Loving Your Wild Side

Photo by Caroline Hernandez

There is comfort in conforming. So many of us were raised to be the good girl, to respect our elders, to keep the level of our emotions harmonious and expressive within certain limits. This is what allows one to be successful in working with others, it allows for career advancement, and possibly lands a partner for taking on the world in the latter part of our lives. It allows for order as well. I mean, as much as I relish in the idea of all of us walking around raging authentically, it doesn’t feel like the safest way to live, despite our constant false commitments to it.

I was a wild child. One of my first memories is walking with my mom down a road in our hometown. It was a familiar summer evening after dinner and this street had a speed limit of 15 mph and still does, ran parallel to the railroad, and the few houses that graced one side were built in the 1800s. It was rather quaint as I reflect, but just home at the time.

We lived in Pewee Valley, home of the Little Colonel, and this road was one of the original streets in the city. It was also the street from where my friends and I would trespass as teenagers on land that appeared to be a run-down women’s asylum, but that’s for another what we do in the shadows kind of topic.

This is my earliest memory and the first time I experienced an alternate universe in this lifetime. A car was approaching us and I was off the road to the side but I was certain this car was going to hit and kill my mom and me. So I jolted across the street to the other side to save myself.

Once safely on the other side, I thought the car was going to hit and kill my mom, so I ran back to be with her. Again, unsafe, back to the other side. Again, protect my mother, back to her.

I’m not sure what was happening in my life at the time this happened, but the feeling of death was so near and so visceral I couldn’t do anything but what I did. I remember the mean old lady slowing down and yelling at my mom to get ahold of her child. How did she not care how terrified I was?

A similar event occurred on the first Thunder Over Louisville held at the fairgrounds. My dad was on duty as a firefighter, so we baked brownies and loaded up to meet my aunt and uncle where he was stationed in case of need.

I slipped on my brother’s tennis shoes in the dark to pass out brownies to the firefighters as the fireworks began. The shoes were too small, so I was tiptoeing around with my heels crushing the outside of his shoes. Once the first shot went off, I lost all sense of stability.

I don’t remember what I did with the brownies, maybe I’d handed them all out and dropped the tray. I remember clearly not being able to grip the ground with shoes that didn’t fit, so they were kicked off really early on. I was sprinting through a field that sat alongside a major interstate in Louisville, KY.

This must have been a past life experience with war as I only knew those fireworks were following me to set me on fire. Again, there was a back and forth motion, I wasn’t able to escape the raining fire that seemed to follow me.

I was 7 years old by this time, and I remember families pointing at me and laughing at what a spectacle I was making. The interstate surrounded this patch of grass where people had gathered to watch the first firework show celebrating the Kentucky Derby. At some point, someone found me and brought me back to the car where my family was hanging out. I don’t remember anything else about that night.

Naturally, my mom wasn’t really confident in my sanity growing up, so when hormones kicked in, she sent me straight to the gynecologist for birth control to help curb them a bit. It must have been my wise self who denied birth control at that time in my life knowing my wild woman carried wisdom.

I also spent so much of my life taming the wild woman in order to learn to be in relationship with this world. When I talk about getting in touch with your authentic self, I don’t say that lightly. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to experience this world true to yourself and not be considered a raving lunatic.

And it’s the only way to live. It means facing the demons we all carry. It means learning what triggers you and why. It means building healthy practices around how to safely express yourself without harm.

I chose conformity and substance abuse in the first part of my life to be with her in a way that I could comfortably allow. Once we recognize the gift of our intuition we must be responsible for what we know. That’s the hard part.

It’s only been the last few years that I’ve learned to appreciate the consequences of silencing her, let her back out, and dedicated myself to protecting that gentle heart that feels so deeply through sober discernment. It’s taken a village of wild men and women to mirror this to me. It’s a beautiful journey and I love the ride.

Conformity is easy but it’s a denial of who we are at our core. It allows us to be cogs in a wheel, closed-minded, and unquestioning. There are ways to get in touch with yourself and bring acceptance to your wild one. Let them out of the cage and live in a way that is in harmony with our Earth.

I hope to have the chance to meet them.




I write to fuel my soul, I work to understand it, and I can be found at NDavisBartlett.com.

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I write to fuel my soul, I work to understand it, and I can be found at NDavisBartlett.com.

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