This autobiographical book is about daring to be different. The author’s journey takes us from the impoverished aristocracy of post-war Scotland, through experiments with drugs, free love, and anti-establishment politics, to adventurous travels all over the world. Always on the cutting edge, she was active around environmental issues decades before the mainstream. Disillusioned by the sexism in Britain, she turned to Nature for solace, moving to rural California, where she engaged in healing work around her sexuality, worked as a Jill-of-all-trades, ran an organic farm, and came out as a lesbian. At the age of fifty, a series of inexplicable experiences led her to take up a life of kitesurfing, and she became the
woman who follows the wind.
Mikaya Heart knows how to dance her own sweet, wild dance, and she offers us a compelling picture of the agony and ecstasy that are the rewards of choosing one’s personal truth. The path she has forged
through the jungle of life is an inspiration—and a delightful read.
I have always been wary of the people who say, I love you. What do they mean? Alec said, I love you. And, at first, I loved him, simply because he was attentive and kind to me, in an atmosphere that was markedly short on kindness, in an environment where children were mostly ignored. I had no idea that when he said, I love you, he meant, my sexual desire is out of control, and I must use your body in this fashion whatever the cost. If you love me, which you should, you will let me do these things to you without resistance or complaint, and you will forgive me, and you will never tell anyone. Later, in my teens, when boys said, I love you, they meant, youíre mine, I own you, and when we appear in public together you will behave in an appropriate manner. Iíll have sex with you whenever I want, and you must at least make an appearance of enjoying what I do to you. Or sometimes, they just meant, Iím really horny right now, give me access to your body so that I can come. When my father said, I love you, he meant, Iím sorry you seem to be hurt by the things I do and say, but I need to have someone to bear the brunt of my frustrated rage, and so Iím going to continue to do and say whatever I want to you, and youíd better just endure it without making a scene. When my mother said, I love you, she meant, Iím sorry Iím not able to protect you like good mothers should, and I havenít adequately been able to hide the fact that I never wanted to have you, and I really need your forgiveness. When my female lovers said, I love you, they meant, I admire who you are and I want to have access to you whenever I desire so that your qualities will be mine too. I want to control everything you do, so that you will never leave me. What do I mean when I say, I love you? I certainly mean, please donít hurt me. I go around saying that to everyone (nonverbally of course, because in everyday reality I donít easily admit that I am capable of feeling hurt). I mean, please help me. I feel the need for help really acutely, but I donít know how I need it, so I get really frustrated with my lovers, because no matter how hard they try, they donít really manage to help me in any real way. I mean, life is too hard, please make it easier for me. I mean, please forgive me for all the wrong I do to you, for all my faults. I mean, please overlook all the times I nag and bitch at you. I mean, please see more of me than the tough exterior I present, and please love that other side of me, or, at least, please donít make fun of me. I want I love you to mean, I see the wholeness of all that you are in this moment, and I accept you without judgment, honoring your unique, infinite beauty. In this moment my heart is joined with yours and I know that we are not separate beings. I support you absolutely in being fully who you are, even if that means that you will go away and I will never see you again.
Mikaya Heartís autobiographical My Sweet Wild Dance is soul-refreshment of the highest order. Told from the first-person perspective of Heartís narrative persona, Chris Brixton, the book chronicles the writerís repressive upbringing in 1950s Scotland and her struggle to liberate herself from the class and gender restrictions placed upon her by circumstances of birth.
The daughter of impoverished aristocrats, Chris is a feisty, nature-loving tomboy who cannot conform to the ladylike norms of femininity to which her parents (and especially her father) subscribe. Gender bias is rampant in her world; with few exceptions, females simply do not command respect. Men denigrate women and sexually abuse female children--including Chris--with no remorse.
The narrator is attracted to girls from a young age. But as an adolescent, she enters a period of heterosexual promiscuity, sleeping with "John" after faceless "John." It is only in her mid-twenties, after travel through India and Europe and involvement with drugs and Pro-Irish radical politics, that the narrator finally embraces her lesbian identity and begins the process of healing her brutalized sexuality.
Knowing she will never find acceptance in Britain as an upper class dyke, Chris goes to Northern California where she settles in a rugged back country area near San Francisco. Drawing on her skills as a carpenter, mechanic, and gardener, this Jill-of-all-trades consciously crafts a life that suits her fiercely independent ways. Along the way and through travels that take her into--among other places--the forest wilderness of Montana, she comes into contact with shamanic practices she uses to define a spiritual path. By the end of the book, and almost as if to highlight the progress in her own growth, Chris, now a mature woman of fifty, takes up kite-surfing. The wind she has always followed now becomes her ultimate partner in the great dance of life.
The waywardness of Chrisís inner and outer journey is mirrored in the story itself, which moves from place to place without apparent forethought. This "wandering," which always takes place in the present tense, at times creates a sense of narrative disjointedness. Heart more than makes up for this with her profound emotional honesty. As she says in the preface, feelings are at the core of what she writes. Her life--in all its random movement and complexity--is merely the vehicle for their expression.
Midwest Book Review
When the norm doesn't cut it, you try a bit of everything. "My Sweet Wild Dance" is the story of a young woman named Chris and her endless voyage of self-discovery. Experimenting with everything from professions to sex to politics to even different personalities, her journey to find herself is truly inspiring and this fictional adventure will help other young women rise up to find who they truly are when society's glove doesn't fit. "My Sweet Wild Dance" is a fun and uplifting read, recommended.