The Importance of Being Wilde

© Penny Sobr.

"Women are a fascinatingly wilful sex. Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself." ~Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

I have a problem with authority. Not authority in general… usually… sometimes… okay, often… but, even more so, the authority that generates from within. Every night I go to bed and lie in the dark telling myself exactly what I am going to do the next day… and then, once awake, I scoff, mutter something about not telling me what to do at myself and then I don’t do what I told myself to do.

Some might label this particular personality issue “lack of motivation” or “laziness” or
“madness”. But, I know what lack of motivation looks like… as I have spent a large chunk of my lifetime buried in the melancholy. I know laziness. Been there. Sometimes still do that. As for the madness… well, I’ve never claimed to be completely sane. After years of medication and multiple attempts to quiet the voices (likely the reason I don’t listen when I tell myself to do something) I’ve realized one thing: Sanity is overrated.

The point is: I have more than a wee bit of a rebellious nature. I always have. It is who I am. You can likely chalk half of that up to being raised the preacher’s daughter (Footloose, anyone?) or the more volatile (It’s true.) combination of preacher’s daughter plus missionary kid… but only half. Recent correspondence with my birth mother (I am
adopted.) leads me to conclude that heredity has a much larger part to play in who I am than I could ever have imagined. That fact has a ring of the “Well, duh!” to it but I am so much like my father in various aspects of character that I have always placed a lot of faith in upbringing and environment as it relates to my disposition. But, while my parents had some strict moments (usually combined with being in the “foreign” country of the USA), they were, in retrospect, far less prison warden-like than the parents of many of my peers. I didn’t necessarily have a lot to rebel against. Still, I chose mutiny over acceptance. It could be worse. It could always be worse. I could be someone with a rebellious nature and no moral compass. I’m not.

Adulthood has been far more difficult than those formative teenage “rebellion” years because now, as Wilde suggests, I am constantly… and I mean c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y… “in wild revolt” against myself. As with any war, there are both negative and positive consequences. A prominent negative is my penchant for over-analyzing and subsequently internalizing everything. “It’s entirely my fault.” “Woe is me.” I’ll take some cheese with my whine… please and thank you. But, then, there is the positive. Being über-analytical has often provided me with the ability to step outside my emotions… distance myself from myself… and make decisions that would have seemed overwhelmingly impossible in normal circumstances. My wild nature has also given me the strength to survive, overcome, face and fight some unbelievably difficult situations. I would no longer be here without it.

I spent the better part of my twenties ignoring my wild side… convinced that it had to be tamed when what it really needed was mere redirection. The choice to suppress it was detrimental in more ways than one. In my thirties I began channeling my wildness into the strength and power I needed in order to find myself. Without it I was lost, hungry, weak and wandering. With it I am beginning to recognize the woman in the mirror again. Now, if I can only manage to start acknowledging her “to do” list… because that’s wildly important too.

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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