By Michael Kimmel | Life Beyond Therapy
A few weeks ago, a well-adjusted bisexual guy came into my office. He was handsome, smart, successful and quite happy with his life. So, I was a bit surprised when, out of the blue, he burst out with: “I want to be wild!”
It certainly got my attention.
I was reminded of this when I saw the recent Gay San Diego cover story (“Raw, sexy and daring”) on Rufskin clothes and their founders/designers. When I saw the photos of the handsome model wearing the clothes, I thought, “Wow, those clothes are wild! You’d have to have a pretty exciting life to dress like that.” And I felt a little envious that I didn’t have that kind of life (or that kind of amazing body).
But, amazing clothes and model-perfect body aside, I like the idea of having the option/choice to be “wild” at times. So, you may ask — as my client did — how can I become more wild? Consider these questions to start you on your path:
- What does it mean to be wild?
- Describe some times in your life when you have been wild?
For many of us, the opposite of “wild” is boring: predictable, repetitive, overly familiar, too safe. This, unfortunately, describes many people’s lives: we want to take more chances, be braver, try things that scare us, but we’re just too afraid to do so. If this sounds like you, you could ask yourself:
- When in my life did I have opportunities to be wild, but didn’t take them?
- What stands in my way — e.g., what are the obstacles — to being wilder?
It’s important that, if we want to make changes in our life, that we find ways to encourage ourselves to do so. Change takes energy; to make changes and be wilder, we need to overcome the inertia of just doing the same-old, same-old stuff that is so familiar and too easy. If you want to be wilder, but feel stuck in a boring old rut, these questions may help:
- What are some “little” steps I can take in the next week to be wilder?
- How can I encourage myself to take those steps?
What if you don’t want to be wilder? Perhaps that’s not a useful goal for you. If so, I’d encourage you to see where you feel bored with yourself/your life. You may not want to be wilder, but would you like to be more spontaneous? More adventurous? Would you like to try some new things but find it too daunting?
Well then, you’re on the same path as my client who wants to be wilder. Everyone’s definition of “wild” is her/his own. For me, being wilder means that I take more chances to try new things, I am more spontaneous, I say “yes” to things that I’ve said “no” to in the past.
If “wild” isn’t quite your word, how about being more: uninhibited, unbroken, unbridled, extroverted, unconstrained, unconventional, self-willed, rowdy, riotous, silly/goofy, outrageous and fantastic? These are alternative definitions of “wild” that I offer for your consideration.
Wild is not angry or vengeful. Anger is bitterness, holding onto a past hurt. It is actually the opposite of wild, which is to be free to be who you want to be. Being wild is about knowing who you are, what you want and daring to have the freedom to be as playful, sexy, eccentric and unique as you like. It’s about unlocking psychological “cages” that keep you from becoming the person you’ve long dreamt of being.
To be wild is to experiment, take a few chances, try some new things. Your wild is probably different from mine. All that matters is that, if being wilder appeals to you, figure out what your version of wild looks/smells/tastes/feels/sounds like and pursue it.
It’s no accident that the handsome model in the Rufskin ads (check out their website, it’s great) is running happily – wildly – through the desert. He’s enjoying himself and having fun in his sexy/skimpy clothes. You don’t need the clothes or the desert to be wild (though it couldn’t hurt!), instead, discover your own version of wild and dip your toe in the water or just jump in!
— Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit lifebeyondtherapy.com.