If I said to you, “he is a dog” you would know what I mean, right? Or that she eats like a horse. That kid has the strength of a lion. We use animals at metaphors for qualities that exist in both the animal and human world. We say, he crushed his workout like a beast, or she runs like a gazelle. It is a useful repertoire of metaphors, but there is a dark side to it also.
A lot of our anxieties have to do with what I would call our “animal selves.” We share our biology with animals – chimpanzees and humans share 99% of our DNA. We share biological functions – the need to sleep, eat, excrete, mate, give birth, and die. All of those things are shrouded in shame in some way – what to eat, who to date, how to parent have all become hot topics.
One definition of feral according to Merriam Webster is, “having escaped from domestication and become wild.” For this writing prompt I would like to describe feral as “behaviors, actions, and lifestyles that are on the outskirts of mainstream society.” Obviously, the extent of wildness can vary. 🙂
Being feral is about not fitting in to the dominant narrative of how we are “supposed to be” according to the media, our families, our communities. I describe it as a feeling of insecurity that has grown in me as I grew older and more self-conscious. Being too “domesticated” is what keeps us from doing things that may make our heart sing. It may be extremely corny but the classic shamanic wisdom is so pure:
When was the last time you sang? When was the last time you danced? When was the last time you told a story? When was the last time you sat in stillness?
Writing Prompt: Using the questions above, write about the last time you felt wild enough to sing out loud, dance like no one is watching, told a story that felt vibrant, and sat in a moment of stillness.
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