For a lot of my life, I have been described as a "free spirit." I am told stories constantly about being a kid and wandering off in stores, running around naked, and to this day I insist on going barefoot as much as I possibly can. More than that though, I think I have always been a person who is outwardly very comfortable going against the norm. There were definitely times in my life, mostly in middle school, where I was incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. I tried desperately to fit in. I can say without hesitation that the times I tried to fit in were the times that I felt most out of place.
One of the movies that I really connected with when I was in high school was Breakfast At Tiffany's. In fact, I think I cried the first time I watched it. I related so much with Holly Golightly. In some ways I thought it was so wonderful, after all, Holly Golightly is one of the most recognizable characters in history; her famous black dress and cigarette in her hand, maybe with Cat sitting on her shoulder. But then in other ways, I was disturbed that I related to Holly. Holly cannot commit to anything, she is whimsical and nonsensical, people are constantly commenting on how flighty she is, and more than anything Holly was free, but Holly had an underlying sense of sadness to her. Holly was so free, but she still never felt like she truly belonged anywhere. I was bothered by how much I related to that.
I went through most of high school and I really started to be okay with not feeling like I fit in with the vast majority. But post graduation I have struggled more with the free spirit that lives in me. I relate to Holly more than ever. I know that the norm after high school is that you go to college and you graduate and get a "grown up" job and then you get married and have 2.5 kids and a dog and a white picket fence, but honestly none of these things are what I want.
Paul Varjack says something in the final scene to Holly when she does what she does best, and attempts to run from any commitment. I know that this scene is the one that will always resonate with me.
"You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself."
I know the things I want in this life. I want adventure. I want to leave with a backpack for Africa or Australia or Greece and go learn about new cultures. I want to travel to orphanages and live and work with kids who do not see enough love. I want to cliff jump in places I have never been. I want to fall in love. I want to go to festivals. I want to go everywhere and see everything. I want to meet people who are nothing like me, and maybe stumble upon someone, somewhere in a corner of the world who is just like me. I want all these things, but when it boils down to it, I am scared.
It's hard for a wild thing to admit that they're scared. Wild things are so often these tough, strong, forces of nature. I am not sure that is me, but I know thats where I want to be. I want to run free without constantly running into myself. Without running into my desperate fear of leaving home, my anxiety, my insecurities, my past. It gets old fighting a losing battle, especially when you're fighting with yourself. Sometimes the fighting gets old, sometimes it seems easier to just stay put for a while.
Frankly though, I am outgrowing the cage I keep putting myself in. Wild things were never meant to be caged. They were meant to run free. The were meant to explore. They were meant to experience. They were meant to live.
I think at the end of the day, we are all just a bunch of wild things. Some of us have seemed to just shed the cage a little easier than others.
I have faith that I'll stop running into myself one of these days. I have faith that one day I'll start to live the life the wild thing inside me wants me to live. I don't think I'll see it coming, I think one day I'll wake up, and I'll know. I'll know that it's time to let the wild thing live and explore and roam in the way all wild things are meant to.
I hope whatever your wild thing looks like, you let it live.