On Being Fierce

In couples, Friemdship, Realtionship on August 28, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Invigorating, yes. Skillful? Not yet.

So there I am, feeling the thrill of this new Inner Role, the One Who Claims Things for Himself. I am driving back from seeing friends on the North Shore, a lovely evening. I drive slowly up my street, in search of a parking spot. I see one up ahead, just behind a car that is parking. But wait! The lady stops. She hasn’t left me room. She could pull up. So I honk and wave and urge her to move forward. She does, but only a tiny bit. I tap my horn again and motion her forward, and then call out: “Go ahead. Move forward. You have plenty of room.” She is getting out of her car and locking the door. I roll down my window and shout, “MOVE FORWARD!” I notice a rush of heat. I notice I am yelling. She looks at me and says I’m being hysterical. She’s right. I know she’s right, and somehow I cannot stop. I start to back into a space I know is too small. I bump the bumper of the car in back of me. I give up, pull out and screech my tires as I round the corner, looking for a bigger parking space. For quite some time afterwards, I am shaking with anger.

It’s one thing to throw that kind of tantrum when you’re a two year old. It’s quite another when you’re well into middle age and run the risk of a massive coronary or a stroke.

What can I say? Apparently I have a lot to learn about occupying the role of The One Who Claims Things for Himself. What I exhibited wasn’t fierceness at all. It was temper; there’s a difference. And chances are what I had in mind to claim as I was discovering this role a week earlier was something more important than a parking spot. The point is it takes time to learn how to occupy an unfamiliar role skillfully. The one yelling was more like the one who never remembers to ask for what he wants—and so has to take it out on a perfect stranger over a parking space. A dodge. A sidestep.

Where might I invite fierceness into my life in such a way as to not act out in a fit of temper? How might I recognize it in myself and appreciate its proper expression? To call myself forward. To decry real injustice. To engage someone else in an idea that excites me. To say, for example, that I care enough about something to speak up—fiercely.

  1. I would like to be fierce. I think I need to tell the jerk inside me not to get too excited yet, that’s all…

    Good thoughts Alfred! Definitely this week’s moment to pause and consider. Talk to you soon. S

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