fe·ral: in a wild state, especially after escape from captivity or domestication.

I just spent the last 10 days in the woods with my family, sisters, and framily. I didn’t leave the property except on the golf cart to the next gate. I showered in the woods. I ate in the woods. I ate dust. I was drenched by the rain. I was isolated in my little tiny womyn’s village from the horrors of our violent and patriarchal world. I ran the world (me and all of my team, that is!!!)

But it wasn’t just me. It was the whole team. We came together. We worked hard. We problem solved. We found solutions. We ate together, we laughed. We sucked dust.

Here are some highlights of my week in the woods with feral women.

We are not feral. We are just so highly controlled by society and the patriarchy that we forget how to laugh, feel, cry, be happy, be free until we get together and remind each other.

There are many ways to do things. I learned through multiple lessons that while I think I know how something should be done, that if I take the time to listen, I can learn new and sometimes better ways to do things. Sometimes, it is more important to be happy than to be “right”.

I also learned that right is subjective. I can feel that I am right all day and night long. Another person can also be right, ABOUT THE SAME SITUATION. We can both be RIGHT and we can both be WRONG. the important thing is to take the time to truly listen and be present with the person that you are trying to work through something with.

I was also confronted by 3 out of the 4 of my daughters present at Michigan framily Reunion. they got in my face. They were poking the bear. They were trying to engage me in a fight. They were trying to incite me. Or they were just being normal teenagers that were too tired and overwhelmed and not practicing self care and they just didn’t know how to speak their frustrations without attacking me. 3 out of 4. Two of them left in a huff, blaming me. One of those two moved to Canton, NY while I was at festival. #brokenheartedmom

I learned that I am in control of my emotions and my actions. I learned that the practices I have done for the last year have trained me well. I have learned to take a pause. I have learned to keep the 2nd agreement (do not take anything personal)

I had several emotional challenges this past week. I balanced a lot of energy and a lot of energy demands. I had a lot of people demanding my time and my attention while still being emotionally available for my daughters, friends, and framily. I was also confronted with insecurities, ego, and pettiness. I handled it all with grace and kindness. (see Maya’s quote above). I tried my best to live within that philosophy in which my actions were a testament to my beliefs that it is my mission to create a safe space for women in the pines. #missionsuccessful

I also learned that when I am naked in the woods, I don’t like it when a truck drives down the hill. There was a misunderstanding and someone that belonged at the festival drove down a hill that was only accessible for authorized personnel. It scared me. It triggered me. I felt violated. I calmed down but it was a very anxious time.I hollered. Then I calmed down. It was a misunderstanding and a conversation will be held.

I learned to delegate and let go of it. I really wanted to be able to put people in positions and then let them make their decisions and have autonomy. I was available. I was available to my volunteers. Sometimes, I almost took over.

In fact, me almost taking over caused me to have some conflict with one of my daughters. I started taking over. I tried to pull back and let her regain the reins but it was misunderstood. She thought I was being snarky. She didn’t see me. But I saw her. Since I was able to see her, I didn’t take it personal. I knew that she was hurting and having her own story. That was okay. I could just let her be. I didn’t react in hurt; I acted in love. That felt amazing and wonderful. In the moment, I was sad as fuck that my daughter, another daughter, was leaving festival. I wanted my daughters to enjoy it with me. It didn’t look the way I wanted it to look. But sometimes fest experiences are raw and open and hurt like hell. I just let it be.

I learned to be in the moment. I learned to not let the task be more important than the person and the moment that I was in, right fucking then. The person is always more important than the task. But there is a time and a place for everything.

Women came to the festival and found what they needed, even when they didn’t even know they needed it. I was part of making that magical space of Michigan framily Reunion and it is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. 

I have more stories of this festival.  I have more laughs to be shared about this love of mine, MFR.  I love my family. I love my framily.  I love the connections. I love the community forged in the elements of snow, wind, mud, rain, humidity, blazing heat, and dust. 

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