What does it feel like to let yourself roar? Really roar, and feel the fierce knowingness that you carry in your bones come up and out?

My experience has been that it feels like truth. Truth telling. Of opening up to a channel of clarity and strength that comes from within, that becomes a guiding light.

I’ve been finding that once the furious, the fierce, the vigorously raw and truthful and sometimes ugly, angry, sad and surly words and feelings come out, there is room for more of me. All of me. That once I connect with and stay rooted to my own ability to be truthful, to myself and others, I can feel more joy. More lightness. More delight. More clarity and energy arises which fuels all of me, and all of my life.

Continuing on from the writing I shared in fury forced into straight lines, here are the last three days of my writing from the down and dirty online Liberated Lines writing course.

Day 5: ready to roar

No. No. No.

This cannot continue.

This all stops here. Now.

Picture lips pulled back, snarling toothed feral animals. Picture protective bear dogs. Picture hackles raised, hair bristling, amber glowing eyes.

Yes. The wolfmother has spoken.

This roar has been pushing and shoving inside me, attempting to surface, attempting to break the electric sinew of secrets held tight by shame. For years. Years and years and years.

This is my way of breaking the trauma spell. By saying no. I won’t participate any longer. I will speak up.

The wrongness has existed as an internal vibrating sense of dissonance for years. An internal shimmering buzz that doesn’t match the exterior surface, a buzz that sets my teeth into clenching mode, that makes me want to scream and run and hide and bury myself under duvets, internalizing a sense of shame and not-enoughness that has nothing to do with me.

 But that’s the where the power of shame and secrey lies. In the internalized shame and voicelessness, combined with a thrumming dissonant sense of not-rightness. The voices that say ‘it’s all in your head’ and ‘you’re too sensitive’ and ‘you’re too much’ and ‘it’s not a big deal’ when it’s all a really big deal.

For so long there has been this roaring inside of me. A buzzing tinnitus combined with a clenching jaw and eternally held tummy and lips pursed to prevent the tears, always riding and trying to hide this wave just under the surface, and all of this time I didn’t know it was my ROAR.

I won’t continue on with unspoken misunderstood rules and ways of being that feel so wrong.
And during these years of being so invested in holding it together, trying to understand why, when things looked so right, it all felt so wrong, the roar went unvoiced, explained away as chronic fatigue, grief, anger, oversensitivity, hypothyroidism.
That’s what the secret, held in and denied roar looks like.
This, then, is the roar in truth and action. This is the wolfmother in her pack standing her ground, incisors on display, claws digging in, defending herself, her little ones, snarls blurring into one long sustained resonant ROAR.
No! No. No.
I will not remain silent in environments so clearly riddled with addictions and histories of sexual and physical abuse.
No! I will not take this sense of shame and grief and anger that we all carry and turn it against myself.
No! I will not fall into ancient and ugly patterns of pretending and ‘not-seeing’ and mythmaking.
No! I will not pretend that everything is fucking ok.
I won’t. I just won’t.
This roar comes through in a feral snarl. It’s the wolfmother who says I have a right to my voice and I’ll use it and goddamn it I don’t care if you don’t want to hear it.
It is no longer me. The shame, secrecy and deceptive storytelling is not mine to carry. Not ever again.
It cannot continue.
It all stops here. Now.

Day 6: repeat

Playing on repeat.

Falling by Alicia Keys. 2001.

Riding the city bus in Montreal from one Concordia University campus to the next. Motion sick nausea keeping me close and contained, tears from a fresh stinging betrayal holding the tears millimetres from the surface. Then a beat floats over the travelers and pierces my heart, eardrums resonating and amplifying the waaaaiiiiilllllllllllll. Aaahh I ah keep on faaaallin’, in and out, ah ah ah-of looove with-ah you.

Played on repeat for two or three months. It was prescient. The back and forth with that man went on to produce my daughter 3 months later. And endings, finally, finally.

Reading on repeat. The poetry of Nayyirah Waheed.

Her book, Salt, operates in my life like an oracle deck. What kind of guidance am I needing today? Let the book fall open and I shall feed off the words summoned from her brilliance.

This poem – currently in it’s 8th month of repeat:

not wanting me.
the beginning of me
wanting myself.
thank you.
-the hurt
Her words scratching at my own hurt. The hurt that has been, also, on repeat, old beliefs of being unwanted. Her words, a salve and a map that help me find a way out of the repetitions I no longer desire.
1988. My father took each of my three siblings and myself on a father/child date. I was 10. It was meant to be a regular outing, but ended up being the one time. We each got to choose exactly what we wanted to do with him, and I chose the ballet, performing Swan Lake. We went to dinner beforehand. Prescient, this choice.
Because it’s always on repeat. Loving dance. Loving dancing.
Anthropology studies always brought me back around to movement, dance, and culture. A masters degree that was all about dance, and culture.
My healing work, which focused on movement, the body, and releasing restrictions. Creating more ease in movement. I go to 5Rhythms dance every week, and I’m producing a small show of contemporary dance solos in the little valley I live in.
Dance is a repetitive truth I live in my body, a constant passion. Kitchen dances with my daughter while cooking dinner, an almost daily occurrence. She plans the playlist with her 13-year-old pop star passion and I don’t care who we listen to, I just dance, moving and laughing with the passionate silliness and energy we summon into our lives in this unplanned routine.
Longing and soul-hunger.
For poetry, for artists creations, for painting and writing time. For connection with people, with lovers, it’s a constant on-repeat hunger, not always satiated, but always present.
The things that are on repeat.

Day 7: bringing alive

Bringing alive the evening light and the art on my walls and the projects waiting and my daughter upstairs and my small bank account and my single motherhood and the injustice of the legal system and the unfairness of my daughter having a deadbeat dad and a family I am confounded and distanced from and the dance classes I take and the conversations I have and the new friends I encounter and the possibility of singleness meaning new lovers or none at all but the aliveness of the moment meaning that it is all in me to just be with it.

To be alive and be exactly where i am and take joy in
the evening light
the art on my walls
my daughter reading in her bedroom
the creative fire that never stops it’s torrent pouring through me
the new job i’m starting
the low numbers in my bank account
the friends i encounter at the coffee shop
the quiet time i have
Yes. Taking pleasure in it all.
Bringing alive too – the graciousness of generosity. Friends who will take my daughter on a trip with their children, take her cross country skiing with them and drop her off at her aunties’ for the week. All because she has a time off school but I can’t take time off work to be with her.
Cooking food for friends who just had twins. Witnessing their fatigue and overwhelm. the effort of bringing alive with passion, commitment and routine, 2 not quite 6 pound babies.
Alive to the fact that it is dark. It is winter. Fruit tastes bland. The aliveness at play in my natural world dictates this – it’s not the season for fruit.
Bringing alive an acceptance that expansion also includes contraction.
Living into my own contractions, breathing towards my expansions.
The satisfaction of physically earned fatigue.
A new job, as a beginner carpenter. An expansion into physical creative hard work. A contraction into the fear and nervousness and excitement that accompanies this transition.
Pulling back my part-time job postural healing work to a selective few: a contraction in the work I offer, a contraction away from marketing, which necessarily includes an expansion towards my exactly right clients because I don’t have time or patience to work with any other kind.
Bringing alive my disbelief in balance. This mystical teeter totter point of suspension. It’s all a pendulum swing from expansion to contraction and back again.
Feeling so grateful too for the sunshine, which shows up earlier each morning, disappears later each evening, promising the tip into spring and summer and heat and sweat and skin and greenery.
Feeling so grateful for the grating harshness of withdrawing and winterizing, the internal growth that hurts, hurts, hurts.
Expanding into a certainty that I am not a chill person. Being chill is not my thing. Bringing alive a light bright acceptance that it is more than ok to feel and think and believe and express who I am and what i stand for.
Bringing to aliveness my own self. No hiding, no shrinking, no pretending.
I am as I am, and so I am. Yes!
With so much appreciation for your reading eyes, until next time!
ps – Alisha Sommers, one of the creators of Liberated Lines, is a featured artist in my lusciously and soulfully interview series. It was such a pleasure to interview her. Visit the archives and read about her here.
pps – you can read the first half of my writing from this course here.
ppps – there is only one more week till The Bare Bones dance showcase premieres. It’s so exciting, particularly because I’ve now seen everyone’s creations, and they’re amazing.
If you’re in the Cowichan Valley, come. We’ve created some deep and richly soulful magic for you.  Join us at 8:30 on March 5th.
Great appreciation goes to the following businesses for donating their space & time to this offering: Harmony Yoga Center, Adage Studio and Moondance Dynamic Arts School.