I Am Mine

“I Am Mine”. This is such a simple statement, yet something that is extremely hard for me to believe and embody. I look back over the landscape of my (almost) 41 years in the world, and I see a journey that slowly took away the bones of my being, holding on to them as I tried to navigate through life.

The hands of societal constructs, gender norms, purity culture and toxic religion reached out and grabbed on to my true sense of self. Parts of me became scattered throughout this landscape, and it became more and more difficult to function as a whole. I had no sense of autonomy, no agency. I did not feel like my body and mind belonged to me. I would second guess every intuitive instinct rising up in me, and always outsource decision-making to voices outside of me. I realized after four decades that I do not trust myself, because I was never taught to. I also realized: “This is not how I want to live”.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about La Loba - a woman who collects bones in the desert and then sings over them until they come alive again. I think my spirit, my soul, my inner essence, is that woman. She is on a journey through the desert, finding these lost bones and carefully rearranging them until she can sing over them so a strong sense of Self can be born. One that realizes her life, her thoughts, her decisions, her body, belongs to her.

“I’ve not forgotten the song of those dark years, hambre del alma, the song of the starved soul. But neither have I forgotten the joyous canto hondo, the deep song, the words of which come back to us when we do the work of soulful reclamation.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes - Women Who Run With The Wolves

I cannot connect with this true, wild self unless I spend time with her in a quiet space. She is most commonly found in nature, in reading wide and deep, in love and sensuality, in spiritual practices, in writing, in drawing. She is quiet, but strong. She is unshaking, grounded and rooted in peace. This is how I know her voice when I hear it. She is not frantic or anxious. She is soulful presence, rich in experience, artistic, creative and expansive. She is limitless. She cannot be caged. I am so proud to have her in me. I am that Self. I am mine. 

“To sing means to use the soul-voice. It means to say on the breath the truth of one’s power and one’s need, to breathe soul over the thing that is ailing or in need of restoration. This is done by descending into the deepest mood of great love and feeling, till one’s desire for relationship with the wildish Self overflows, then to speak one’s soul from that frame of mind. That is singing over the bones.” - Clarissa Pinkola Estes - Women Who Run With The Wolves

You can find my illustration based on this concept here: La Loba Illustration by Karien Bredenkamp

What do you see?

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