Sometime around its opening in April of 2016, I went with the kids to see the movie Jungle Book. It was a live-action adaptation of the 1967 animated Disney movie by the same name. So, going in I knew the story and kind of what to expect. However, there were a couple of surprises to keep people engaged. There was one line from the movie that struck an emotional chord with me. This will happen from time to time in a movie and I will repeat the line over and over to ensure that I can remember it after the movie. Or I will sneak my phone out and type it in. Yes, I know its kind of an odd thing to do during a movie, but I am who I am. The movie, as most know, is about a boy that is separated from his family and raised by wolves. The mother wolf Raksha, is very upset that the time has come for Mowgli to return to the human village. Raksha tells him, “Never forget this. You’re mine. Mine to me. No matter where you go or what they may call you, you will always be my son.” It felt so good to hear this. It was a simple statement, but it was a beautiful declaration of love and belonging. She loved Mowgli fully as she loved all of her children. She wanted him to take that love with him wherever he went so that he would know he was worthy and belonged anywhere he should end up. That even though she was not physically present in his life she would always be with him. To walk through the world with a true sense of belonging and love has to be the best thing since sliced bread.
Of course, after watching the movie I went and read up on the function and organization of typical wolf packs. Wolf social structure is fascinating! They are the most social of the carnivorous animals and as such live by a detailed set of guidelines to ensure the functionality of the pact is maintained. Each pack is simply an extended family, usually only containing one breeding pair. The close-knit nature of the pack ensures that the young will be provided for by the entire pack. They hunt in groups and every member of the pack gets their share. The pups are actually fed regurgitated portion of the day’s meal by the adults returning from the hunt. When adolescent pups reach mating age, they venture out to find a mate to build a pack of their own. It all sounds so simple yet romantic, and what many humans would call relationship goals these days sans the regurgitated food part.
We humans also crave belonging, to be claimed as some’s is a part of how we are made. From the moment we become untethered on the day we are born until the day we die we reach out and hope that someone reaches back. We all long to be part of a pack. It’s a matter of physical survival at birth but it is also required for our emotional development. We need to be claimed, I know it sounds animalistic, archaic, or brutish. Now a day’s people like to think of themselves as independent and that they don’t need or want to be claimed. I disagree one hundred percent. Currently there are over 1500 dating apps generating over 3 billion dollars in revenue. That is a lot of scratch for something folks don’t want or need!
So how do we get from those first few cry’s for attention to staring longingly at our computers for hours just hoping that somewhere out in the internets is our souls’ mate? Looking and hoping for a person to whom we can belong, the one who will come and lay claim to us. Honestly, I don’t know. I am in the exact same boat. And I am exhausted from rowing this Mother Fucking boat. The struggle is we all want it, but we have so many individual conditions and rules around how it should and shouldn’t be. What they should look like, what income, education, religion, race, sexuality, and so many other tedious things that seem to rule out the possibility of being claimed or even wanting to belong to another human.
I know many suggest that you simply rid yourself of all expectations and be open to love. But I really just don’t understand how one is supposed to just magically want that which you don’t naturally want. We should all have standards and expectations. Some of us can go to the Disney fairytale extreme (I use to be guilty of this) but healthy and realistic expectations are a requirement. So then How? How in this era of standards, perspectives, and expectations are we afforded the opportunity to lay claim and how do we allow ourselves to be claimed?
This is why in the quote was so moving to me. I don’t know how but I would love to find out how to claim and be claimed. Any suggestions?