The Lioness

second year jennings brooks

photo by stokes dunavan

photo by stokes dunavan

I wish I were a lioness. I wish I were Queen of the African plains. I wish I could run 50 miles per hour and pounce like I wasn’t a victim of gravity. I wish I could have a maternal instinct without fear of being perceived as weak. Because if I were a lioness, I would have no double standard to fall victim to, I would just exist in all of my female glory without that big cumbersome mane.

But, alas, I have 2 legs and probably 35 skirts in my closet. I have a weakness for dark chocolate and those totally adorable shoes that are 25% off. I want to get an incredible education, a life fulfilling job, and maybe be a mother or CEO one day, or both. “I am but a girl.”  I am chic, I may be berated for my busy work week, but I am most of all known for being meek. Meekness often gets associated with passiveness, subduity, and shyness. But don’t dare call me shy. I hate that adjective. I find it is often used as a shield to protect yourself from pushing internal boundaries. Shyness is not a characteristic - it’s an excuse.

However, something I’ve learned in college is that meekness is certainly not weakness. Just because you don’t feel like being the center of attention certainly does not imply you have no backbone. It’s okay to find it undesirable to scream over everyone else in a room - I often care to observe a scene rather than fight to be the focus of it. I’ve found that those that I’ve met who don’t require being the center of attention are generally more confident than those that do: they don’t need the verbal affirmation of those seeking the spotlight. The ability to harness your meekness can take more self-confidence and patience, but most of all shows the true strength of a woman.

I’ve watched girls change who they are not to fit in with other girls, but to mold to a male driven society. They have compromised their femininity, the quirks and characteristics that are unique to only them, in order to be to be heard and hired. A girl that speaks her mind in class is scoffed at , she’s considered to be a know it all--yet if a boy does the same, he is praised for asking the questions everyone else was too afraid to address.

The lioness is the perfect example of how to exude strength and whilst harnessing her meekness in confidence. The lioness is one of the fiercest mammals in the animal kingdom. She hunts and kills, yet also has an incredible maternal instinct. The lioness’ role requires her to be fierce yet gentle, aggressive but subdued, in order to provide and care for her kin.

There is a beautiful hidden strength in meekness: to maintain self control when faced with opposition. I am proud to be meek. It is a strong internal fortitude--it is not weakness.