Photo/Art: Stella Maria Baer. Instagram: @stellamariabaer
"You are the medicine." "Malnourished soul." Do you feel either of these? How does it make you feel to be called the nice girl? Yikes.
The Wolf Moon was about being hungry, howling to be fed. In the newsletters sent, I had fun easy recipes with the folklore surrounding them, key inexpensive in-season items to find for your meals, and a discussion around elixirs but this post is about a reflection on the meaning of this moon. What am I really hungry for? What do I want to feed?
As the Wolf Moon comes to an end and a newness will soon emerge. I was reflecting on the years of notes I’ve been researching and will share here and in the class with Purearth Organics: the topics of food, ancestral cooking, folklore around seasonal meals and celebrations for the month of February and the Hunger Moon.
So many of the notes are about women as the powerhouse in the community. Have we become too nice? Have I become too nice? What is my role in the community?
I grew up in the Northwest Territories a place of adventure, strength, power, and attitudes of being fierce, not mean or aggressive but with such determination that nothing stopped me. My parents were the same way, as were their parents before them, as were our ancestors. They lived off the land and had to be strong, fierce, unwavering, and determined. At some point after leaving my beloved North, I internalized the idea of needing to be a “nice girl.” It was never something I was familiar with, it just seemed in the south I recognized that life as a female would be easier for me if I just became unreservedly nice. But I was wrong. Really wrong.
Pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory. This is how the dictionary defines nice. And on a subconscious level this is how I fashioned myself to be in the world. I became someone who always put others needs first, defaulting to an attitude of cheerful mildness. Even as I empowered myself with education, knowledge, life experience, starting and excelling in another business, there was always the impetus to be a nice girl. Which meant, among other things, agreeing to situations that didn’t always feel comfortable or resonant. Saying yes when I wanted to say no. Going out of my way to make sure I didn’t step on any toes. Create other people’s images to be ‘the expert’ in a specific industry. I was excellent at marketing and storytelling so why not. Apologizing for things that I had no need to feel sorry for, like speaking my mind or just enjoying my life. I had focused wholly on tending to other people’s feelings I couldn’t even trust my own.
Sometimes, niceness takes you so far down the rabbit hole that you lose track of how to even understand what it is that you need on a deeper level. When we spend so much time securing other people’s comfort, we lose connection to our innate desires. I had spent so long being a nice girl in my relationship that I lost track of the woman who had forthright interests and desires.
In our country being a nice girl is such an ingrained expectation it is painful, and sometimes shocking, to realize that we’ve cultivated so much pleasantness that we’ve dulled our own power. But becoming, and remaining a nice girl, is a kind of malnutrition to the soul of a woman. To remain a nice girl means just that. To remain, in the eyes of the world, a girl. And it is clear that the world, our aching world of imbalance, is starving for something different.
At its root, the very world “nice” is something that is defined by others. One does not declare oneself to be nice. Nice is a title that is bestowed upon you by those you have pleased, a reward for agreeability. Your skill at fulfilling this role is wholly judged, decided and anointed by others. As nice girls, we don’t have the power to decide whether or not we are good; this lies directly in the hands of those who judge us to be nice.
Let’s bring wholeness back to our own souls, and balance to this earth.
Let us be fierce, determined, strong, and kind.