Don’t ask me why I decided to tag my blog, “Trusting the Wild Voices.” It came, and I trusted. In my head, I heard both “wild voices” and “wild horses.” As spirit animals, horses drive adventure, heroism, authenticity, freedom, passion. It’s the year of the horse in the Chinese zodiac—we are an especially magnificent and driven herd this year.

I know what it’s like not to trust those voices. There is that possibility of being trampled or kicked (my great-uncle died from a kick by a horse). And you never know where wild horses will take you. For years, I kept my creative writing to myself. But there’s no real joy, or honor, in tethered words.

Which brings us to my first reading as a featured poet a few weeks ago, and why it was a big deal. I’ve been a professional writer all of my life. But writing from that deep, unexpected voice that can’t easily be named, categorized or interpreted—listening to that voice and then letting someone else hear it—that is a whole new world of real. After years of suppressing my curious and complicated poet self, writing and reading poetry feels like running—no, flying—with wild horses.

Not that it doesn’t take some getting used to. Reading your writing for other people feels pretty vulnerable. Even worse is watching a video of yourself. (My hair wasn’t right, the camera angle wasn’t right, my expression was too somber, oh there’s plenty more where that came from.) But being a poet feels like finally being honest, and it looks like that’s going to include letting people see a bad hair day. So I’m posting videos and getting out of my own way. Here’s to being who are, even if you have no idea what that means or where it will take you.

It’s the year of the horse, time to ride.