“A woman’s passionate and creative nature is at risk if she cannot hold onto her sources of growth and joy.”
“Once there was a poor motherless child who had no shoes. But the child saved cloth scraps wherever she found them and over time sewed herself a pair of red shoes. They were crude but she loved them. They made her feel rich even though her days were spent gathering food in the thorny woods until far past dark.” From “The Red Shoes” as told by Clarissa Pinkola Estes in Women Who Run with Wolves
Every summer, we bring a folktale in the group. We run programming halftime so we take the opportunity to delve deeply into a single story, explore its symbolism, and use our writing to find each of the characters in ourselves. This year, we’re focused on “The Red Shoes” – a story about a girl who, after being taken in by a wealthy older woman, losses track of who she is only to try and fail to find herself in a pair of dangerous red shoes. The story explores themes such as the loss of soul, temptation, restriction, and recovery. These themes are familiar to our poetry and our circle. Discussion flowed easily about the traps of other people’s opinions, the soul-losses we’ve suffered, and the desires we harbor that nourish us and those that don’t.
In the pieces below, you’ll see pleas for freedom and loving prayers. The dance they are doing is not easy or without grace.
WORLD TOO NARROW
I find it narrow-minded that, generally speaking, my family, as well as society as a whole, expects me to live my life a certain way.
I pretend that I no longer take part in certain activities – one’s that others consider reckless, dangerous, irresponsible. Yet, I find them exhilarating, entertaining, and fulfilling. I generally work 40-50 hours a week attempting to display that I am mature, dependable, and responsible, when really I desire to be at the lake or on a mountain top with my family with a care in the world.
Spontaneously, acting on my wants is what I hunger for. No rules. No boundaries. No limits. Freedom. Not having my medicine on account of my doctor saying it’s necessary. Paying my phone bill three days later than is dated on my bill. Lighting up another cigarette although the surgeon general advises I don’t. Going home when it gets dark because that is what most people do. I desire to do things my way, on my own time. Because I chose what is best for me, not others.
No rules. No boundaries. No limits. Freedom!
A FIRE BURNS WITHIN
My name is nobody.
I am queen of all fallen angels,
lover of all the forsaken souls.
Silent screams are buried beneath their smiles.
Don’t worry, you no longer have to hide in the shadows.
Come out, come out.
Be your true self.
Don’t be afraid of the monsters under your bed.
They’re really you friends.
Get along with the voices inside your head.
Don’t fight the demon within you.
It’s a part of you.
You no longer have to be alone
because I love you.
You no longer have to bleed alone –
two bodies, one soul.
I will take care of you.
A secret fire began to burn in their hearts
and the truth set them free,
free to be who they are,
who they want to be.