Better With Wild Things | 8.8.21

The Sunday Edition

We learn about ourselves as we go through this life, little facts that become ingrained in the people we are, the people we call ourselves and identify as to those that wander in and out. Some knowledge sets us free, others burdens us like anchor. Some we are proud of, some we hide from others and hope they never notice. Some we announce, some we renounce and try our best to change. One thing I learned early has never faded away, one thing has stuck and grown and transformed from something I vaguely realized, to something that presents itself time and again as an unalienable trait that constantly defines how I feel, who I am at the center, and what I understand about the way I move through life. This lesson is a simple one, one I revisit often here: I am better with wild things.

It’s not that I don’t like human beings, it’s never been this. I love people, I truly do, fascinated by what makes us tick, what makes us swoon and what makes us serious, what brings us joy, what sinks us into sorrow. I love humans, I do, but I am absolutely, positively, drained by humanity. I understand that some of this is Autism, some is a consequence of where I am on the spectrum, I understand that it depends entirely on who the people are I am around. I know these things, but the truth remains, when I am around groups of people, I am instantly and completely worn out. I am drained, I am emptied, and I feel hollow and exhausted. When I’m around animals, the precise and opposite is true. I am awakened, I am connected deeply, I am lost in them. I have too many stories to tell in this short space of these deep and intense connections with wild animals, everything from hand feeding deer, to squirrels, to birds, to a thirty minute interaction with a timberwolf that moved me in ways I cannot describe. The overwhelming realization I’ve come to is simple: I was a Disney Princess in another life, and those effects linger to this day. I am better with wild things, I always have been, and I am ok with this.

As I’ve said, I love human beings, but I am begging to wonder how many of you feel this same way, drained out, worn out, exhausted and depleted with interactions with our fellow humans. I wonder if all of you disappear into animals in such a comfortable and familiar way. Do you too feel more yourself when around wild creatures, less so around people, or is this an introversion/extroversion situation? As I’ve said, I’m insanely fascinated with people, what makes us all similar, what makes us all so different, and so I want to hear back from you, consider this a writing prompt for Sunday. What makes You tick? Is it animals, is it people?

Point is, it takes a billion colors to make a spectrum, and trust me, spectrums are something I know quite a bit about. How boring a place if we were all the same, how lame an existence if all things presented the precise same. We’re made to be different, to juxtapose and contradict, to complement and illuminate. We’re here to celebrate these differences, to love them all without judgement, and if that means loving people more than creatures, so be it. If that means feeling more at home with a wild animal than a person, so it goes.

Tell me, animals or people? Tell me why. Tell me what drains you, tell me what sets your soul on fire. I’m here.

Better with wild things,

drained out by humanity,

saved by animals.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson


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