Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Swallowing my fierce

I have always been fiercely protective of the people I love, sometimes to my own detriment, sometimes more than those people want me to be. I have never let my sex, my age, my role or my place in the world stop my for standing up for someone. This is particularly true of my mum.

She is a strong, independent, smart, wonderful woman, my role model in most things. Growing up there was mostly just her and me. I say that but we had a very close relationship with my grandparents, my cousin lived with us for almost 10 years and my (half) sister from my dad's second marriage spent an inordinate amount of time with us, but in my mind and my heart, when I think of my childhood I think of the two of us together against the world. She raised me to be strong, to stand up for what is right and just, to treat all people equally, to be kind, compassionate and giving and that above all else, family comes first. She also taught me that friends can be our family as much as those we are bound to by blood, but that those people we choose to call family are the most important things in our lives, above money and above possessions and above everything else.

Despite this fierceness she carries inside her own soul, this fierceness I am proud she has passed on to me, she hates confrontation. She doesn't like upsetting people or causing arguments and will often prefer dealing with her own upset than striking back at someone who has hurt her. I know why she is that way. I respect that is her way even though it's not mine. Sometimes however I cannot contain the volume of fierce I feel at seeing my mum upset.

Over the years I have spoken up and out in defense of my mum. I have gotten into arguments with people I shouldn't, according to polite society (and usually the people I have spoken up against), be speaking to in such a manner. I have been labelled disrespectful by people who have brought my mother to tears and been told off for not "knowing my place". Sometimes when my mum has been upset by someone, someone in the blood related category she has begged me not to confront that person, not to say anything, to swallow my fierce.

Today is one of those days. With a flippant remark, and no thought for her feelings, her day has been ruined. She was already having a shit day because of an unrelated matter (another one that has my blood boiling for entirely different reasons) and this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Already on the edge of tears, she was delivered a message that she was not as important. Despite all she does, despite all she has done for such a long time, she is not as important.

I can feel the fierce burning my throat, desperate to escape, to roar at someone "HOW DARE YOU!?". I can feel it filling up my whole body, ready to explode at the slightest prod. I can feel the hot angry tears waiting to escape in indignation for her pain. But she has asked my to swallow my fierce. Not to make a big deal. Not to upset the other person. That is why she is just as important as, why she is more important than, why she is the most beautiful person I know, why she will be there for you until the end and probably even after, no matter how you make her sad, no matter what you do to upset her.

I will swallow my fierce but only because I was asked to do so by the most beautiful woman in the world. Consider yourself lucky.

I love you mum x


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