In some ways, your dad and I are very much from the camp of “mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy”. Meaning: Stop comparing, judging, competing, gossiping. We love to encourage independent thinking. We value a priority of caring for one’s self, and family, and appreciate a good consideration of the strength to be found in “alone”. Wild + Free are our chosen ways to be... (which you’ll regularly observe as neither of us put much stock in having to be fully dressed while home -- dad hates shirts, and mom is truly anti-pants). You’ll get used to it.
Yet, there are limits to possibilities in isolation. Wild and free are not the same as this, my love, but we sometimes wonder if folks know the difference anymore.
You see, our culture here in the ol’ U.S. of A has separated us. Social media certainly doesn’t help, with its abundant focus on individual success, versus everyone thriving; with its lense of edited, cultivated perfection, vs. hard, humble truth telling. There is so much talk of us-versus-them, instead of we-the-people. What the hell happened to our wolfpacks? (Mama curses some, baby, though generally only when it’s appropriate).
This is especially true for women, but I promise the sentiment expands across genders:
“This woman to woman circle was once the domain of Wild Woman, and it had open membership; anyone could belong. But all we have left of this today is the little tatter called a ‘baby shower’, where all the birthing jokes, mother gifts, and genitalia stories are squeezed into two hours’ time, no longer available to the woman throughout her entire lifetime as a mother….In most parts of the industrialized countries today, the young mother broods, births, and attempts to benefit her offspring all by herself. It is a tragedy of enormous proportions.” - Clarissa Pinkola Estes
While she speaks most specifically to the rearing of children in this particular context (and this is something I’ve thought a lot about recently, considering your being and all), I believe the same is true for how we continue to raise ourselves after we’ve left home and our lives march forward through adulthood. I believe the same is true for the piece of our being that forever needs nurturing, love, and a safe space to be seen and accepted over and over again, in order to show up as our best selves. We need freaking help, baby. We’re not built to do it all alone, at least not for the long haul.
Let’s look at earlier settlements of the west, for example: a handful of families spread across acres of new land. “Mama’s in labor! Timmy -- Go fetch Mrs. Henson from down the road!” (Your dad laughed at this example - but stick with me!) Women would care for one another with a force we don’t often see in industrialized societies, going so far as delivering each others babies, then minding children, preparing/sharing meals, gifting time, mending fences, managing the home + loaning supplies. It wasn’t an obligation - it was just what you did for the community and individual's survival. As Glennon Doyle says, there was no such thing as other people’s children.
We think we don’t need that level of community anymore. We think because of modern amenities and quick avenues of surface connection and technology in every corner of life (Alexa - play ‘Home on the Range’), we should be more than capable of fending for ourselves. And yet we are barely surviving.
Sure, we may not need the same intensity of physical support for basic survival (I mean, I love my friends, your Aunties and Uncles, but would prefer for them not to bring you into the world). But emotionally? Oh my gosh. Yes. Yes, we need this.
Quilting circles. Bible studies. Barn Raisings. Support groups. Book clubs. Creative classes. Town Hall meetings. Community fundraisers: Strip away the specifics of each gathering and what you’ll find is a soul-filled desire for connection. What you’ll find is our natural rhythm of together, of giving and receiving for the benefit of the whole. What you’ll discover are the primal makings of a wolfpack.
It’s paramount to keep community alive; to commit to your people, and take care of eachother. Investing in your tribe through asking, receiving, protecting, serving. Staying wild + free, together. These are things we so deeply want for you, my girl. This is what we hope to show you each and every day. You’re joining a pretty stellar pack, if we do say so ourselves. Your place is forever reserved.
Howling from the heart,