The Dangerous Old Woman

We are each born with two forces that give us every lens we need to see who we really are: the wild and ever-young force of imagination that contains intuition and instinct, and the wise elder force of knowledge that holds boundaries and carries the heart of the visionary.  ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés



After hearing Mary Ann Macklin’s recent deeply touching message based on Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ audiobook “The Dangerous Old Woman”, I had the realization that I was born a Dangerous Old Woman. And that is why I scared the shit out of my mother. In her own psychic way, I think she sensed early on that I was never going to morph into the being she wanted me to be. I looked and acted so much like my dad, that I think she could see nothing of herself in me. This created what turned out to be (in her mind) an irreparable rift between us.

She wanted me to be a little lady, a life-size version of a baby doll, with no opinions, no sense of style, or dreams of her own. I had absolutely no interest in that kind of life’s path, but was born with a job and that job was to make my mother look good. I was not an openly rebellious daughter. I was a good student, rarely got into trouble at school, but I tried to break out of her mold whenever possible. I was a tomboy with little interest in dolls or girly things. I didn’t play house with my girl cousins. We played office. We managed things. We were in charge. And we liked it that way. I played ball, rode my bike, swam, ran, and jumped all over creation on my pogo stick.

If you are not free to be who you are, you are not free.  ~Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I resonate strongly with this quote. The freedom to feel different has always been important to me. My mother saw my personal freedom as a real threat to her, a criticism of how she led her life, which was never straight forward, but through passive aggressive manipulation. She was an excellent role model for that behavior and it took me a long time and a lot of professional help to operate in a different way in the world, a way of healthy boundaries, to stop people pleasing, to say no without explaining, to say no without fearing the consequences. To live an honest life in which I trusted myself, that my instincts were good.

At a very young age I realized that I had strong psychic abilities, that I knew things without really knowing how I knew them. The veil was always very thin for me. The other side is always there for me. I feel it. Hear it. Sense it. This has always been a comfort to me. Even when I’m alone I feel supported, held. I’m sure that has helped me to follow my own path and stay true to my heart’s desires.

Rebekah Spivey

January 2018


Artwork by Wendy Andrew

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