Wolves and Poodles
She was what I used to consider Otherkin, a woman like me but so alien in her appearance and lifestyle that I felt like another species. I could guess by her clothes, her hair and make up, and the new SUV idling with a fellow in the driver's seat, that she was experiencing life on a different planet. She would probably go home to a house already warmed by a thermostat, probably without livestock, firewood, frozen water and fence gates, and the mortgage paid. She had a family, a partner, and time to apply eyeliner well enough to pull off a perfect wing. I've watched Youtube videos on how to do this but I always look like a Slovak Chola. It's not flattering. This woman totally pulled it off. As I loaded the wood into the back of the truck and struggled with the door (it freezes weird and makes it hard to open sometimes) I got inside my truck (which isn't heated) and pet Gibson who was waiting patiently for me. I had hot coffee and a five minute drive home to a place I consider paradise. My life was harsher by most people standard's but it was exactly what I wanted, which is what few people are lucky enough to say honestly.
So I had absolutely no interest in this woman's lifestyle, but don't take that to mean I think mine is better. This is not about that at all, just an observation on two people in the same town, in the same timeline, in the same gas station parking lot experiencing the world in entirely different ways. I think this is great. I envy her comforts and perfect eyeliner, her partnership, even her children. I envy her beauty and her wardrobe. She seemed rich in all the conventional ways. A perfect little nuclear family in an ideal small American town out for hot cocoa on the way to the ski resort. I think it's awesome. But here is what is also pretty awesome:
We live in a time and in a place where a woman can go home to her thriving small farm, cut down trees and haul them home with a draft horse, chop firewood, and heat her house the way homes have been heated long before Edison and Tesla boxed it out. She can raise her own meat for the grill, vegetables for the pot, hitch up a cart and ride via equine locomotion to a neighbor's house for a night of board games and storytelling with home-brewed beer and then tuck in to a sea of wool blankets to wake up and do it all over again. The next day she can string her bow and hunt, herd sheep, write, sew, and laugh. She can mend fences, care for sick animals, birth beautiful new lambs and kids and cry over her mistakes and pain… in the year 2014.
And we also live in a time and place where a woman can go home to her climate-controlled restored Victorian with furniture right out of the newest issue if Dwell. She can adjust buttons on the wall to make each room just as warm or cold as she wants. She can drive to any farm or store in a beautiful vessel and buy food from anywhere in the world on demand, relatively cheaply, and cook it in a redone kitchen. She can have her husband watch over the kids and call friends and spend a day at the mall, or a spa, and unwind under a masseuses' hands or take a cooking class, plan a trip to India, or start training for that half marathon. She can go to sleep curling her spine into someone she loves under a down comforter in a house warmed by family, contentment, fossil fuel, and blessings. And she can also deal with the realities of her ailing parents, her college and personal debts, family arguments, bi-polar disorder, or chemical dependency and cry over mistakes and pain… in the year 2014.
I think it is amazing that we can live such totally different lives (or any combination of the two) and still share the same emotions and desires. I see far too much judgement from the female hard-core survivalist/homesteading community towards the Otherkin. Scoffs and jeers from the wolf pack at the poodles. Truth is we are far more alike than we are different, and neither life is more valid. We both have advantages and disadvantages in the long run. Us wolves are better off in some future scenarios and worse off in others, and since I can't see the future (nor can she) we can only live the best way we know how in this short life. Live in a way that honors who we are and what we know, and if we aren't hurting anyone else we have every right to strut our stuff in the show ring or shine as we sprint after a whitetail. Do what makes you feel pretty, damnit. I used to see us a wild and tame, but now I just see us as canines: just as real and valid but with lives that followed different paths. As one of you readers once told me: There is no reality vs escapism. It's all real. Life is about choices.
There are things from her world I desire. I bet there are things from mine she does, too. I would love to curl my spine into someone I love under a down blanket. I would love a heated car and the ability to apply winged eyeliner that well (don't judge). Maybe she always dreamed of a horse, or desperately wants a flock of sheep and some chickens? She doesn't have to give up her thermostat to enjoy a wood stove in the kitchen and I don't have to hide my mascara because I know how to wield and axe either. We are who we are, more alike than different. We are both pack animals, hunters by daylight, lovers of warmth and community, wielders of fire and light. I may be a dire wolf and she may be a poodle but we both have sharp teeth and even sharper wits.
We are both, my dear friends, awesome bitches.
photo credit: kamera kevin on flickr