Owning Wild

Wild.

That’s probably how Mom would describe me, though I’m not sure that I would agree.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as “living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated.” The first part I understand, but the second part I find a bit unsavory.

I read “domesticated” and I think of two things. I see a wolf in a forest: powerful, strong, and courageous. But then, I see a dog as a pet, curled up at his master’s feet. They say a dog is man’s best friend, but at what cost? How sad it is to think that this loyal animal is only a shadow of its potential self.

Suddenly, domestication doesn’t seem so appealing.

The word “cultivated” holds a different connotation for me. I see a farmer or gardener lovingly working their land, pouring their efforts into a budding plant in an attempt to help the plant reach its potential.

To say that I am uncultivated is almost offensive, perhaps to Mom most of all. Throughout my years, countless individuals have poured into me, have helped shape who I am, and have watered and fed me with their love and support. While the journey is not over, I can confidently say that I am on the right path, arms outstretched, reaching for my own full potential.

The dictionary definition is shorter and unfortunately less eloquent. Oxford gives us four simple words: “refined and well educated”. I can admit that I am neither of these things. After all, where is the line drawn between refined and unrefined? When does a person become “well educated”?  Neither of these are answerable because individuals should continuously be striving for these ideals. They are unattainable.

The first part of the definition, though, is more than fitting: it is inspiring. Who wouldn’t want to be “living or growing in the natural environment”? I think of parks and wildflowers and wide open spaces and water as far as the eye can see. I think of mountains and forests and beautiful waterfalls all teeming with life and activity. I think of wild (yes, wild!) animals living and thriving in an environment that they were made for, where they belong. Wild animals and plants and life and land coexisting in an ecosystem untouched by human error and corruption, but is somehow exquisitely balanced on its own.

Remember the traditional 1950s housewife? She strove for perfection: hair perfectly coiffed, a home in perfect order, clothes perfectly pressed, dinner perfectly cooked. She strove to be as “domestic” as possible. As I wonder about man’s best friend’s unrealized potential, so too do I wonder about hers.

If what it means to be domesticated and is to abide by the traditional rules, to fill these mandated, man-made roles, and to fit into a specific mold, then I want no part of it.

I’m too busy living and growing freely in my own natural environment.

I’m too busy being wild.

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