The summertime does this to me. It gets me thinking about multi-colored seed beads and the healing powers of crystals and wide-brim hats that shade from the sun and high-waist ’90s-era cut-off jeans. It gets me thinking about what these things represent in me, and whether they hold true when I trade in those shorts for a big knit sweater and a pair of nerdy glasses. Then, it gets me confused about where I fit in amongst all these expressions of who I supposedly am and whether I can truly be placed in any kind of box at all. And eventually, I get tired. I throw all my ideas and interests into one big pile on the bed and start sifting through the mess. During which I find that the mess is who I am. The mess is my wild. The mess is what makes me unique.
Being an introvert with a “wild” heart, I’ve experienced many phases in my efforts to be noticed and known. I’ve branded and rebranded my interests and the ways in which I displayed them, believing that being a wild woman necessitated a certain look and vibe (think cacti, cowboy hats, turquoise, the like). I wasn’t putting on a costume, but I was trying to exemplify the woman I felt like I was inside….which only presented problems when I felt influenced by some other inspiration that didn’t quite fit in the mold. Heck, after going to the D23 Convention last year, I felt obliged to justify my nostalgic love for Disney by expressing the wild woman characteristics of animated princesses. I was so tied to my mission that I couldn’t just suck it up and say, “Guess what? I can be smart and edgy and people pleasing and love Disneyland, too.”
In a personal effort to tie myself down to something more manageable than the wild woman aesthetic I’d created, I maneuvered my “brand” into Simple + Good, believing that this alone might get me on track. But the problem persisted….I will never be one thing. And you know what? That’s okay. Because you won’t be just one thing, either. And being a Wild Woman (or Man) is just that.
Basically, what I know now is that I don’t want Simple + Good to be equated with minimalism. Even though that was my initial intention and the words instantly cue up some kind of white-washed idealism, I find it hard to believe in anymore. Minimalism has become a brand of its own, one that increasingly denies individuality and makes us feel guilty for falling “off-brand.” But really, what does personal branding even mean after we’ve all downloaded the same filters? That’s not the way life works. We all have things that matter to us – from magnet collections of the places we’ve traveled to stacks of books that we’ll (totally, but probably never) read again. We all have unique complexities that define our lives and the paths we take. And that’s beautiful. That’s our mess. That’s our wild.
Once we’re honest with ourselves about what that is, things will start to feel a whole lot simpler – at least when it comes to knowing ourselves. Plus, when we learn to let go of having just one thing, we can start having fun putting all the pieces together.
So, I ask you this: what makes you you? What do you love? What clothing do you feel most confident in? What makes you laugh, what inspires you, and where do you go when you need to reconnect with the deepest parts of yourself?
Your answers may align, but chances are you love a lot of different things. And that combination – that’s your secret sauce.
Me? I am a poison-ivy-riddled goat mama, a writer, a quick-craft creator, and a lazy summertime sunbather who just wants to sit outside and read. I am quiet, but I am growing more curious and wholehearted about my purpose by the day. I am someone who believes in teaching others to believe. I am a bohemian home. I am clutter. I am trying to pare it all down, but struggling with letting go of the past. I am a homebody by night and an iced-coffee loving urbanite by morning. I am a leather bag addict and a ripped jeans lover. I am not your average. I am simple + good + wild.
Allowing the wild woman to guide us is the permission we crave to do life in a way that makes sense to us. It’s the thing that reminds us it’s okay to love the seed beads AND the chunky fisherman knit. It’s the soundtrack that includes “Hit Me Baby One More Time” AND “Tennessee Whiskey.” Sometimes, it’s hard to reckon with, hard to explain, hard to know how to connect the dots that will make sense to our friends, family, and followers. (Does anyone else field the question, “Well, I didn’t know you were into that!”) But when someone sees you, hears you presenting your most authentic self, that’s when they’ll want more. That’s when they’ll know they’re not being lied to.