Speak, Shadow

One of the sections in my Wild Women Writing Workshop is “Light & Shadow.” In it, we investigate the magical, the mystical, “intimations of extraordinary realities,” as Deena Metzger names them in her book, Writing for Your Life. We also explore our shadow side, that darker aspect of ourselves that is often repressed and usually thought to be unacceptable. But this shadow self also has spontaneity, creativity, and imagination. Creativity often derives from what might appear as socially unacceptable ways of seeing and interpreting the world, maybe a little dangerous, certainly nonconforming. But there’s great energy in this uncontrolled, uncensored creativity and it’s exactly here we might find traces of our wild, authentic voice.

jr shadow1Following is a piece about Shadow I wrote in the 2012 Wild Women Writing Workshop, titled “Speak, Shadow.”

   Her name is Loretta and she wants to dance by the light of the moon. She wants to wear silver-tipped boots and sage in her hair.
   Ask her to write her name and she might use blood as ink.
   Tell her she’s pretty and she’ll charge you a twenty.
   Shadow doesn’t care about making a living. She said being a boho in Paris would be her style. She wants to go back in time, to smoke cigarettes because she likes it. She doesn’t want to know about health dangers and risks to the body.
    She doesn’t believe in moderation.
    Oh, Mama, what you didn’t think she knew. Try as you might to stop her, that Shadow Girl will sneak out the bedroom window and come back still drunk with stickers in her hair.
   She lives in secrets whispered under the eaves, gone from sight and better forgotten.
But what if, at seven or eight or ten, nobody gave her the kind of look that said, don’t; a look that said, no, or not, or never. What if somebody said, Go ahead and dance, kiddo; you’ve got great form. Go ahead and climb those trees in your dress, turn cartwheels on the street and wear your underpants on the outside. Sing as loud as you want, cookie. Make that joyful noise and never mind about table manners. Lick your plate after you finish your pie and thank you will just come naturally out of your pretty, cherry-stained mouth.

A section titled “Light & Shadow” is included in my next book, Wild Women, Wild Voices, which will be published by New World Library next spring and I’m currently gathering other women’s experiences with their “Dark Angel.” I’d love to hear your comments. Do you have a name for your shadow? Does she speak to you? What does she say? What does she wear? Who does she look look like? Do you love her in spite of it all? Tell me.

4 thoughts on “Speak, Shadow

  1. mmmmmmmm since you asked you asked a lot of questions i would to answer you miss with pleasure
    My shadow s name is “invincible” you wonna ask why ” cuz im in fact a pretty girl but my shadow has boyish character. that obliged me to act in such way .to wear
    sneakers;+a lot of sport carpts , talk ,walk in a boyish way as he does .what gave me a second character differs from what i like and preffer to do or what i have to do .
    in fact i dont like it because he is so severe he didnt let me to an anchantree girly girl .whenever i try to wear a dress or put some makeup he stood in my way spechless. i feel hancuffed and tied but i think this is part of desting and i should go with it hand in hand . and who knows what is coming next .
    how much seed grows and turns to fruitful plant and how much dictatorial figure controlled the world than gone from sight . ” after all he is a shadow but in fact seems not seems more powerfull than that

    • Hello Narimane and welcome to you and “Invincible.” I appreciate your comments. Sometimes it is a challenge not to go the way the shadow invites (or tells) us, especially if we feel it’s not good for us, or could be harmful in some way. It’s never good to feel handcuffed or tied by what someone else wants. But the invitation to be more creative, take more chances… be all of who we are: yes. And yes, …who knows what is coming next. Thank you so much for commenting.

  2. My shadow, she who has no name as she has no need for that, has a picture of herself which she posted into my album. Changing her face to look like me she wears chocolate on her nose as with ecstatic look on her face she licks out a huge cereal bowl of gone ice cream. The Unnamed was overjoyed to find she had done something indecorous and sent me to the store for more while with rock blaring from the old fashioned ghetto blaster she mad danced in my living room.

    She sleeps beside me too sometimes and wakes me to say look who’s here, and sometimes she just hovers in a corner and watches the predawn street. Other times when I awaken in the coddled darkness she whispers that I should get up and keep her company while she plots and schemes.

    Her clothes are long and flow with the nuances of a silly breeze or breath as she prances where she will.

    I love her madly. She teaches me many things.

    • Dear She Who has no Name… thanks so much for posting this comment Linda. Just what I was hoping for when I posted the request for comments about our shadow voice.
      You’re right… our Shadow Self can teach us many things. And I love that she loves chocolate ice cream. She probably doens’t care if she gets it on her long, flowing dresses.

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