With apologies to Mary Oliver.
Perhaps the most life changing lines of a poem I have ever encountered are from Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Could this be true? Was this allowed? Did I even know what my body loved.
This, I think, may be my life’s work. To let the soft animal of my body love what it loves. Aren’t I supposed to be ashamed of those things?
Today is September First, and according to my Facebook timeline and Twitter Trending patterns, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are being sold at Starbucks. Pumpkin spice donuts, pies, Pop tarts, candles, and anything else people think we might buy are headed our way. And also the mockery is about to begin, of people’s unabashed love for all things Pumpkin Spice, but specifically the lattes.
It will not just be the mocking of the deep love for Pumpkin Spice. It will be the mocking of the love for Apple Picking, Flannels, comfortable boots, leaf pile jumping, pumpkin patch going, and exclamation over the trees. It will all be mocked as basic and ordinary.
Love your Pumpkin spice latte anyway. So other people love what you love. So many people in fact other not lovers (otherwise known as haters) will be annoyed by your love of whatever it is you love. Love it anyway. Especially if you are a woman. Especially if other people find it trivial and feminine. Love the apple picking because it smells good and the sun is just warm enough. Love the way your coffee tastes and the way your boots feel on your feet. Love the way you look in the soft light at the pumpkin patch.
For the love of all things holy. Love what you love.
It has become increasingly clear to me that Pumpkin Spice Latte love is mocked because it is loved mostly by women. Just like music and books that teenage girls like are dismissed, movies and books grown women love aren’t “serious.” You don’t see anyone making fun of men for their rich obsession with fall craft beers, or their excitement over the summer super hero movies. It just is. They are allowed to just be.
But the things of women are silly. They are mocked until we feel like we are not allowed to love those things anymore. Until we are not allowed to share that we love those things. But what you love is not inconsequential, it is of the utmost importance (at least to you) because you love it.
So get in the Starbucks line, grab a Venti! Bust out your flannel and your Uggs because they make your body feel good. Take your selfies in your apple orchard and the pumpkin patch because you are happy there and you are going to need to remember what you look like when you are happy. Do not let you tell you that things you love don’t matter.
Let the soft animal of your body love your pumpkin spice latte.