mete the consequence, but I also ignore and tolerate until my very long fuse gets lit. And, when it does, I become a wild thing in a rumpus.

I don't know how she does it, but my youngest is a master at pushing my buttons in a way no one else ever has. I thought I was a kind, loving, compassionate, tolerant, peaceful person until this lovable furry beast grew old enough to challenge me every inch of the way: relentlessly and unceasingly. Invariably, she fuels up and pushes until one of us bursts and then – only then – can she settle, mellow and do whatever it was she was supposed to.

I've been told I give her too much power, must learn to be consistent, should create stronger and clearer personal boundaries and remove myself from the drama. Mostly, I can. But there are days that seem endless and something just clicks. I am blinded in the moment and become someone I don't recognize. My hair covers my body, my nails lengthen and curve to become claws, my voice screeches and something else takes over. I don my wolf suit when she taps the wild side in me.

Most recently, I left and walked a labyrinth trying to simmer and calm the seething. Often she blocks me from leaving, not understanding I need to retreat to survive (which may be a faulty mechanism she's unconsciously attempting to correct).

So I have to ask myself, what, exactly, is she reaching in me?

It's as if she taunts me to dredge up every old wound I have stuffed down. Every injustice. Every wrong, slight or injury. She is a master stirrer and she's dredging up my anger from the bottom. My shamanic counselor says every family has a shit stirrer. Boy, does she keep that pot bubbling.

She forces me to look deep into the underbelly, the places I have locked away or forgotten. The feelings I have numbed for a variety of reasons. Maybe because she has those feelings and doesn't know what to do with them. She's forcing me to deal with them and teach both of us.

Is she simply coercing me to express those subdued layers? To find some form of freedom in releasing them? She never holds a grudge and once she has her fit, is done. Maybe that's a lesson I could learn. To express, then completely let go. Have my rumpus ... maybe many for all of the years of suppressed anger  -- and be done.

        "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start."
        "Now stop," Max said and sent the wild things off to bed
        without their supper. And Max the king of all the wild things was lonely
        and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.
                            – Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

After the rumpus, Max was ready to love. I think my wild one is, too.

• Who are the wild things in my life?
• What do they make me confront?
• When am I a wild thing and do I recognize it?
• What does my inner wild thing teach me?
• What is there for me to release with a rumpus?


I have
to look
very hard

and wade
very deep

to see
past the

of you
in your
wolf suit

and me
in mine

to the
that are


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