Three years ago, in the jungles of Costa Rica, 31 women came together to give a voice to my poem, “I Will Never be a Well-Behaved Woman.”
The poem, published in 2015, has over 930,000 views and 300,000 plus shares. I always knew this was a piece that wanted to be made into a film.
This is the third spoken word poetry film I have made. Making these films has been incredibly important in helping women reclaim their narrative and power, and by doing so, they can rebalance and heal our world.
I also wrote the poem in Costa Rica.
I was volunteering at a butterfly garden in exchange for food and board at the time. I was broke and starting to pursue my dream. I rented my cabin out on the Sunshine Coast a few months before because I couldn’t afford to live in Canada and my spirit couldn’t afford to pour black coffee into the mugs of rednecks one more day of my life.
I lived in a tiny, dusty town on the coastline of a peninsula of Costa Rica because I was thirsty for experiences and a different way of life. I knew writing was my way, but was still working on my emotional relationship with money and my worth. I had poems and articles with millions of views, but couldn’t figure out how to capitalize on it or support myself.
I’d pick grass on hillsides for caterpillars and feed large, blue butterflies papaya and pineapple in the afternoon. I was making a few bucks here and there to cover my other costs of living—I pitter-pattered away at my dream, writing 14-17 articles and poems a month for wellness publications. It was my second beginning. My first beginning was when I walked away from Edmonton, where I sold condos in a life that wasn’t mine.
“I Will Never be a Well-Behaved Woman” was written after one of the most beautiful nights of my life. I smile when I read these lines and remember walking home smelling like the ash of fire and romance:
“I would rather swim naked with bioluminescence, have it fall like fireflies from my hair, my breasts, my back.
I would rather do handstands naked in the moonlight when no one’s watching than pick bridesmaid dresses.
I would rather drink seven-year-old rum from a sandy bottle, smell of smoke and ash than sit in church.”
I met a smouldering European filmmaker and spent the night engrossed in rum and smoke before skinny-dipping under the moon with the most vivid and alive bioluminescence I’ve ever seen—I remember standing up out of the water and looking down at my body and seeing large, white sparkles falling off of my breasts in the night air. I have never seen bioluminescent that bright or bold—standing away from the water as who they are, unashamed. It was like a bloody Kerouac novel.
Rereading this poem tonight, I am visited by the wildness and freedom from this part of my life. I wasn’t sure I had yet succeeded at building my own box—but I had left the matrix and that was enough to call other women forward.
There are so many voices telling women who they need to be and what boxes they need to check.
I continue to create and direct these films because I want women to know there is no “right” way to live.
We must build our own boxes and know that what our spirit cries for is true.