Authentic Pagan, sometimes howling

So there is this brave, brilliant and much wounded lady who I have known for some time. Life has not treated her kindly recently. I’ve sat with her and watched her fight to suppress feelings. Sometimes there are flashes of pain and rage, and the glorious manic pixie she used to be before she stopped doing those things. This is hard for me, because I know a bit about how this works. Five or six years ago, I probably looked like that too. I was forcing control on an unruly body in the hopes of remaining tolerable and acceptable.

I am a creature of intensity and my natural condition “swings from high to deep, extremes of sweet and sour” as James so eloquently put it. (They could have written ‘sit down’ for me). Yesterday was all about the slightly dangerous giggling. I was high on nearly finishing the draft of a novel, and with a lot of exciting things going on. I’ve had a lot of lows in the last week, and the week before there was full on howling. Such is my nature. The things that matter to me are keenly felt. I live a vast and technicoloured emotional spectrum where the blacks are very black indeed and the bright stuff burns people. Not always just me.

I have tried being normal. To tone myself down, I have to crush all the things that also give me energy, drive, and inspiration. I’ve tried living there, it’s a sort of death. I frequently wander about with a mute button on, so as to be more bearable. People who find me too much are depressing. People who find me ridiculous, really aren’t a bonus (those who find themselves ridiculous sit down next to me). I find it exhausting being around people when I have to mute, so I keep to a minimum time spent in spaces where it isn’t appropriate to be who I am. It isn’t easy to judge, especially if I’m in pain, so I tend to err on the side of caution, steeping away and muting in order to survive.

I choose this path. I choose it very deliberately. I do not want the calm that comes from not feeling anything much. I’ve tried being numb, and dead and convenient, and it does not agree with me. The best that I am and the worst that I am, the most difficult and the most alive are all the same things. Fire in my head, howling at the moon, giggling with the little whirlwinds, falling in love with landscapes and people and stories and surprised deer. I choose a path that invites ecstasy and agony. I choose to be heartbroken. I choose to feel so much that it threatens to break me apart.

If I do not feel my way through this life, if I do not let it move me, inspire me, hurt me to the core of my being, knock me down, bowl me over, set me on fire… I am not me, and I am not living. I do not want to transcend this life. I do not want to be safe or saved from an excess of feeling.

Although no doubt sometimes it will also be messy and difficult, I will hold that space for being real and alive for anyone who wants to bring me their own howling, living self. I won’t always get it right, because when feelings are running high and wild, there is more to get wrong. Equally, if you can look at all this and say yes to it, then I will gift you as best I am able with all the magic and lunatic creativity I can manage when I feel able to be myself.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

15 responses to “Authentic Pagan, sometimes howling

  • Karen

    I love your words and thoughts and I can relate to them so much .

  • Jenny Colley

    Again, you have made me feel less alone. This is exactly how I have always been, and I have always struggled with it, felt somehow judged because of it. This has made me really think about accepting who I am instead of trying to mould myself into what people may wish me to be. Thank you again, Nimue, very much.

  • landisvance

    Love this! Had a similar experience this week at a discussion group where I was very enthused about the topic. Later all the bad tapes from my childhood about my voice not being acceptable came back to assail me. Argh!!!

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Bipolar myself. I do use medication to tone it down a bit because it was exhausting me of what energy that I have. Getting older has helped as well. as I have been through enough really tough stuff not to get so excited about smaller stuff.

    • Nimue Brown

      I *think* I’m not bipolar because my manic upswings are incredibly productive and tend not to be dangerous, or at least no more dangerous than I am the rest of the time. I’m good when i’m up, but, we’re all different and the important thing is to do what works.

  • Terry

    YES amazing….ever since I’ve found you and your blogs, books, and all that you share, I feel as if at times we’re kindreds so to speak. I’m beginning to see that there are more of us in this world.

  • Theodora

    Wonderfully said. My path choice toggles, hate the Mute Button!!!

  • Paula Prober

    Hi Nimue. Your description here is so familiar to me. So many people with “rainforest minds” go through this. I’m wanting to quote you on my blog. Is that OK? I’m not sure if I’d do it on the next post or when but will link to this post when I do. I hope that my blog is helping you understand your intensity, sensitivities and deep emotions.

    • Nimue Brown

      I follow and love Rainforest mind, I am really touched that you’d like to quote me, I really what you share there. I have that sort of a child, and then there’s me…

      • Paula Prober

        There is so much in this post that I could quote, I think I’ll reblog the whole thing. I may wait until Monday when it seems more readers are online. I haven’t reblogged before so hope I can write an introduction. I think I can. Do you know? And thank you so much, Nimue for following my blog.

      • Nimue Brown

        Yes, if gives you a little box to comment in as you reblog, but no means to set the timing…

  • lornasmithers

    I am utterly for this – being oneself- being alive – and hoooowling!

    And as they’re relevant to me at the moment some words that relate to this from Paula Rego about her Dog Woman paintings, do look them up!

    “To be a dog woman is not necessarily to be downtrodden; that has very little to do with it. In these pictures every woman’s a dog woman, not downtrodden, but powerful. To be bestial is good. It’s physical. Eating, snarling, all activities to do with sensation are positive. To picture a woman as a dog is utterly believable.”

  • “…A Vast and Technicoloured Emotional Spectrum…” | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] are the beautiful words of Nimue Brown. I read them on her blog this week and had to share them with you. Nimue gave me permission to quote her. I think that her […]

  • Atlas Educational

    I found your quote through Paula Prober’s Rainforest Mind blog. It speaks to me too. Keep being you and I’ll keep being me. That’s all we need to be.

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