As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 12:26
As you’ve seen this weekend with millions of women marching all over the country, women are putting up with being second class no longer.
We’re tired of basing our self-worth off of our beauty; thereby sinking every professional, financial, and emotional resource into our own enslavement. We’re tired of doing several hours more housework *daily* because men watched their fathers and grandfathers sit around like Al Bundy while their mothers did the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and probably worked a job on their feet all day in retail, to boot. Most of all, we’re tired of making less money for doing the same job as men, and often much better.
I know, I know. It’s rather gauche to discuss the unequal treatment of women in polite company.
Which is why I’ve altogether kicked my polite company to the curb in favor of a lioness pride. (Yes, there are a lot of double entendres in this piece.)
Here’s my personal vision building lioness pride; and I hope it will someday also be yours.
I’ve always had a special kinship with the lionness, partially because my astrological sign is the lion, or Leo.
Tellingly, I became scared of lions for several years around the same time I lost myself in the sweet dawn of motherhood and the consequent end of my entire non-mom identity.
I live in a small mountain town where lion sightings are frequent. Just recently, one injured lion dragged a toddler out of his backyard by his head. Inspiringly, his human lioness mother saved the boy, prying his head from the lion’s mouth; and he is alive today.
I began slowly eliminating my fear of lions about a year ago. Previously, my inner voice and convictions were drowned out by the needs of everyone around me. I literally entertained guests in my home for my son’s first 6 months of life. My life was enveloped with nursing, cooking, cleaning, nursing again, and looking after everybody’s needs but my own.
It was around the time I began reading and writing again to “find myself”… and this powerful quote touched me by Melody Beattie.
“I used to spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that my life had no direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course for my life. Once I realized it was okay for me to think about and identify what I wanted, remarkable things began to take place in my life .”
Resting my spirit on a solid foundation was the most important thing I’ve ever done for myself and my son because in October of 2016, my world came crashing down. Finding my lioness pride has been a critical part of regaining my spirit, vision, and pride.
As my world has started to crumble around me, there are moments of strength; I’m so strong that I wonder if I’m too indifferent or cold to the severity of life’s current events.
There are also moments of weakness; I’m so blue that I’m shivering. Standing under the hot water in my shower. Yearning earnestly for sleep. Suffering under the weight of a dark cloud of depression. Those moments are rare, but I’d be an asshole to pretend they didn’t exist.
One particularly powerful moment as I stood under the purifying stream of hot water in my shower at home, perhaps for one of the last times, I had a vision.
The vision was of me as a lioness.
Like I said, I’ve had this weird relationship with lions.
When I lived in Illinois, I didn’t fear them; but I wasn’t a lioness myself. When I lived in Austin, I was nothing more than a suckling young lion cub who allowed life’s waves to throttle my self-esteem as I navigated the early stages of my ED recovery. When I moved to Colorado and became a mom, I knew that the lion cub image had to end; so I regained my strength and stepped into my role as a lioness.
Why The Lioness Appeared To Me…
I was puzzled when the lioness appeared to me in a vision as a manifestation of myself. I’ve had a tepid relationship with the beast altogether. When I began reading about the lioness, I knew why she was me and I am her.
The Lioness Forms A Pride
The lioness forms an iron-clad tribe or “pride”, or a social unit formed of lioness family members living in a group. The Pride doesn’t tolerate outside females and membership to the group only changes upon birth or death of a lioness. Prides consist of up to 30 lionesses and cubs with up to two males. Males who reach age 2 or 3 will be excluded from their maternal pride and either roam nomadically, or join another pride.
The Lioness Is A Hunter
The primary hunter for the pride is the lioness. The male lion looks after the cubs. She is smaller, more nimble, more swift, and more agile than the male. His head is larger and he tends to get overheated or exhausted under the weight of his mane. She organizes her pride into roles; with some members of the pride leading the stalk and others leading the transportation of large kills to the pride. Male lions are not likely to share food they kill by themselves; and they dominate the kill once a lioness has succeeded in the mission that was altogether hers. Male lions are generally more likely to share food caught by the pride with cubs than with lionesses, but rarely share their own catches with others. Lionesses do not usually hunt people, but if a human prey is taken; it’s usually by a male lion.
