A Quoted Message for the Ugly Duckling in Me…

In our last book club session, Rasha gave me the honor of choosing the theme to read and its relevant story from Women who Run with the Wolves. For a mysterious reason, I chose the theme “Finding One’s Pack: Belonging as Blessing” featuring the famous story The Ugly Duckling.

More than a week later, things happened that caused the words we read that day to haunt me. so I got the book from the car and reread that part again, and before I know it, I was typing down the parts that touched me about motherhood and mothering relating to examples of my mother-line. Lines that represented my mom made me angry, lines that represented my late nana made me cry, and lines that represented me made me scared.

Anyway, recognizing the ugly duckling in me, I had to put the quotes right where I can always see them to remind myself of things I need to remember, until I belong.

one of the book covers for the story, the one I liked the most

One keeps knocking at the wrong doors even after one knows better. It is hard to imagine how a person is supposed to know which doors are right doors if one has never known a right door to begin with. However, the wrong doors are the ones that cause you to feel the outcast all over again.

This is the “looking for love in all the wrong places” response to exile. When a woman turns to repetitive compulsive behavior – repeating over and over again a behavior that is not fulfilling that causes decline instead of sustained vitality- in order to salve her exile, she is actually causing more damage because the original wounded state is not being attended to and she incurs new wounding with each foray.

This is like putting some puny medicine on your nose when you have a gash in your arm. Different women choose different kinds of “wrong medicine”. Some choose the obviously wrong, such as bad company, overindulgences that are harmful or soul-stealing, things that first build a woman way up and then tear her down to ground zero minus five.

The solutions to these bad choices are severalfold. If the woman were able to sit herself down and peer into her own heart, she would see there a need to have her talents, her gifts, and her limitations respectfully acknowledged and accepted. So, to begin healing, stop kidding yourself that a little feel-good of the wrong sort will take care of the broken leg. Tell the truth about your wound. And then you will get a truthful picture of the remedy to apply to it. Don’t pack whatever is easiest or most available into the emptiness. Hold out for the right medicine. You will recognize it because it makes your life stronger rather than weaker.

The Message: Don’t overcompensate, and don’t distract yourself, you know better.

While it is useful to make bridges even to those groups one does not belong to, and it is important to try to be kind, it is also imperative to not strive too hard, to not believe too deeply that if one acts just right, if one manages to tie down all the itches and twitches of the wildish criatura, that one can actually pass for a nice, restrained, subdued, and demure lady-woman. It is that kind of acting, that kind of ego-wish to belong at all costs, that knocks out the Wild Woman connection in the psyche. Then instead of vital woman you have a woman who is de-clawed. Then you have a well-behaved, well-meaning, nervous woman, panting to be good. No, it is better, more graceful, and far more soulful to just be what and as you are and let the other creatures be what they are too.

The Message: Be who you really are, don’t be “tamed” by the society that doesn’t know better and those who represent it.

Freezing up is the worst a person can do. Coldness is the kiss of death to creativity, relationship, life itself. Some women act as though it is an achievement to be cold. It is not. it is an act of defensive anger.

The Message: Don’t let anger freeze you, don’t find solace in the coldness because you may freeze to death. Be creative and keep moving until you find the warmth you need, don’t freeze.

The person who might take us out of the ice, who might even physically free us from our lack of feeling, is not necessarily going to be the one to whom we belong. It may be, as in the story, another of those magical but fleeting events that again come along when we least expected it, an act of kindness from a passing stranger.

The Message: Don’t mistake “help” for “belonging”.

May I never forget… but more importantly, may I do by it… amen.

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~ by insomniac on July 17, 2010.

10 Responses to “A Quoted Message for the Ugly Duckling in Me…”

  1. i relate to the third one.
    Looks like i’m in big trouble and i need to deal with it NOW!

  2. Perfect Post!!
    Message number one made me “OH!!”
    again, perfect post!!

    • :)

      i love that book club, and i love that you know what i am talking about when i post about what we read there…

      for whatever it’s worth, i count you as “my pack” :)

  3. […] Post has been in the making since the last book club session, the same chapter discussed here… plus my life of […]

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