Journal Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020
I just finished an exercise Estés suggested we do in this chapter on rage in Women who Run with the Wolves. It’s called “Descansos,” and here we are to mark all the little (and large) deaths of our lives.
“Descansos are symbols that mark a death. Right there, right on that spot, someone’s journey in life halted unexpectedly. To make descansos means taking a look at your life and marking where the small deaths, las muertes chiquitas, and the big deaths, las muertes grandotas, have taken place.”
Estés encourages us to make our own descansos, to sit down and examine our lives, our losses, all the places which must be remembered and at the same time, put to rest.
I had a lot of crosses to mark.
My life has been filled with losses. One right after another, with little chance to recover in between.
At this point, I have between 25-30 crosses marked down to represent what I have lost.
It’s a lot, but somehow it still doesn’t feel like enough.
I don’t even think my greatest losses are even on here.
My deepest pain comes from having missed something more intangible than a job or a boyfriend or anything I listed here before.
Maybe my greatest loss is actually me. My own self.
To have grown up never knowing (not to mention never liking) myself.
To never have felt at home. Not even in my own body.
Especially not in my own body. This was a source of shame, and where I could locate all of my pain. Better just to not be here. To escape, by whatever means necessary.
And not just my body. I was estranged from all of me.
Always looking outside of myself for the “right” answer.
The “right” way to look, think, feel, act, be.
I didn’t even know what I was looking for.
I just knew that I was doing it wrong.
I was just wrong, period.
I never belonged to myself.
That’s the worst part.
I was in such a rush to give myself away. I would sell myself off to the lowest bidder. I was constantly in a rush to find the quickest way to betray myself next.
It’s very sad.
Looking back on all of this, I feel so tired.
What was the meaning behind all of this?
It’s hard to understand.
But I’m starting to feel ready to grieve my losses. To grieve, and to let go.
“Remember in ‘The Crescent Moon Bear’ the woman said a prayer and laid the wandering orphaned dead to rest. That is what one does in descansos. Descansos is a conscious practice that takes pity on and gives honor to the orphaned dead of your psyche, laying them to rest at last.
“Be gentle with yourself and make the descansos, the resting places for the aspects of yourself that were on their way to somewhere, but never arrived. Descansos mark the death sites, the dark times, but they are also love notes to your suffering. They are transformative. There is a lot to be said for pinning things to the earth so they don’t follow us around. There is a lot to be said for laying them to rest.”