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Love Your Rebellion
transform shame into celebration
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Love Your Rebellion
In We Will Still Initiate, I delved into the innate human longing to fully embrace life and uncover our true selves.
In a modern society that often lacks meaningful rites of passage and intentional avenues for cultivating self-wisdom, we inevitably seek alternative experiences that temporarily ignite our sense of aliveness.
From this perspective, addiction, promiscuity, and other forms of personal rebellion can be seen as calls for attention from the depths of our being.
In Reclaiming the Wild Soul, Mary Reynolds Thompson writes,
“Modernity, with it’s mechanistic mind-set, excels at certain things: expediency, efficiency, uniformity. But the wild soul—who you really are—gets its sense of power and imagination from the natural world, and thrives on an altogether different set of values: creativity, authenticity, diversity. Exiled from Earth, like a wounded animal the wild soul goes into hiding. And we are left feeling off balance and incomplete.
Our psyches then look for any available means to experience a sense of wild freedom. Addiction, everything from alcohol and shopping to technology and pharmaceutical mood enhancers, is a frequent symptom of the soul’s desire to break free of the deadening aspects of modernity.”
Therefore, rebelliousness does not indicate inherent “badness.” It expresses our yearning for something greater and more alive than what has already been offered.
Especially when what we’ve been offered is a modern education system that eradicates individual genius, a ‘total work’ focused culture that values productivity above creative curiosity, and a rampant belief system that we must be ‘good’ to be loved.
When we consider that we are more than our conditioning, status, and accomplishments, rebellion is an appropriate and necessary response.
Through rebellion, we reclaim what is rightfully ours: individuated wholeness. We must learn to break away from the status quo to know who we truly are.
So the invitation from here is: celebrate your rebellion and mine it for its gold.
Rebelling Beyond the Good Girl
During my 20s, I spent seven years working as an adult entertainer. Stripping at bachelor parties on weekends to pay my way through college.
My job as a dancer was unique. I did not dance at clubs or ‘work a pole.’ We were brought into private, luxury Airbnb homes to entertain (mostly) well-adjusted groups of professional men.
The money was exceptional; I only worked two nights per week and could focus on being a full-time undergraduate student.
What began as a practical move to finance my education soon became an outlet for my repressed parts. After a lifetime of embodying the ‘good girl’ persona, something inside me yearned to break free.
However, being a stripper clashed with my ingrained paradigm of ‘goodness,’ leading me to keep it a secret and carry the weight of living a double life. I was especially terrified of my mother and teachers finding out. I couldn’t bear their shock and disappointment.
Shame, self-judgment, and fear of being perceived as ‘bad’ were the bars that kept me locked inside a cage. I kept this secret for seven years.
Until I couldn’t any longer.
After seven years, it was like my psyche had split into two.
Two lives. Two personas. Two truths about my nature.
I eventually sat with the recognition that I was all of these parts. I was both the 4.0 GPA high-achieving student who loved being a kind ‘good girl’ and the erotic, wild and sassy ‘bad girl’ who came out on the weekends.
One human — many sides.
Looking back, I now recognize my decision to be a stripper as one of my most important rebellions.
I was raised in a culture that represses wild feminine essence, shames erotic intelligence, and dampens life-force energy. Becoming a secret stripper was my soul saying, “No, I want something more because I AM more.”
Once I recognized this, shame transformed into celebration.
What was once the most shameful thing about me became a force for my integrated power, self-expression, and personal agency.
How We Break Free
Recognizing the significance of rebellion in our journey towards self-discovery and reclaiming our wild soul, we must now explore how to break free from the cage.
First and foremost, it is essential to cultivate self-compassion and understanding. We must release the judgments and shame instilled within us, embracing our rebellious experiences as opportunities for growth and transformation.
By reframing our rebellions as expressions of our longing for authenticity and aliveness, we can shift from self-criticism to self-acceptance.
Once you begin to accept yourself exactly as you are, your life will transform. It’s amazing how things naturally shift when we are no longer riddled with shame.
Find the others that encourage your self-exploration. Surround yourself with communities that value authenticity above all else.
When I found people who not only celebrated my stripper days but were deeply curious about it, I was more accepting of myself and realized how unbelievably cool and special it was. I’ve even gone as far as to give my husband a lap dance at his 34th birthday party in front of 50 people — a massive evolution from my fear of telling just one person.
Additionally, engaging with nature and reconnecting with the natural world can be a profound source of inspiration and guidance. The wild soul finds solace and nourishment in the rhythms and cycles of the Earth, reminding us that all aspects of ourselves are part of nature — we are not separate, even in our rebellion.
As Mary Oliver reminds us,
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
Your rebellion is your medicine and your earned wisdom in this lifetime. Welcome it home and celebrate it.
With rebellious love,