Rewilding: Embracing Feminine Power Through Radical Self-Acceptance

Let’s get something straight: this is my Rewilding story:


This is not an attack or judgment of any other person’s journey or lifestyle. I support the rights of every human being to embrace who their are in their own way, on the condition that it does not cause harm to another being through intention or ignorance.

So what is Rewilding?

It’s a concept I first learned about in Lista Lister’s Witch. I loved Witch! I love Lisa’s radical reclaimation of all things feminine, of our power as women and the strength of the pussy (both literally, and symbolically, this is not a concept purely for those born with vaginas, just in case you were trying to get exclusive on me. This is an inclusive post for ALL women).

Anyway, Rewilding is relearning what it means to be a woman.

To be the woman you have always been, despite any misleading messages from the society we grew up in or from our own minds as the result of pain throughout our lives.

For me, Rewilding so far has looked like recognizing and truly feeling my own anger for the first time.

It’s meant learning to speak up and embrace the truth of that phrase, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Rewilding means standing for myself. Speaking for myself. Finally forgetting what they might say or think or feel about my radical perspective of non-violence, releasing standards and expectations of beauty (and the corresponding implications of intelligence, strength, and capability) imposed upon women exclusively…

Rewilding is terrifying as fuck, honestly.

It’s not easy. It should be the easiest thing in the world, simply freeing who we are… but I’ll be the first to admit it’s totally not.

It’s really scary. I started this Rewilding journey telling my best friend, “I’m so afraid to think about how many people are going to fall out of my life if I go through with this [embracing my own power and not doing things that don’t feel right for me for the sake of the general population’s comfort].”

How heartbreaking is that?

Not just for me, but imagine hearing your mother, your grandmother, your daughter, your sister, your own best friend saying those words… thinking they’d lose people from their lives if they decided to no longer do things that didn’t feel right for them.

How heartbreaking is it that we live in a society where that kind of fear, that fear of being totally abandoned, judged, and misunderstood could come from something as simple as no longer wearing a bra?

Yep. That’s what I was talking about. I was telling my best friend I was fed up with wearing bras. They’re expensive, they’re uncomfortable- YES even when they are high quality and well-fitting, they are a pain! In my experience, bras are annoying and I hate them.

And I don’t want to wear one, so why should I? Why is not putting a thick layer of padding and a wire between my breasts and my shirt anyone else’s business? Let alone a controversial topic?

For me, Rewilding meant recognizing the truth behind those rants, where in the past I ignored them and told myself not to think about it, that I was about to get weird and cross lines.

It meant pressing forward even though it was super uncomfortable. Even though there were thoughts like, “okay but if I do this… I can still wear bras around my DAD right?” and then the counter anger of “why the hell is it sexual for me to not have a freakin’ pad and wire between my breasts and my shirt to the point that it makes me uncomfortable to not wear a bra around my dad?” Seriously?!

Sometimes society’s expectations make no sense, but all these years of exposure and the constant confirmation that when you don’t conform at least to a certain extent you will be ridiculed and rejected… that all makes it really hard to do something as simple as banishing bras from the closet.

Rewilding involves a whole lot of that push and pull between yourself and the beliefs you’ve been fed!

It was emotional embracing my power to choose- looking at deeply rooted beliefs and fears I held about my own worth, body, appearance, duty, and beauty. It meant speaking up, becoming a part of the conversation where in the past I avoided it.

Now I’ll speak up for myself. I’m still not a fan of confrontation, but I don’t choose the comfort of another over my basic needs being met and my desires considered.

My sister on the other hand, is an absolute queen at speaking up in these situations and I think it’s absolutely badass! It fuels her fire where it puts me into a panic for weeks. Everyone has their own approach, and that’s okay!

Anyway. That’s what Rewilding looked like for me from the inside.

On the outside, it looked like radical lifestyle changes that made so much sense… but that also didn’t raise as much of a fuss with the world around me as I expected it to.

In October of 2018, I finally opened up to my own wildness.

I decided to give myself a chance to embrace a new side of who I was- the raw side that doesn’t do what she doesn’t want to do- and who doesn’t apologize for it. I opened up to the side of me that doesn’t care about bras or shaving or makeup… And then I learned about the side of me that loves those things for the aesthetic at times, and found this beautiful balance between honoring myself and being a part of my community and culture!

The community I’ve always craved was surrounding me all along, but it took Rewilding for me to be able to see it.

This is what Rewilding looks like for me. This is what femininity looks like for me. This is my definition of a powerful woman: the woman who is who she is no matter who is watching or listening, who does what she wants with her own body and loves herself unapologetically, who is the epitome of “do no harm, but take no shit.”

Hi. I’m Jessica, and I’m rewilding. Are you?


Jessica Peña