I met a wild woman yesterday. A woman with fire in her eyes and an unquestionably wicked grin. The kind who offers a firm hand, a quick peruse, and a thorough greeting.
She doesn’t give a crap if her towels are not lined up on the shelf in her bathroom, or if her bloomers match her brassiere. In fact, she may have decided that today is the day that she doesn’t wear either. She’s as comfortable chillin’ in her jammies as she is commanding the stage in her power suit. As confident soft-loving her partner as she is litigating in a courtroom…or flexing her muscles on a world stage.
This woman has run the gauntlet and survived. It is an activity that she has long since given up, but she is not inclined to brag. Instead, she models her disdain for such barbarous convention by not engaging in its proliferation.
Her strength may be intimidating. Or it may invigorate. She has learned to work the rule book for the very purpose of knowing when to throw it away. Don’t ask her a question unless you are comfortable with her answering you.
Either way, she doesn’t give an F… what you or I think.
This wild woman may not know me, but I know her clan. We are kith because she resides in the most tender, meaty parts of every woman alive.
The parts that are feral. Fierce. Practically uncivilized.
Flashes of Brilliance
My flashes of brilliance have been tattoed on my memory. Great-white pulses that sliced through the chatter and stunned me to silence, their shock waves so intense that I had no choice but to pay attention.
Yep, flashes can be a tad disruptive. Back then, it was the only way my Constant Traveller could get my attention – even as I stumbled along in awkward silence, dazzled and confused, she made me yearn for more.
I think of it like a beach ball being held under water. The effervescent creativity that is innate in a balanced human being who is confident in her abilities bursts through in moments when we are caught unaware. I caught glimpses of my own when I let down my guard.
Those were the days…when I viewed my deficiencies as more important than my abilities by the attention that others paid to them. What I valued, what I found delight in and would engage in as a young person for hours and hours, was metered out under the rules of limited acceptability:
I could be a lover of literature, but only of another’s work;
I could be a lover of music, but only of another’s compositions;
I could think grand thoughts, but only in the tradition of the Masters.
I could dream as long as my wildest, most disruptive dreams remained in Dreamland.
In those days, real life meant giving up my extraordinary dreams.
In those days, I lived my wholehearted agreement. It took me more than a few decades to learn how to elegantly disagree.
In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of the point in our society when being a genius became more valid than having genius inside of you. That was a very sad day for humankind.
A test developed by Dr. George Land for NASA to determine the creative ability of their scientists and engineers, and administered to 1600 4 to 5-year-olds – revealed that a shocking 98% tested in the genius category for imagination. However, by the time these same children were tested as 10-yr-olds, only 30% now fell into the genius category. Tested as 15-yr-olds, the percentage plummeted to 12%.
Dr. Land also tested a lot of adults. By the time we are adults…only 2% have retained our creative genius.
I believe that may be the most tragic statement ever written.
What the F…?
What this research has revealed is that parents, family, and society as a whole have not provided the tools with which to nurture extraordinary. In fact, we have been taught to consider the divergent, the outlier, the creative, the wild… as, at our most benign, an eccentric, and at our most potent…a threat...to relationships, family structure, and civilized society.
What could a culture founded on obedience and conformity teach but conformity? How can a society based on ordinary values demonstrate the value of extraordinary?
Those who hold special as sacred may be the most seriously mystified, as they unwittingly empower the aspects of human development that limits genius from expressing itself. They, in their zeal, know not what they do.
A couple of years ago, I had a dream where I was floating in a prone position, traveling feet-first on an ocean. I was full-body immersed in its dark evening surf. Looking back I could see the lights of the colorful tropical island from which I came grow smaller and smaller. The water surrounding me was calm, dark, and deep. As a general rule, deep water scares the crap out of me, but this time I was cool with it. Looking forward, between my toes, I could see a shadow-land coming into view. It was dark, but I could tell that this land was vast, with towering mountains that rose in ebony contrast against an ever lightening sky.
I was content to let those waters take me.
Growing up, I felt like I was forced to fit into a society that didn’t fit me, or my dreams. In those days, I agreed to speak the words of my dead ancestors – some words of love and kindness, certainly, but what I remember most were the words of ignorance and fear, especially when it came to those who weren’t like us. I accepted other people’s visions, walked their paths, and dreamed other people’s dreams. I believed my dreams were not as worthy as those who were revered by my clan.
I walked for decades in dead man’s shoes, not even dead women’s shoes. I was so insulated and ignorant that I was not even aware of the pain of those who walked beside me. So concerned with keeping in step with the clan, or running to catch up when they threatened to leave me behind, that I couldn’t see the suffering at my fingertips.
Our 2% Wild Ones
It takes an extraordinary dreamer, one who dares to dream, who is willing to push away from the shore and venture into unknown waters – confident and content to be carried by the current to an unknown shore – one who is willing to take on the role of a castaway. A wild heart who understands that, at some point, the willful castaway inevitably becomes the resourceful explorer who brings the fruits of her explorations back to the clan. One who is willing to draw the map for others to follow and isn’t afraid to dance with delight when they offer their unique revisions and expansions…
She offers herself to others through full-body immersion in her Mother’s Nature, blending the elemental taste of the ashes of her former self with the firestorm of her effervescent personal genius.
We, as women, have a lot to overcome. It is time for fierce and feral wild ones to bare their teeth, not in aggression, but in a wicked grin that equals any man’s. A wicked grin that teaches our daughters and sons to value their dreams, as well.
Through our instruction, this precious resource…our genius 98%...our future…can learn to value the wonders of their nature and safely deliver those sacred gifts into adult life.