I’ve already come out of the closet as someone who listens for the voices of my ancestors, the moon, rocks and water, and then writes down what I hear. So I suspect you won’t be surprised to find out that I take dictation from other voices, too.
The process of listening for truths that lie within and underneath historical facts has taught me to value a different, feminine kind of knowing—one that can’t be documented or diagrammed or proved. One that doesn’t need to be. What a relief! What a joy!
In the middle of a hot August week, I decided to apply this process to myself and listen for what might be underneath the facts and figures of my own life.
I didn’t have to wait long. Silenced parts of myself bubbled right up in the language of myth.
Lordy, here we go again. I squirmed in my chair, thinking of all my laundry that really needed to be washed right now, and the dishes …
But since I’d been here before, this time I knew what to do:
Ignore my distracting chore list.
Shut up my protesting that this was crazy.
Lie down on my couch.
Then dash to my computer and begin to write.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, a wild girl was born onto this planet. She was made of flesh and blood all right, but she was also made of fire and water.
I laughed. Maybe blasting through life with the power of a steam locomotive wasn’t the worst thing in the world. My myth continued.
Men drilled through the earth’s crust, through the hard shale and into the gas-filled rock. Black oil and bubbly gas burst through the earth’s surface, into the wild girl’s feet. Scorching, fiery black gold, red blood and shimmering gas bursting with the power of the Spirit shot through her from toe to head.
The Beverly Hillbillies TV show of my childhood had called oil “Texas tea,” and here it was flowing right through me. While I’d resisted my Texan origins in my fact-based life, in this story, being born on Texas soil sounded mighty fine. No wonder I’d struggled with feeling boiling mad—the miracle was that I hadn’t burnt to a crisp.
Luckily, however, as the earth’s flaming blood pumped into her veins, cool water fell into her eyes from the heavens above. This same water once filled the ancient seas. These rains filled her body, mixing with the earth’s oily blood in her veins. It was not a gentle mixing as steam poured out of her ears.
Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to soaking in the tub when I need to center myself. Or part of the reason Community Wholeness Venture’s foot washing ritual was so powerful for me. And why I loved the process of anointing the land with a different sort of oil and imagined it combining with the living water of Jesus.
As my myth unfolded, so did the extraordinary qualities of my steam girl self—I had eight eyes and was born riding high in my little red boat.
I tell more of her/my fantastical story in Big Topics at Midnight,1 but the Eight-Eyed Steam Girl wasn’t satisfied with being published in a paperback and an eBook. She wanted her own Facebook posts and a spot on the website.
Mythical creatures can be SO particular.
While she loves her own legend, this steamy, many-eyed girl wants to know about you. Not the boring resume stuff. Something juicy, too real for mere facts. A good story, a deep myth.
You think you don’t have one?
Tell your skeptical mind to go outside to play and start listening.
Have your pen and notebook or keyboard ready, and hold on. It’s quite a ride to see yourself this way.
You just might discover some parts of yourself that you’ve tried so hard to change are the very parts that give you character. Within myth, quirks and foibles spice up life rather than spoil it.
Along the way, if you want writing prompts and encouragement from the Eight-Eyed Steam Girl, “like” my Facebook page. She will be posting little tidbits of her own each week starting in March. Or, if you want to get in on Big Topics events and find tasty morsels to explore, poke around my website. She’ll be there, along with Hectate and some ancestors showing up with words, videos and pictures.
As you explore, don’t forget to dive deeply into the mystery that is you. Let the fun begin.
1 My book, Big Topics at Midnight: A Texas Girl Wakes Up to Race, Class, Gender and Herself, 2012, Rosegate Press