BY COURTNEY QUINLAN WAKING WILD

I Want A Home Inside Myself Built With My Own Hands And Love

hidden self - the urban howl

BY COURTNEY QUINLAN

I’ve been living outside myself. I’ve been savvy enough to do so without many noticing. Just hovering over my truths. Just brushing over the makeshift machinery of my brain. Just grabbing thoughts and throwing them to the wind, to the grave, to the open sky. Just letting myself go, sitting passively as I try to escape.

I try to run from my own self, from my own power and my own worth. From my sense of purpose in an increasingly uncomfortable world.

I want a home. I want a home inside myself. Built with my hands and love, with my determination and perseverance.

I’ve lost myself again, in parenting, in relationships, in my quest to become the perfect version of some person I assume myself to be. I slip in my own skin. I wear it like armour or like glass. Today, I wear it like velvet, heavy and thick. Sometimes it feels as though it’s the only thing that keeps me together. Just flesh.

When your own heart calls you home after you’ve been orbiting around yourself for light years, for decades, for minutes and seconds when you watch yourself flutter away. Like the wings of a dragonfly, like a kite soaring tangled in branches of the tree – cut down and falling, gently floating to earth.  Just like your feet, your feet that barely touch the ground when you walk.

You always walk outside yourself, in and out of other people’s thoughts. You wind yourself around them like tendrils, picking out pieces of sunlight to rest your head in. Go home to where your first breath lies shrunken in on itself. It expands in that first mouthful of oxygen, that first scream you run back to, that scream that let out what couldn’t be said with words. That scream that told a tale of living in fluid for months, that scream that held malleable bone and lungs that drank liquid. That scream that was so welcome by the world, by hands and hearts waiting to greet you. Your heart calls you home to the depths and ocean of your organs, to blood that moves like currents and is pulled and pushed by the moon. To the black and deepest depths of your shadow selves, the ones who lay buried in guilt or shame or fear.

Go home and sit with your shadows. Go home and make them tea by the fire and wax poetic into the wee hours of the night. Let their voices be heard, let them unchain themselves from the lining of your liver, from the toxic memory banks where you have them buried.

Unearth your sacred and scarred selves. Fill your hands with dirt where you pull at the roots. Where you pull at the roots of your own self, your past self, where you pull at skin like bark and your tears mimic the fall of deciduous leaves.

Welcome your shadows to peer out through your eyes, to seep through your pores slowly, like steam rising. Let that steam carry your darker parts to the surface and claim them. Go home and claim these darkened parts as your own. Find your way. Find your army of insults you’ve kept tucked inside your ears. Find lips that pressed yours long ago. Discover words that flip through your late- night thoughts like microfiche.

Go home through the tangled web of childhood, the bruised and battered cheeks and scraped knees, through the pangs of growth that will your body’s shape. Go home to the first parts of yourself you remember. The long strands of hair, feet kicked up toward the sky, back arched under the summer sun on a tire swing.

Go back to your childhood bed and dream your nights away when the world was taken care of for you. When mornings were full of sunshine and your fingers were stained by raspberries. Go back home. Go back to that space where it is just you, in the middle of your day dream. In the middle of your nightmares. In the middle of your solitude and your broken heart that hangs heavy in your chest. It’s time to unpack. It’s time to settle in and fold around yourself. It’s time to walk the maze of memory and you find there is no ending, no beginning, there is no escape. These visions you keep, these voices you cling to that once whispered wisdom have faded.

Go home to your heart beat and wonder how many more times you’ll hear this familiar noise.

Go home.

Go home.

Go to the closest place you can find when you close your eyes. And maybe you see his face again and you force yourself to walk by, because this is not your home. These are not your arms, your limbs to support yourself. Go home to the embrace of your own smile, revisit salted tears and letters written and erased. Go home to the desert, to the ocean, to the forest, to your bed where you pull the covers up tightly around your head. You close your eyes, half expecting the day to fade away, but it won’t. Time keeps you. Time is your home. Time is your temple in which you freeze, in which you fly, in which you force yourself to molt and make space inside this body built like shelves. This body built for storage.

Go home to your cotton sheets or the pillow stained with lover’s scent. Be the sun in your galaxy, be the body that others orbit around. Crawl into yourself and beg for mercy from the harsh critic you are. From the awful things you tell yourself, silently. Things you would never want someone to hear. Take the parts that are lonely; wrap them up. Take the parts that are broken, bandage them tight and pull yourself up.

This life is not done with you. This life is your journey home. This life is the cornerstone of your foundation. The muscles you will to move, to pick you up and swing you around and turn you in the right direction – where echoes call you in languages you don’t speak. Go home and learn their tongues, learn their words, how they feel and their touch.

Go home to the only body you have ever known. The body that carries you step by step, the one who holds your secrets and your successes, the one body that holds your love, your anger, your sadness. Go home to the one place you can’t run from. The one place you can’t hide.

Listen to your heart. It’s calling. It’s time. Make your way home.

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Rhythms and Roads.

Sip a little more:

Wild Is Saying: F*ck You, I Got This — This Is My Story To Tell

To The Misshapen: I Love My Flaws Because This Is Who I Am

An Incantation For The Wild: To Those Who Stay & To Those Who Leave

We want courage. We want consciousness. We want unconventional. We want freedom. We want commitment. We want aliveness. We want what’s beyond language. We want what we’ve denied. We want vision. We want answers. We want prayers. We want power. We want infinity. We want responsibility. We want true beauty. We want all of magic’s secrets. We want proof that another world exists. We want contact . . . theurbanhowl.com/submit . . . #youarethemagic #howlforyourlife #wakeupanddream #theurbanhowl

#FINDYOURHIDDENSELF

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Courtney Quinlan

Courtney Quinlan is a lover of words and how you can craft them together, piece by piece and build a story, or a moment in time that speaks to someone. She lives in Vermont, as a single parent, with her son who is on the autism spectrum and advocates fiercely for him and others with disabilities. She volunteers as a parent advocate and editor for The Urban Howl and Wild Heart Writers and is a contributing author of poetry and prose. She can generally be found lost in a whirlwind of creative thought, she is unfiltered and fairly transparent. She is passionate about empowering women and social justice issues. She likes to get crafty, making beaded jewelry and crafts and photography inspired by the natural world around her. She is a sarcastic lover of humor and is blessed to be able to laugh at herself and find the irony in stressful situations. Rarely embarrassed and often clumsy she is practicing the art of vulnerability and can be found just throwing her whole self out there!

  1. Love this. My eternal gypsie soul was always looking for a home and settling down. Home is where my heart is. Indeed it’s inside of me 🙂 thx for this inspiring post!

  2. It moved me to tears. Thank you. Beautifully written and expressed.

  3. Jaymz Hawkes

    This is a FIERCELY BRILLIANT piece! writing and crafting the direction and task ahead, into the belonging, the true sences of wonder and the truth and the strength existing in the fiery hearts of us all!! A mission to accept, to re-discover…. the self. THANKYOU!

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