Dancing the Movement of Breath: On Adventurous Men and Wild Women.
Did I hear you calling for an adventure? I love the sound of that. I’ll appear like a genie from a bottle. Let’s toast to that! I’m a woman who leaves, so let’s go!
I love adventuring, he said. Like it was the coolest. Like he came up with the concept, granted his version was entirely different from my own. Adventure is something we all seek. To feel heroic from time to time. Special, different. Embracing adventure means embracing the unknown, the new. But retract? And you’ll be running away the rest of your life.
You called, I answered. Tell me, what adventure do you seek?
Adrenaline? One word isn’t enough to satisfy the size of a conversation I crave. I want more.
I like to go fast.
That’s it? No more? More reason, more story, more truth. Please, I want some more.
This is how your adventure translates? It sounds like self-distraction.
I’ve played out this scenario with adventurous men again and again. Mistakenly thinking we’re both something that we’re not.
Boys with their toys: their bikes, boats, beers; their bullshit. The bro-culture boys. Living the internal frat life of the patriarch. Does the heat of my presence warm you, or remind you that the fire has started and these are the dying days?
What would you do if vs what will you do when? I’m not in favor of these conversations that go nowhere, about nothing.
“What would you do if you could take a sabbatical from your life?” “I’m doing it right now.”
“No, but, where would you go?” “Here.”
“Where would you live?” “Where I do.”
Deluded ramblings, not dreams in incubation. Make it happen! I want to scream.
So the dream is a van and a bike and skis, but day-to-day life is a corporate cubicle — sorry, open-plan office, in a dungeon. No natural light, but the buffet’s great!
“We’re very different, I love adventure, you just don’t get it. I can’t be with a person like that.”
What I don’t get is, if you know what your dream is, why don’t you follow it? A life of adventure is not part-time weekends away and a three-week holiday once a year. Working to sustain a life you don’t love, with no time to do what you do? A part-time, sometimes, maybe-one-day adventurer? Versus, the freedom I experience daily?
Am I not the one on an adventure, a million miles from home in Africa, sitting in your corporate canteen because you said, “Hey, want to go to Bali with me after San Francisco?” I visit them in their prison cells, asking them about their plans after escape — their own business, their future aspirations — and they retreat, tightening their shackles themselves.
Once another self-proclaimed adventurer wrote to me, asking me to write about his adventure. A trip to go nowhere for no reason, to show people that there is more to life than destination, except that destination nowhere is a place too. And when I probed as to the reason, the relevance, I finally hit the truth of what he really wanted: Contributionalism — not a real word.
He wanted to be paid to do nothing to inspire others. I don’t think so. The misplaced wrath I faced online a few weeks later from that adventurer — they don’t do questions. Identity: Adventure is fixed, not fluid. It’s all about hide and seek, not find. I thought they’d initiated an invitation to unlock? I’m a shape-shifting key, but the turn isn’t an on, it’s an away. From me, from themselves? And then the turn around:
“You’re too judgmental. Even my friends say…”
The collective. Of masses. And when my friends say Jump…
Is asking judgment or does the question just terrify them because they don’t have any answers? The only men who have branded me judgmental are the ones judging themselves. I mirror their reflection, so when they hate, judge and scorn, we’re both rejected. It’s fascinating, the things they’ll start to say…
Another adventurer: “Oh, you think you run your own business, on your laptop all day, and what if your battery dies? No business then, hey? I’m just want a life that’s bigger than the one you do. Even the woman on the plane said, ‘You’re an adventurer,’ and I am!”
“No,” I counter with crystal clear clarity, “What you are is a drunkard. In 36 years, you’ve climbed one mountain and paddled one long race. But for the most part, you’ve been drunk.” And when that Peter pan returned after another adventure, I saw him, back at the bar, drunk, again. But he couldn’t handle how unadventurous I was either. I didn’t do enough outdoor exercise.
My lack of adventure? Perhaps the lost boys are right, while they play dress-up as cowboys, I’m playing in real life. We’re in different places: the pages of fantasy vs reality. I don’t keep a cupboard filled of dress-up clothes I like to binge-drink in, pretending I’m having a party with my friends. If you want to dress up, you literally can do so anytime.
You don’t need a club to dance to the movement of breath, the breeze of the world.
You don’t need drugs to see colors, hear trees, or feel the energy vibrating off every living thing. You really don’t. But please, judge me, because I’m not as free as your last Burning Man experience, on acid.
“We’re too different.” An indigestible rejection excuse, and no, while I thought they might be, they’re one of the same. And difference terrifies sameness. Sheep to my wolf.
I wanted to understand where they’re coming from, where they’re going, and why. So many of them, so few of me, how are we so different? Our difference is delightful, isn’t it? Let’s learn and go to grow! But with all their collective adventure, they don’t go anywhere — except in retreat from me, fast.
I used to think that a bored sheep was better than a lonely wolf, but I wasn’t born to fit the mold. I’ll sacrifice sameness for solitude, and transmute rejection into revelation. I feed on the sheep as stories.
You think you’re an adventurer? But when you braved the wild woman, did you turn to stone? Stonewalled her perhaps? Rather pump that adrenaline, adventurer, and run away to climb another mountain, paddle fast on your bike, on your boat, chase your tail round and round and keep going nowhere fast.
Maybe one day you’ll awaken to the realization that the biggest adventure you can go on is getting to know yourself. It could start as simply as a conversation.