This could so easily be a story about letting go of expectations and becoming more “spiritual,” but it’s not.
It’s a story of another kind, one told through roars and whispers, woven in the frustrated moments when emotions burn raw and hot in our chests. One known by women and wolves alike.
This is a story of the crushing joy and beauty of being human. It is about learning how to use the tough days for growth. It is about stepping back and peeling back the bullsh*t, one layer at a time.
Last Friday, my love asked me out on a date. A date! My inner 16-year-old sprung to life with butterflies in my belly and while we’re at it — why the heck not—cue those internal libraries full of romantic comedy scripts.
Naturally, after being with my sweet partner for almost two years, the romance has subtly faded. It’s like my favorite jeans. Those pants are damn comfortable with that perfectly yummy lived-in feeling I yearn for, but the denim becomes a bit less crisp, less vibrant over time.
So the thought of a date perked up my ears and had all my spidey-senses going wild.
A perfect evening. A passionate evening. Oh yes, everything would go just right.
Enter reality, miscommunications, being grumpy with a sore arm after my COVID-19 booster shot.
Enter fear and exhaustion, the tail end of long week.
Before I knew it, our so-called date turned into an evening of errands where my man invited his dear friend along.
He was delighted to spend time with his friend and I tried to soften into the experience. I tried to let go. I really did.
But as for me?
I just felt rage. “More running around, great. What the hell kind of a date is this, anyway!?” I muttered angrily under my breath. Okay, maybe I said it out loud. Several times.
See, I yearned for a slow, sensual evening, just for us. It sounded peaceful and sexy. To add to it all, my love was leaving in the morning for a weeklong travel adventure, and naturally, we put so much pressure on the evening.
I’m not sure where it’s written, but when your beloved is leaving for a week, you’re supposed to have sex, right?
Well, we didn’t. But we had plenty of arguments instead.
And sure, maybe my expectations were high.
Now, the plot thickens with the age-old psychobabble question — why was I so mad, anyway?
Connect the dots to a lovely but busy Thanksgiving holiday where I did what I often do — go along with what others want until I feel empty and numb.
It makes me mad at myself and my partner.
Shouldn’t he know my limits? Shouldn’t I communicate them more clearly?
In a perfect world, yes. In a human world, it is sometimes messier, more awkward, and uncertain than that.
So it really wasn’t about my sky-high expectations — it was really that I was f*cking exhausted.
Even though I know my love always supports me tending to myself, it still feels scary to ask for that.
We can become so good at pushing ourselves past our limits that it becomes second nature. Even though it’s anything but natural.
And if I peel this back even more to another question (dang, I love how questions are portals)—why do I feel the need to run around and wear myself out to meet other people’s needs?
Let’s go deeper with this, shall we?
It’s a belief most women I know have ingrained deep within their bones.
We are fed ridiculously idealistic images of what it means to be a good girlfriend, wife, or parent.
Well, screw it, I say.
Let’s deconstruct what “good” even means. Let’s take off the masks and glitter and redefine it to feel more real. More spacious. More forgiving.
Maybe being a good girlfriend is communicating that we are tired, cranky, and need something else.
Maybe being a good lover is taking care of our mental and physical health, even if that disappoints our beloved temporarily.
Maybe being a wise parent means accepting imperfection, that we’ll lose our temper sometimes, and that there is room for repair.
So, yes, there are expectations to shed, but there is more to that statement than meets the eye. Because where are those expectations born?
Society. A patriarchal society, to be more exact.
In this way, we can begin to externalize the problem and shift our perspective.
This does not make us victims.
It simply reminds us that we are not broken. The system is broken.
In naming this, we can begin to claw our way out.
We can crack apart tightly held beliefs we forgot we were holding.
We can find the freedom to define for ourselves what our roles mean.
Wife, mother, girlfriend, sister, lover, writer, professional…the list goes on.
What do you want them to mean?
What would it be like to rewrite these words as a fresh, living narrative — one that feels sweet to your soul?
We can become wolf-women (or wolf people) and live in ways that feel meaningful.
We can dismantle domestic delusions, objectification, racism, and sexism.
We can learn to believe in our own power.
We can tell shame and guilt to get lost and see what beauty grows in their place.
We can challenge the thought that it’s selfish to put our foot down or ask for what we need.
We can disassemble the belief that rest is unproductive or lazy, and embrace it as a human necessity.
We can challenge the idea our houses have to sparkle and shine at all times and feed ourselves what we really need. With pleasure. In my world, writing makes me feel whole and wild. If I don’t make time to write, I feel withered and just plain off. So yeah, I admit it—my sink is full of dishes at the moment, but I need these words so badly.
We might be fierce, but we have limits too.
Knowing this is freedom. Acting on it is a revolution.
And if anyone has the balls to call us a difficult woman, we can take the compliment with confidence and keep on going.
“If you have yet to be called an incorrigable, defiant woman, don’t worry, there is still time.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes