La Loba, which means Wolf Woman, speaks here as an independent woman, speaking for herself, through the personification of the wildish nature that courses through all women. She does not speak for all women, but perhaps those who do not hear the call of the wildish nature of woman as loudly, will wake up to her presence and certainly those who do hear the call will recognize her voice and be able to track her through the woods.
“La Loba, the old one, The One Who Knows, is within us. She thrives in the deepest soul-phyche of women, the ancient and vital Wild Woman. The La Loba story describes her home as that place in time where the spirit of women and the spirit of wolf meet — the place where her mind and her instincts mingle, where a woman’s deep life funds her mundane life. It is the point where the I and the Thou kiss, the place where women run with the wolves.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from “Women Who Run With the Wolves”
Some women, perhaps the ones that tend to be loners in life, hear La Loba’s call more than others. Some women believe they are happy in the roles society has mapped out for them, the roles television shows and glossy magazines have so clearly delineated. But not La Loba.
In relationships she’s often dragging her neck along the ground trying to get her collar and leash to flip around so she can grab it in her teeth and chew through the strap. She moves her head this way and that, trying to free herself from her constraints. She always manages to chew herself to freedom eventually, even if she has to gnaw off a foreleg or the end of her tail.
Her wildish nature feels trapped in tight spaces with too much domestication. She can play the good girl, always caring for her partner, her children, her pets, and anyone else who comes within reach. It is not commitment or love she rails against, but roles society has trained her to take in relationships and in life. Even the thought gets her neck to straining against her bonds, whether real or imagined.
“… many women give up [the red shoes] and agree to become too cleaned up, too nice, too compliant to someone else’s way of seeing the world.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD in “Women Who Run With the Wolves”
La Loba has seen herself put aside her dreams, wants, and desires out of a misguided sense of relationship. She wants a love relationship, but doesn’t want the entity of relationship to exceed her entity of sovereign self - she doesn’t want the relationship to become more important than her own needs, wants, desires.
“Then a woman’s life is overcome by pallor, for she is hambre del alma, a starved soul. All she wants is her deep life back.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD in “Women Who Run With the Wolves”
This too - her deep life back - is what La Loba wants. She wants to follow her bliss and act on her intuition. She wants to decide for herself. If she wants to travel then she wants to travel. She doesn’t want to say yes to another’s choice of Hawaii when she really wants to dance in the rain in Ireland or stand in the fog in Scotland or Newfoundland, even if that means she travels alone. Her spirit needs to freely consort with the earth, her toes and hands in the dirt, mucking through the fertile soil of creation. The divinity of her soul craves passionate expression through art, song, dance - creation through her own mind and hands. La Loba wants to live for herself. For herself.
“A woman’s life may die in the fire of self-hatred for complexes can bite hard and, at least for a time, successfully frighten her away from coming too near the work or life that matters to her. Many years are spent in not going, not moving, not learning, not finding out, not obtaining, not taking on, not becoming.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD in “Women Who Run With the Wolves”
La Loba doesn’t think she hates herself, but she knows the years of not. She knows the feeling of working, working, working - at this endeavor or that, on this dream or that - but never doing quite enough work, or never doing the work that would take it over the edge into fruition.
“The vision a woman has for her own life can also be decimated in the flames of someone else’s jealousy or someone’s plain-out destructiveness towards her.
Family, mentors, teachers, and friends are not supposed to be destructive if and when they feel envy, but some decidedly are, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. No woman can afford to let her creative life hang by a thread while she serves an antagonistic love relationship, parent, teacher, or friend.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD in “Women Who Run With the Wolves”
La Loba knows the antagonistic love relationship and she knows, too, the jealousy of those she has trusted. She knows certain people in her life like her better when she is struggling and failing, hurting and lost, striving and not getting there. She knows who they are and can see their acts of sabotage, how they gradually try to undermine her confidence. She hears the bitterness and doubt in their words, even when smeared in saccharine.
But La Loba knows the others, the select few, the count-them-on-one-hand people who want La Loba to be her fullest and live her whole life without leaving some parts unlived at all. She knows the people in her life who will always guard her secret dreams and hold her to the image of her highest self. Those precious souls with courage to face her fangs who say, “You are unhappy La Loba because you know what you should do and you’re not doing it.”
La Loba craves her own space - her den set up just the way she likes it. She craves sovereignty over her domain. She knows what she wants and she doesn’t care if you like it. She doesn’t want to be nice every minute because sometimes it’s her instinctive nature to snarl and get her hackles up.
She doesn’t want to be constrained by your perception of her. She doesn’t want to be shackled by the role society would have her take, the role society carefully taught her all her life - “this is what women do.”
She doesn’t want what everyone else thinks they want. She doesn’t want to walk into the trap or the gilded cage. She doesn’t want to chew off her own tail ever again.
La Loba looks down at her chewed up collar on the ground. She howls at the moon and pads off into the darkness, disappearing into the trees.