Journal Date: November 25, 2020
I decided to do some reading for fun, for myself, so I picked up Women who Run with the Wolves again.
I’m picking up where I left off, in the chapter on nurturing the creative life.
And once again, I’m finding that it’s exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.
As I picked up where I’d left off, the theme of the chapter turned to the nature of the animus in a woman’s psyche.
This is something that has long interested me. I knew my inner masculine was far from healthy, but I was lost as to what to do about it. I think here, I have found a way to start.
“Animus can best be understood as a force that assists women in acting on their own behalf in the outer world. Animus helps a woman put forth specific and feminine inner thoughts and feelings in concrete ways.”
“He brings ideas from ‘out there’ back into her, and he carries ideas from her soul-self across the bridge to fruition and ‘to market’. Without the builder and maintainer of this land bridge, a woman’s inner life cannot be manifested with intent in the outer world.”
Furthermore, Estes speaks of the distrust many women feel for the masculine, even within themselves.
“Generally, this wariness comes from barely beginning to be healed traumas from family and culture during times previous, times when women were treated as serfs, not as selfs.”
And it is not even “previous times” for all. Not for me. This treatment was for me, in my time.
I think that’s the core of the issue: I was denied the right to have a self.
I was forbidden from myself.
I felt I existed only as a reflection, as a means to another’s end.
“It is still fresh in wild woman’s memory that there was a time when gifted women were tossed away as refuse, when a woman could not have an idea unless she secretly embedded and fertilized it in a man who then carried it out into the world under his own name.”
This has been the most painful part of it all: my alienation from self. My disconnection from my own body, mind, heart and soul. My self-betrayal and self-abandonment, based only on the assumption that I had less of a right (to think, to act, to be) than anyone else.
“The key aspect to a positive animus development is actual manifestation of cohesive inner thoughts, impulses and ideas.”
The positive animus appears to be action oriented, concerned with bringing form to the ideal. It is practical, not simply theoretical.
“Archetypally, the King [representing the Animus] symbolizes a force that is meant to work in a woman’s behalf and for her well-being, governing what she and soul assign to him, ruling over what psychic forces are granted to him.”
Unfortunately, the masculine as I have come to know it is not this way.
I have experienced the masculine not as protector, but as perpetrator. As the source of violence and fear. As that which seeks to control, and to silence me.
Even if only my own inner masculine, the animus which rules my terrorized interior world with an iron fist.
“But what if something takes over the creative flow, making it muddier and muddier? What if we become trapped by that, what if we somehow perversely begin to derive issue from it, to not only like it but rely on it, make a living by it, feel alive through it? What if we use it to get us out of bed in the morning, to take us somewhere, to make us a somebody in our own minds? Those are the traps that wait for all of us.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes
It is definitely a trap that I have fallen into.
And haven’t really gotten out of.
Honestly, I’m still here, wallowing in it as we speak.
I think it’s a great question to ask: What purpose is your illness/inferiority complex/lack of creativity serving for you?
Because it does serve some purpose at this point.
First, it’s a great excuse.
It gives me all the reasons I could ever need for why I can’t do x, y or z.
It allows me to tell myself, “Well, my unhappiness/lack of success/whatever is because I’m not really trying. If it weren’t for this, it would all be different…”
It allows me to avoid taking responsibility for my own life.
I can keep blaming it all on someone else, and keep away from the recognition of how I continually give away my power.
Because yes, I do have power. Even now.
I don’t have to wait until everything is “perfect,” until I’m “fully healed” or have gained approval or validation or whatever it is I’ve been waiting for.
I could start now if I wanted to. If I chose to.
I’m starting to suspect that I’ve always had more power than I think I do.
I must stop assuming otherwise.
It’s not just out of fear, but laziness, that I do this.
Because assuming I am powerless amounts to an act of surrender.
By refusing to look at all the options I have to create and influence change, it is as if I were just handing over my life and my self to whatever it is outside of me that would have me in subservience.
It’s time for me to remember: I don’t have to do that anymore.