The child of destiny has to face a long period of obscurity. This is a time of extreme danger, impediment, or disgrace. He is thrown inward to his own depths or outward to the unknown; either way, what he touches is a darkness unexplored. And this is a zone of unsuspected presences, benign as well as malignant: an angel appears, a helpful animal, a fisherman, a hunter, crone, or peasant. –Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Bone Soup Press (and Lulu.com) published Girltruth from the Belly. Please check it out! Or buy it (you won’t regret it!)
I love Campbell’s quote above. While navigating into the creation process for girltruth from the belly, I faced a 7 year plus looooong period of obscurity filled with shadows, doubt, tricksters and stuckness. It was definitely a period of danger for me because limbo feels confusing and fragmenting. The irony is that I consciously chose to enter the past in order to free some old parts of me that had gotten stuck in the metaphorical belly of the wolf long ago –parts of me that were fragmented and frozen. I needed and wanted those parts back and I was committed not only to freeing them but changing my future. I believe 100% that it is possible to change your life by re-writing your past.
Baba Yaga, the ambiguous Russian crone witch of the forest/forest mother, became my subversive fairygodmother. She gave me a great many difficult tasks. I tried not to complain. I did what I needed to do and asked her for more. When it was time to leave, I graciously left.
I not only re-discovered and re-engergized lost parts of myself (and more) but I also retrieved my coming of age soul (she needed retrieving). I discovered too that there are some very colorful fairytale heroines living inside of me who do not follow the script of the stories they were once written inside of. Freedom is a huge theme in the book –the discovery of adventure and freedom within the journey to becoming a woman. I’m stronger and more full, sassier and more fiery because of this journey. I made peace with parts of myself and parts of my past that I was ashamed of or which felt embarrassing or which I’d disowned. Making peace with myself is the greatest gift I could give myself and my community.
The underworld felt fragmenting. But I walked through it patiently. I trusted the strange upside down ness of the journey. I stalked stories and I stalked stories and I stalked stories. I held them close. I loved them. I nurtured them. I fed them bone broth. I fed them butter. I danced them and danced them and danced them. until they broke free and poured through my body in an embodied voice.
Because of this important and at times really frustrating work on myself, I am now a very strong and rooted guide/story midwife for others who wish to stalk their stories. I midwifed myself through the process and I like the baby I gave birth to.
I discovered puckwudgenees, fairytale heroines and dead Indian princesses turned nature sprites inside of me. My father came to life within the pages of my book in a mythic, otherworldly way. It was nice to dance with him. My dreams offered treasures and I changed my fate. I changed my fate. I chose the path of destiny and said goodbye to the path of fate.
I even danced with the Devil in underground Moscow.
Baba though…Baba Yaga –the not so good witch of the forest –she sange while I slept beneath Birch and Oak forests. She offered gingerbread when I was down. She gave me bone soup when I was needing more nourishment. She gave me riddles and rhymes in the most subversive ways. She knows that one must emerge from the depths and the roots and tell the tale of the journey in order to fully return from the journey. She knows that this is what truly transforms not only the adventurista, but also, the listeners.
Thanks to Baba I stuck with it. I persevered. I grew. I matured a story seed into a forest of birch, pine and oak stories and I moved the story through my soul, through my psyche, through my emotions, through my mind, through my body and through nature.
I emerged stronger.
I really do want you to read my book. It’s a coming of age story, in my coming of age voice. It navigates small town challenges in a magical realist way, but it also navigates the larger than life story I experienced while living in Moscow, Russia in 1992, during the transition from Communism to Democracy. I discovered my dusha, or soul when I was 19 but I didn’t have the language then to really digest or integrate it. It gestated for a long, long, long, long time into a story that took 7 writing years to integrate and birth.
Please read it and be inspired! I want you to be inspired to tell your story –especially the stories hardest to tell. I want you to really truly know the power of story in your body too and experience the nourishing power of bone and butter stories.