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Liberation and the Wild Girl-God

Sometimes, a Wild Girl-God moves in and rearranges what you thought was real. She thumbs her nose at propriety and property, social and monetary capital. She wakes me up in the morning and asks, full of wonder-delight-menace-daring, “What are we going to do today?”

From Karina Black Heart

 

There’s a gorgeous poem-prose piece, “Sometimes a Wild God,” that everyone should read or listen to at least seven dozen times in their lives. For me, it is an affirmation of how I invite the Gods I am in relationship with to inform my life and give me courage to live as they do.

These symbiotic relationships with Gods have gotten me in all kinds of trouble, including roller-coaster relationships, courageous acts and harrowing feats, landing in foreign countries with less than $70 in my wallet, moving out of state to be near my Madre–the Sea, zip-lining, fire-walking, hand-crafting, vegetable gardening, visiting graveyards at midnight, and more recently, installing a rope-swing with a wooden-plank seat in my living room.

Sometimes, God-visits are arranged by invitation. More often, though, after all these years of familiarity, They just come and go like the other members of my family. It seems that this late summer, a certain Girl-God has taken up residence with my teenager and I. Her whimsical hand is evident in nearly everything about my new apartment. From the soaring, sky-lit ceilings to the teeny loft-space up the crooked stairs, to the bird’s-eye view of the alleyway from my bedroom perch, to the spiralling belly-flip-flop-inducing fire-escape and the the dragon-body mountain range visible from there.

Danger and delight walk hand in hand, though. This Girl-God is as enamored of sharp objects, spooky night-walks, high ledges, deep water, loud noises and flames as She is of a bright palette, sweets, finger paint, twinkle lights and tutus. She doesn’t pay any rent or pick up after herself, ever. She’s demanding, self-indulgent and utterly spoilt. I mean, She stirs the stars into spiral patterns in the cosmos. Who am I to deny Her the pleasure of swinging from the rafters?

Her presence is, as always, teaching me something about my life. I’m 53 years old, and I’ve done a lot of hard living. I’ve been super-responsible–striving and trying and clawing and shucking and jiving so hard to live up to the expectations of . . . *gestures around at everything built and sustained by heteronormative-patriarchal-white-capitalist-supremacy.* But, something in me snapped when DT won the election last year. I was compelled to get out of Florida and back to a place where I understand how to live. More than that, though, there’s an entirely new-to-me, deeper-than-it’s-ever-been conviction that no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I push, or prove myself worthy of benefitting from the heteronormative-patriarchal-white-capitalist-supremacist culture, it is not set up to benefit me.

Yes. I am white. Cis-gendered and, once-upon-a-time I could pass as middle-class even though I’ve never had that privilege. But, the privileges awarded me are many. So many. So fucking many. Yet, those financial and other privileges that lift a person upward and out of the daily scramble to survive–these are limited by my gender, marital status, solo-parenting, past trauma, and the weird things I do to earn a living–like writing, and teaching Witchcraft.

There was some kind of sideways, back-handed, totally unexpected liberation that came with the understanding that the systems aren’t broken, but operating exactly as they are designed– elevating some lives while leveling others to the ground. Something about DT’s presidential inauguration sealed it for me. Here was a man who openly flaunted his hatred, his privilege, his criminality, his insensitivity, his greed, his racism, his sexism, his brute ignorance. Here is a slovenly cretan blatantly doing whatever he wants, no matter who it hurts, because he CAN. Here is a man who proved to me, once and for all, that it doesn’t matter how hard I work, how good I am, or how deserving — men like this will do whatever it takes to assure they keep winning while the rest of us lose at a game that’s always been rigged.

So. I made a decision to quit.

Suddenly, Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese read as less of a spiritual bypass and more of an important directive than ever before:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

If it’s true that I don’t have to be good — that no amount of striving, jiving, hustling, creating, marketing, selling, working, toiling, making, trying, crying, doing, planning, calling, begging, convincing, confessing, striving, pleading or plodding was ever going to pry open the doors to “success” — then, I could just stop all that nonsense. Like, right now. Today.

At 53 years old, single, solo-parenting, owning nothing, only a little in debt, worn and softened in all the right places, shored up and sturdied in all the others, I really don’t have anything to lose. I’m not at risk of losing of what I worked hard to attain because my only true goal has been to raise my nearly grown children into good, solid people. My decades of hard work didn’t garner me any houses, stocks, investments or financial interests. In other words, what I failed to achieve wasn’t now holding me hostage. All I needed to do was let go of the dream of making it, someday.

It was shockingly easy. I just opened my hands. I wiggled a little, and the shriveled husk of The American Dream that had shackled my mind and heart, my spirit and body, my work-ethic and passion–just crumbled at my feet like so much dust. I looked down, curious to see if there was anything there I wanted to salvage.

There was nothing. Not a damn thing. But, I swear I heard Janis Joplin singing, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. . . . and, freedom’s good enough for me.”

