Do You Remember Your True Names?

If you’ve been a woman alive on this planet for more than a few years, then you have been exposed and subjected to shame. Since you were very small others helped you understand shame is simply what we do here.

And then there were the things others did to you, and you did to others; things that brought you a full, close and intimate understanding of the architecture of shame. You were abandoned, or you abandoned them. They commoditised and consumed you, or you them. They violated you, or you them. They used you, or you them. They desired you, or you them. They wronged you, or you them. You needed blessed relief from the burden of guilt for what was done, and what you did, when you were afraid, and bound in the dark, or taking flight in terror, or fighting to keep what you had.

They introduced you to Eve, your mother in sin, and explained your ruination was inevitable because your history, all your mythical past and all your moral present, are steeped in deceit and ambition and lies. If you lay down your power to this god and his representatives, you will receive rest and protection for yourselves and your children. So you gave away both your right to know any other myth, and to your power, and made a home in the grounds of the new masters household, bound to endlessly repeat genuflectures of obedience and submission and confession of the sin of being a woman, in return for respite from the battery of accusations and your own suspicion they could be right, and you would never, ever survive out there.

Yes, I am bad, and I am ashamed. Now please, just let me be.

We who believed we were naked, who have believed the story shame told us, that the things that hurt us were made of ourselves – we need healing, and we need help to become whole. And we must bring that healing and wholeness to ourselves.

The healing we bring will be made of ourselves; our true selves. The healing from shame we need will not come from some other place or some other person, other than from other fellow healing, and fellow healers. The shame we felt wasn’t made of us, not really. We once were tricked, fooled and held to ransom. But we are not fools, and we are not victims. Those are names given us to cripple us, to hold us down, and back, and out. To begin to walk toward wholeness and healing – which is all any of us can ever do, walk towards it – we must connect back in, back to our true names; the names of our beginnings, the names without end. Small and Pure. Good and Beautiful. Joyful, Powerful and True. Strong and Smart and Clever. Formidable. Free.

Do you remember your true names?

Your True Names.

Where are your names, dear one? What are your true names?

Do you know them? Can you remember them? Are they spoken proudly on your lips, written across your forehead, held in your hands like swords and shields, hung around your neck like an amulet, a symbol of power and identity and self? Or are your names hidden? Are they secreted away beneath layers, under covers, swallowed down and held tightly in the dark, closer than your heartbeat, lest anyone see them, hear them, mock them, take them away?

What names have you taken for yourself? What names did you once bear but have given up, lain down, thrown away?

When we are young, we yearn to be told who we are, what we are, where and to whom we belong. We join ourselves to tribes and to others who help us work out the edges of ourselves; where we blend, where we end. We drink their words and eat the portions meted out for us hungrily. Tell me who I am. Tell me what you need me to be. I will give you everything, do anything, I’ll be anything you need. Help me know what and who I am? And for heavens sake, don’t leave me. Don’t ever, ever leave me.

We took the names they gave us, we became what they wanted us to be, because we were afraid. We were afraid of the wild.

But they lied about it, you know. We won’t die out there. It’s what we are. We are made of the wilderness.

You do not need to be afraid of the wild. Your name is written there. It’s spoken in the wind. It’s carved in the rocks and hills and mountainsides. It’s in the call of the wild things. You are of the wilderness. They cannot threaten you with anything, nothing can hold you, when you trust the place they threaten to cast you into more than you trust them.

We will cast out all fear with courage, my friend, and the school of courage is out here – in the wild.