I’ve been sittin’ here trying to find myself. I get behind myself; I need to rewind myself. Kid Rock, Only God Knows Why
And that’s exactly where my tater head is at. Sitting here. Remembering who I forgot to be: wild. Southern. Enraptured by the organic magic of dirt, pine, stars, sweat and living and that sound my heart made in my ears against possibility and time. I remember the first time someone called me “wile chile,” running up to the porch with dirt embedded in my knobby knees and hollerin’ on about I’m an Injun! Wooo wooo! That self I was has been haunting my mind of late. I reckon being pregnant so late in life had its lessons, as I rocked on this porch only a month ago and decided that the “unexpected child” would be subject to a Pagan upbringing, from scratch: no plastic Barbies, no trips to Toys R Us, but rather wooden blocks and homemade drums and mudpies under a playground canopy of pines. Late last night, dreaming, I saw her dancing in bare feet in a field of fireflies and remembered: that was me. Why, I think I was pregnant with . . . myself?
The me before questions of legitimacy (an Apache father? laws, don’t let that get out, quick, hide her name) in a small, society-centered Southern town.  The me before divorce, fracture, drugs, New Jersey, and the shame of sexual abuse. That me before the man who would sire my only daughter and all those broken bones, broken songs, broken promises. The me that still had a grandma who fought the tyranny of town and the stigma of black sheepdom within my own small domestic sphere. The me that Grandma said was special, beautiful, wild. The me who saw auras and thought them pretty, not the me who hid that gift as “the mark of the devil.” That me. Dancing there. Before my skin had taken the mark of “the bad one.” The unmarked me.
Doesn’t it take too long? This dance we do to make others love us? Doesn’t it wear our toes to bloody stumps and our souls to tattered rags?
It has taken too long for the me I have become.
I found Southern Wile Chile yesterday in the most unlikely place. Let me tell you a story.
When I was writing my dissertation about the sacred feminine in literature, my bestie Robin Bates called incessantly–stubbornly–to tell me about this book The Da Vinci Code. Now, I was butt-ass-deep in academically/researched critique at the time and felt that this new fad of pop fiction would side track me, waylay me in commercialized bull hockey at a time that was critical toward my career. And she bitched on. Day after day.
Me: So, Kristeva is rockin’ my socks with this idea of reversed femininity.
Rob: Read Dan Brown.
Me: WTF, listen. Foucault’s perspective on this is hedging a whole new slant on Chapter Three.
Rob. Read Dan Brown.
Me: Sigh. Who the fuck is Dan Brown???
And then: it landed on my desk, in the middle of the clusterfuck that was my dissertation. With quotes like:
“As long as there has been one true God, there has been killing in his name.”
“Telling someone about what a symbol means is like telling someone how music should make them feel.”
“The Pentacle – The ancients envisioned their world in two halves – masculine and feminine. Their gods and goddesses worked to keep a balance of power. Yin and Yang. When male and female were balanced, there was harmony in the world. When they were unbalanced, there was chaos.”
“The quest for the Holy Grail is literally the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene. A journey to pray at the feet of the outcast one, the sacred feminine.”
My goddess, the world rocked in the two days that I devoured what my committee would later deem “pop fiction.” Yup. It was a cheeseburger: and I was starving. The Ivory Tower had left my veins atrophied and depleted and Dan Brown showed up with an i.v. of goddess shock and iron. After a brief, but interesting, battle with that committee, I won ten full pages in my doctoral book of shadows for Dan’s Holy Goddess. And then, yesterday . . .
I was folding the Southern Fried Hubby’s boxers in that weird, after-funk feel of Thanksgiving-before-Christmas gloom when The Da Vinci Code tripped across the tele in Hollywoodesque flash and pompenstance. Grief had me in her tight old woman clutches, regardless of turkeys and how-are-yous and the-light-bill-is-due with my lipstick on just right and the trickle of baby blood almost stilled when the end scene came . . . this scene from the movie I cursed out loud in the local theater for its capitalist glamour. And there he was. Robert Langdon. Kneeling at the tomb of the Sacred Feminine.
In a blinding swoosh of hormones and holiday hell, I hit my knees. In front of a television. In pajamas.
And I remembered the Wile Chile I was, dancing, dancing, dancing with the fireflies that She had made, timbering against the sound of ancient maternity, a holy womb of the Universe, that heartbeat in my veins sounding like river water towards the me I was, the me I remember, the me that echoes Her. I remembered. Covered in blood. Dancing in sorrow. I remember still.
As I gather myself, civilized and non-wile, I have made a decision. It no longer toils my soul that my people do not accept me. It no longer breaks my peace that I have an enemy who will not relent the grasping of my heels. It no longer is acceptable to my conscious mind that my worship of the Great Mother is not acceptable to the 2,000-year-long myth of phallus worship and feminine degradation. I am the Dancer of my youth. I am Her child. I am, as my grandma knew, the echo of the Divine.
My sacrifice is complete in its horror and beauty. I no longer need the forgiveness of my kin, the acceptance of my family, the indoctrination of my society. In other words:
Yippee Kay Aye, Motherfuckers. I’m back. And I brought Hell with me. She is breathtaking, malevolent, benevolent, sacred and sacre. She is what the Western world has feared she would be for two thousand years: alive.
Hope you guessed Her name. I just call her mom.
1. I wasn’t “actually” illegitimate. Southern society concepts of legitimacy are strange, at best. I was simply from a previous, unsanctioned by money/church/society law marriage. So be it.