The wild one

I remember well. Exactly where I was when I first had the words roll through my mind. 



I was sitting in a coffee shop just as I had through so many nights of college. It was late. I don’t remember how late, but I probably should have been in the library studying. Instead there I was on the stool situated along the front bar. The large window in front of me opened to the street and looked out over campus.

My worn journal was open to a blank page and I grabbed my pen and started writing. I am sure if I shared with you the exact words I wrote they wouldn’t make much sense to you. Syllables and doodles covering pages and exposing all the bits and pieces of me.

The parts of me that seemed disconnected and disjointed from each other, but all deeply rooted in my heart. That page had me on it. All over it. Even the parts of me that made no sense.

There was no clear picture or plan that emerged. All signs didn’t point to a specific direction my life should go. Destiny didn’t spill out like some sort of code amid the ink blots. It was just my words. The thread of my deepest dream.

I knew at that moment. I wanted to be one of the wild ones.

All the things I wasn’t – I already knew. No one needed to tell me that I wouldn’t be the first girl picked. I never was. Life didn’t have to remind me of all the places I fall short. The times I say the awkward thing or get my feelings hurt when I open my heart just a little too big. My soul bears the scars of close calls and doors shut in my face.

None the less, I couldn’t argue with what I already knew. I was one of the wild ones.

Full of fear and insecurity, but wild to the core. I wanted to chase impossible things and wrap my life with colorful thinking. Thinking that didn’t try to color-cordinate with every person and every situation. I didn’t want to be khaki. I didn’t want to blend in and match everyone.

I wanted a bold life. Those words and images I wrote on the page that night testified to that. I didn’t want neutral. I wanted to be red. And paint in red wherever I went. Marking lives and streets with red letters that declared “Liz was here”. I wanted to leave myself behind.

I was twenty. I naive. But I was right. At least partly right.

Fast-forward a decade. I’ve learned a few things about being wild.

I’ve learned that meals have to be cooked. Houses have to be cleaned. Every day. Jobs have requirements and you have to – you know – actually go to work when you feel like hoping in your car to chase adventure. And relationships? Those take time too.

But mostly, I’ve learned that wild doesn’t mean what I thought it meant when I was twenty.

It isn’t about spontaneous and risky adventures that create envious stories.

Wild is not what we do, but how we think. Daring to believe in what could be. Willing to be the person who changes things. Big or small. Not allowing the realities of life to dull down our spirits. To make us think that this – right here and right now – is all there is.

I was wrong to think that I was the wild one. It isn’t me. It’s you too.

After countless conversations on long phone calls and on sofas in coffee shops, I have realized that I am not the only wild one. You are too. We are all the wild ones. At least that is what we were made to be. The capes may have turned into cardigans and swords into laptops, but we are glowing in our core. Glowing, burning, for something better. Something bigger.

From our cubicles and living rooms we dream into a world that is better. A world that has our mark on it.  Believing that life doesn’t have to play out this way – believing that we could do it better. We could do this better. That despite all our failures and scars from being the last kids picked in dodgeball, there is something in this heart to offer.

Wild generosity is meant to do battle with greed. Wild forgiveness can cut off the cycles of hatred and vengence. Wild hope has the power to reach into the darkest places and sit – be with people where they are. Remind people that we pick them. We see them.

And love? Wild love makes people recognize that they were made for the same thing. To be wild. To dream. To live this one wild crazy life will all we’ve got.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think we are ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ kind of people I think we are wild.

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Filed under current events, Faith, Fire, something bigger, Whimsy

9 responses to “The wild one

  1. Danny Mulkey

    Well, your old Daddy is pretty wild, too. But I still like khaki!!! (One of my favorite books when I was a kid was The Call of the Wild by Jack London.)

  2. Great post! I remember being that same college girl: doodling on my syllabi and thinking how I wanted to be and who I was already. I was fringe but not in a cool way so I had to tailor it. And these days, I am in the same boat: I have mouths to feed and mountains of laundry. But still… still…

  3. Tahlia.M

    Amazing words! I feel like I am at this stage of thinking, being 21, hopeful and dreaming about life and what I’m meant to do with it. This is a really interesting and realistic reflection, and I think all my friends should read this as well.

  4. Oh, there is just SO much truth to your words, Liz! I am right there with ya, doodling and dreaming. 🙂

  5. I felt the same way – feeling wild to the core. It’s died down a lot these years, but a part of me is always yearning, wanting adventure, finding new wild. Lovely post. Thanks.
    Nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award at
    You may have this already, but it’s my way of saying I really like your writing and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Pingback: Friday Finds – 9/5/14 | Jessie Nyland

  7. “Wild is not what we do, but how we think.”

    I’m spending a while on your blog today, getting to know your heart and your style, and I’m loving it already. I’m writing this quote down and keeping it in my pocket. 🙂

  8. I don’t know if what I am going to say is related to this post or not, but I want to share it with you. My mom says that it should be our goal to be important to this world. We should be important enough that the world remembers our names, in a good way, even after we die. One doesn’t have to win a battle to do so, one can do that by only doing his work with full sincerity. One can do that simply by always doing the right thing. If one does so, he would be remembered, whether he is a farmer, or a laborer, or a businessman.

  9. I love this post! Yes, we are the wild ones. Wild for believing life is meant to be lived in bold colors, while bringing others into the adventure by our enthusiasm and hope. I’m a recent college grad, and the realities of life have begun to dull down my spirit. But God is so much bigger, and has a much grander plan than I can see from my cubicle right now! Thanks for your insight.

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