What does it mean to be wild?
By Dhanya Addanki
Wilderness is the habitat of wild.
((DHANYA is wearing the black alpaca wild mantle)
Imagine a deeply forested jungle: vines hanging from thick tree trunks, animals scurrying around, rivers and streams creating pathways for some and obstacles for others, the faint thud of fruits falling from the sky onto the dirt ground... that’s our world- a deeply messy and sturdy place waiting to be discovered. To navigate this wilderness of a world, we must be wild. We must be unafraid, creative, and understand how to maneuver through different challenges and unexpected obstacles. We must see the complexities and brave the winds that consistently try to knock us down. But there’s a disconnect.. the negative parts of our society will have us believe we’re living in a predictable, simplistic, world where we are not to question why. It’ll have us believe that we’re not equipped to sail through the jungle without these beliefs, without this way of thinking or that way of doing.. it will have us questioning the very fiber of our being without any real reasons why and try to fit us into a little box of conformation.
That’s not wild.
What is wild to me? It’s this deep understanding that we, you, I have the skills to maneuver through this jungle of a life with our own wit. It’s knowing that the only rules that apply to us are the ones that do not try to take away the things that make us unique. It’s understanding the deep intrinsic value that we have solely because we are human beings. It’s not based on productivity or actions- it’s who we are that matters most. And it’s understanding the privilege that we have to even think of what being wild means. So much our world is living in survival mode because they have no other option. The only thing that separates us is the opportunity that we have. It’s looking at humans as humans that makes us wild. It’s stepping away from the world that tries to organize us into groups, into theories and statistics and seeing ourselves and others as the hearts, mind and spirit that we so often ignore. That’s wild. It’s about not becoming a copy of what success looks like to our world and creating our own path in the jungle. We’re all capable. Being wild is understanding that capability and it’s gently pushing others to understand theirs. Define your wild.
I'm as Southern as they come. I was born in South India, raised in South Texas, and experience major culture shock in Washington DC ( where I now live) every day. I get my respect for culture and my need to take off my shoes in the house from my south Indian roots, my need to feed every single person that walks through my door from my Texas southern hospitality roots, and my intense walking speed from walking all over DC. Most of my work concentrates on representation in media. I write, talk, and produce stories about people and culture. I'm curious about how/why people in poverty, people of color, and marginalized people are represented in our current media. And I ask, how do these representations affect our culture today? I host a podcast called Greater Than with another wild and fierce woman named Jenn Junod. It's a storytelling platform. We tell stories about people and organizations that overcome, that keep on despite the desolation they've seen or been through. And we ask ourselves, how can we use these stories to tackle systems of injustice, inequality, racism, poverty, and shift narratives? This show curates spaces for uncomfortable but necessary conversations about vulnerable issues. It's designed for an audience who isn't afraid to be frustrated at the state of our world because they understand hope prevails. Listen here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/