My therapist once referred to me once, in a session, as a lioness. We’d spoken of my protector parts and I imagined my safe place as being guarded by lions at the gate. T has queried my use of the term lion rather than lioness, and spoke of viewing me as a strong, watchful lioness, who would do anything to protect her young.
At the time I shrugged and thought nothing of it. I told T at the time that I’d chosen a lion because they’re stronger (being male) and a lion with a mane is majestic; a symbol of courage and strength, something to be feared and respected, isn’t it? T understood where I was coming from but it’s logged in my mind since then.
So when a fellow-WordPresser, SJ, also described me as a lioness, it brought it all back , in a nice way. I suppose the idea had been rumbling in the background of my mind, and I’d taken note of little things; maybe a wildlife documentary that mentioned the fierceness of a lioness, to other people describing it positively in one way or the other. I think it’s a bit like when you get a new dog or car, all of a sudden you see them everywhere! It’s really on your radar and you can’t believe you didn’t see it so much before.
Other WordPress contacts sent their comments too, reinforcing this idea that I am some kind of mother bear with her cubs (lioness). It’s nice to be believed in, that way.
My thought on it today are: I am stronger than I was, both physically with the wellness of my MS-ridden body, but perhaps more noticeable the wellness that is coming together with my self. My soul. My spirit. Whatever you want to call the inner person that I have been, that I am and that I will be in the future. All of me.
I’m liking the changes I’m experiencing, it feels how I imagine a big metal safe might feel like when you click each dial in the correctly alignment, getting ready for the last move, so that the big heavy door can finally swing wide open revealing the treasures hidden away inside.
Am I still wracked with guilt and self doubt? Sadly yes. Though a little less so. Do I still give in too easily and bend over backwards when I shouldn’t? Yes I still do that too, though largely out of habit; once I stop and really think about it, I can more easily allow myself to choose a different way now.
I feel the lioness was always there, but she was beaten down against the odds, and she’s been quietly repairing in the shadows, not letting a single opportunity for restoration and rehabilitation to pass her by. And now she is emerging with more strength and composure than ever before, this time not just for her young—though crucially that too—but this time for herself as well.
I came across this amazing post recently, and it was like the cherry on the cake. So I will leave you with a share of that.
I guess I would want to say to anyone reading this: it’s so easy to think these sides are not within us, and sometimes they need to be teased out by the words and support of other people; people who ignite a flame you didn’t know had been burning all along, because the light was not bright enough. But with the fuel added to it, it’s burning stronger and brighter, and is feeling different too. I think it’s a mixture of hope and resilience, both of which can sometimes take us a little by surprise when we discover it’s there.
Will I still falter and waiver? Yes of course. I’m still growing and in many ways an infant. But if they’re fed and nourished, infants become teenagers become adults in their own right. And the lioness goes from strength to strength.