When I got back home to MA and saw the tiny loft apartment that I’d already signed the lease on, my stomach dropped. This little place, this third floor walk-up, with the tiny bathroom and kitchen, the lack of closet space, crooked walls, and iron-spiralling fire-escape didn’t look romantic in the least. I’d once dreamt of ocean-front, sprawling houses with swimming pools hot-tubs, and a temple-room large enough for rituals for 50. I’d dreamt of grand old Victorian mansions with a dozen fireplaces, gourmet kitchens with corian counter-tops, park-like grounds for ceremonies and enough bedrooms to lodge thirty retreat-guests. I’d dreamt of walls of windows looking out over natural vistas, huge stone patios with firepits and summer-kitchens. I’d dreamt, at the very least, of my own bathroom and a place I could invite my siblings to visit without feeling ashamed. I knew that if I just worked hard enough and steady enough, these dreams were within my reach. This is America, after all.

But, stronger than the momentary disappointment in what I had not and would not attain in this lifetime, came the taste that only liberty can offer. “Here I am,” I thought as I walked the seven hundred square foot walk-up. “This is where I belong. This is what I have to work with. This freedom is good enough for me.”
It was then that the Wild Girl-God moved in. None of my old things fit in this space. Everything too big, too heavy, too ornate, too adult, too reminiscent of all my impoverished striving to catch up with the Jones’. Little by little, I sold it all on Craigslist. Bit by bit, I replaced it with thrift-shop and garage-sale finds, curb-side pick-ups, and trips to IKEA.

Day by day, I was delighted, and slightly terrified, by what was becoming of my living space. Where there was once dark wood, eggplant upholstery and burgundy curtains, there was now square, modern, veneer-over-paper ikea furniture, a white rug strewn with citrus colored flowers. Mosquito netting and two hundred twinkling christmas-tree lights hung where curtains should be. The dining table doubles as my desk. I emptied my closets and dressers, linen cabinets and storage bins–taking carloads to the Hospice Donation Center. Little by little, I’m replacing the 30 shirts I hated with seven that I love.

I’m in the midst of this gorgeous, scary, delightful break-up with the over-culture’s insistence that we show our worth with material goods. What little I owned when I arrived here is gone. And, the Wild Girl-God who insisted upon hanging a swing from the high, high crossbeam in my beloved tiny-loft, is giggling with a glee that shakes the foundations of everything.

Sometimes, a Wild Girl-God moves in and rearranges what you thought was real. She thumbs her nose at propriety and property, social and monetary capital. She wakes me up in the morning and asks, full of wonder-delight-menace-daring, “What are we going to do today?”

The world is getting harder and scarier with each passing day. DT, unbelievably, is still the president. The Klan and Nazi’s are openly rallying. Anti-fascists are being labelled the bad guys. Christian Terrorists are working overtime to make The Handmaid’s Tale a reality. The planet is being pummeled by hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes,, tsunamis and man-made global warming. The threat of nuclear war, for the first time in decades, is real. Friends of mine are fleeing the country. White people are crying crocodile tears when told to check their racism. It’s never been more false to say, “All lives matter.”

The end of the world as we know it has come. There’s no “normal” to return to. What comes next is entirely dependent upon each of us shaking loose the shackles that keep us tethered to the old systems and our addiction to money-things-more. Resistance–beyond talking points–is born in the forfeiture of investment in that old world. It’s not as scary as you think to undo the curse of hetero-normative-patriarchal-white-capitalist-supremacy that binds us all. Start where you are. What can you divest of, today? What can you cash in on, freeing that energy (money, belief, habit, privilege) so it can be used to build something real?


Karina Black Heart

Karina B. Heart is a writer and Feri Witch slowly allowing herself to go feral. She’s spent the last decades deconstructing gender, race, class and religion relying upon lived experience, the collected stories of others and academic study. She lives in the bluest part of the blue bubble of liberal Massachusetts, in a tiny loft with her almost-adult children and her mentor-kitten, Professor Bean.
You can find Karina writing on Patreon https://www.patreon.com/karinabheart, Facebook and, ocassionally on Medium or her blog at karinabheart.com.


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14 Comments »

  1. I love this article. Your wild girl is leading you astray – where you need to be. Fuck the materialist mirage and all the things we’re supposed to want. I can’t stand all those articles that tell us how if we just get up earlier, set clearer goals and make tighter lists – at last we’ll be successful. It sounds to me like you are a success, at being human. And so am I, in my mobile home in the wilds of Ireland. How wonderful to give up playing the game whose rules are written by such as DT and instead play a game written by our wild divines. Shine on sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rima and Tom!! I did not know the poem had been done as a speak, so thank you very much….. although the tiny book is also a delight. And look up Hedgespoken and see where/in what they live 😉

    As well, what a stirring manifesto yourself; best possible wishes to your continued success. Although no fears, clearly you have it well in hand.

    When I painted blue sky and clouds on the ceiling of my new house and a rainbow up the stairs my then-in-laws cautioned that I’d have to repaint everything to resell it. In the years since I have added night sky and a light-up moon in the upstairs hall…… I’ll just give it to my son when I die, neh?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “But, something in me snapped when DT won the election last year. I was compelled to get out of Florida and back to a place where I understand how to live.”

    Me, too. Only instead of going back to a place where I understood how to live, I had to break away and move to somewhere completely new where I could learn how to live. It just so happens to be the same place as you. 🙂 I moved from Louisiana to Massachusetts at the beginning of August and I’m learning how to be someone who isn’t surrounded by Southern culture. I love it.

    Liked by 2 people

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