Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"WILD" the movie: Cheryl Strayed and Reese Witherspoon will shift a deep and subtle place inside you.

A movie that I heard nothing about, based on a book I didn't read. ( I read everything first) 
A new friend invited me. Bitter, and broken but fully functioning in all capacities, OK, not "fully." 

Point is,  there are no coincidences. All of us struggle, we carve these indelible lines in the sand of our self-acceptance based on other people, other things, just too much "other". That day, Cheryl Strayed's "other" actually caused a minor shift in me at the most opportune time. The movie can either scare you to bits, or force you to see your OWN UGLY bits and choose to stand strong, in the skin you're in....aware, accountable, and be. Let it be. 

"The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back."                                                         -Cheryl Strayed
My composition, emotionally and in every way, split, burst and reformed, new. There in my cozy theatre chair, tear streams pooling at my neck, and a friend who knew not her purpose; but delivered. I still giggle at her awkward and sincere response to my question: " Is this like a life intervention, through cinema?" Her answer was an overzealous, arm wave-off, nervous chuckle in the negative, but intervention, divine, or simple... it was. What I saw made me feel my own words bouncing on mute, deep within the fissures. 

"You are whole now. Awake. Begin where you are. Trusting, that you innately deserve to be, again-whole. When you chose it, you WILL BE and that KNOWING and inner map already exists in us all."                                                                     - Lulu Salavegsen

Funny enough, my life, still in semi-shambles, was cracking. My self-loathing hit a new high, maybe low? I remember sitting in the cold, in the garage of my beautiful house, perched on cement, drinking Apple Snapple, and listening to Ani Difranco. Things were bad, Very bad. Fucking flimsy, more accurately. My sanity hung, if at all, by the a thread. I remember hearing myself say:

"I am confident in absolutely nothing, except that I have absolutely NONE."
                                                                                                          - Lulu Salavegsen

This wasn't vanity. It was growing up. Calling it for what it was. A broken, depleted, inauthentic, vignette version of my former vibrant, passionate, funny and creative self. Now, a mother of 3 trapped in a "Sleep-walk" disguised as "Super-function" journey that lasted nearly 13 years. The movie didn't gently( this movie does nothing gently) place a mirror to me, it threw flashes of hope and guided light from It's very different and personal shattered mosaic. 

"I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me."                                                                           - Cheryl Strayed

The gist: ( I can, in no way, convey its entirety or integrity in a mere blog)
Based on the memoir, "WILD" by Cheryl Strayed this movie follows actress, Reese Witherspoon in a gut-wrenching 1000+ mile hike of the PCT to escape or find? And ultimately, rediscover her
innately beautiful, flawed, yet, forgiven-self was wiser, stronger and more compassionate than ever imagined.

I've seen it twice, equally I watched in awe of the humiliating hypocrisy and fallibility of a woman, in her early 20's, grappling with conflicted loss, her young-marriage's imminent demise and the darkest deepest places of the rabbit hole that is grief, more specifically- the endless emotional contortions we "muscle-through" in attempts to evade it.

You will find yourself laughing at the remarkable human hurt and false confidence of a young woman fighting the will to give in, numb, tune it all out, and the phoenix within that flame-throws and fights to warm her soul from the hibernation. 

I saw a duplicitous perspective: Mother and daughter, highlighting the forces that infuriate us, or more specifically, me. We are often much more like the parent we seek to emulate or surpass/rebel against with indignation than we think. The slow and slumbering secret of that duality, (as I know too well, losing my self-proclaimed "Soul mate" father at 24; an estranged mother gone at 13. )I hated my motherfor leaving and hated myself for yearning for her. I spent so much time trying NOT to be her, or even remotely in her likeness that I got lost in the process of denying something, I lost everything else, including the purpose, the profound and indisputable simplicity: To just be. Exactly as you are and make adjustments only that serve your well being in a healthy way. 

Even in tiny, little brave steps, one can walk away from the shadow you have been so busy trying NOT to shape-shift into, you, wait...( let's be honest) I - became....nothing and everything in static. Erratic lines and flipping pictures, a swaying of figures that LOOK human, my very being had become an old box television on a channel I didn't receive.

Thank you- Amy, for inviting me. Thank you, Cheryl Strayed, for living so fearlessly in your vulnerability. Art imitates life, pain builds tolerance and loss makes room for growth. Thank you from the depths and fibers of my grateful soul, to Adrienne Rich, your words will live on in ethery, here, and in all the places and people in which I'll embed them. Thank you, feels so small....

The most powerful and poignant words came at the beginning of her journey in the movie. They were not words, but the very awakening I needed in 14 syllables that still resonate and remind me of a sacred of many truths I now collect and reflect on.  Below, lies an invaluable gift I was given that day, from a powerful woman whose energy has passed on.

"...denying her wounds came from the same source as her power.”
                                                                                                              - Adrianne Rich, Poet: "Power"


Living in the earth-deposits of our history

Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth

one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old

cure for fever or melancholy a tonic

for living on this earth in the winters of this climate

Today I was reading about Marie Curie

she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness

her body bombarded for years by the element

she had purified

It seems she denied to the end

the source of the cataracts on her eyes

the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends

till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying

her wounds


her wounds came from the same source as her power

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