The Lioness Seeks To Rely On Her Family, Or She Just Does It On Her Own…
The lioness spends up to two months in isolation with her cubs after giving birth; hunting and protecting her little ones alone before reintegrating with the pride. When she has the chance, she synchronises her reproductive cycle to other lionesses in order to share in the raising and nursing of young cubs. Lionesses communicate lovingly with their pride, engaging in head rubbing, nuzzling another lion’s forehead, face, and neck and social licking similar to primates. Lions have the loudest roar of any big cat.
She Is The Queen Of The Jungle
The “king of beasts” even dates back to Germany, where 32,000 years ago a lioness-headed ivory carving was found. African culture often gave powerful rulers the word “Lion” in their name.
In short, don’t mess with the lioness. She is queen of the jungle. She is the queen of beasts. She will protect her pride with a roar like thunder. And if necessary, she will devour you to defend love.
Why You Need A Pride of Lionesses In Your Life…
I encountered several lionesses in the jungle of my life this week. They all had a specific message to share with me following my vision.
One lioness was abandoned by her husband one week after the birth of their son; when they discovered they baby had Down’s Syndrome.
Another left her verbally abusive husband, knowing that she had to protect her baby girl from learning that men can treat women as objects or slaves.
A final lioness appeared who had the most appealing story to me. She feared for the safety of her cubs due to dysfunction in her home. With healthy boundaries and a loud roar; she rallied together the pride. She saved her family. And she is revered as queen in her jungle.
How To Build A Pride of Lionesses in Your Jungle…
You need to build a pride of lionesses in your jungle. A man or two may be necessary in your life, but in order to get the real work done, you need a stable tribe to hunt with and protect your family.
How will you know you’ve found your lioness tribe?
1. Your Pride Supports Your Dreams
“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” —Ayn Rand
In my upcoming book on eating disorders and beauty lies, I identify one of the most important thing a woman can develop that isn’t factory-installed: it’s her confidence.
Women have a constant tape playing inside their heads that reminds them that they aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough, and pretty enough to boot.
Your liones pride must not reflect that stream of negative self-talk. What’s more, your lioness pride will help you focus on your dreams.
Your lioness pride encourage you to write, sing, paint, perform surgery, fight, and die as best possible version of you.
It’s okay if a lioness in your pride has moments of doubt when you’re raving about your next grand scheme or business plan. She doesn’t have to agree with you. But she absolutely must support you and believe that you will get it done.
2. Your Pride is Positive
I’ve said that negative people are like the hideous monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. They screech and scream and cling to your back like demons.
Your job is to douse those little shits with water; lock them in a high tower; get away from them at all costs.
Guard positivity in your life like a lioness defending her cubs. You don’t need the negativity in your life; and it’s a cancer to the developing mind of your child.
Negative people contaminate your life with their downtrodden attitudes and self-defeating words. If you speak negativity in your life, you manifest negativity.
I am a lioness. I manifest light and love in my life. There’s no room for naysayers, naggers, and negative Nancy’s.
3. Your Pride is Confident
There’s nothing about a lioness that lacks confidence. How are you going to lead the hunt, protect your cubs, and provide for those exhausted male lions if you lack confidence?
Historically I’ve been the anti-lioness; I lacked confidence so severely that I was scared of my own shadow. Honestly, there were actually moments I walked through my hometown of Chicago and my own shadow illuminated by street lights frightened me.
When I began to build confidence in myself, my life turned upside down.
As I got healthy, the relationships in my life that were unhealthy experienced immense stress.
As I found my voice, the people who wanted to silence me became irate.
As I learned to love myself and believe my own stories, those who truly hated me revolted.
As I stood my ground, my oppressors kicked and shoved me.
As I gained confidence, my pride evolved into women who shared my confidence.
I became a huntress and I had limited resources to devote to women who tore my confidence down because of their own insecurity.
I had a cub to protect and if somebody brought self-sabotaging beliefs into my pride, I had to ask them to leave.
The confident lioness knows how to love. The confident lioness knows how to say no. The confident lioness even knows when she has to leave or show weaklings the door.
The Lioness Isn’t Afraid To Love…
I sat with a lioness mother the other night and we discussed the issue of her 16 year-old daughter asking her why she had divorced the girl’s father… over a decade ago.
Instead of ignoring the question, the lioness answered it honestly but with great respect for the girl’s father.
I’ve had my own divorce and it ravaged my life.
One day, when my own son asks me if I’ve ever lost what I thought would be a great lifelong love, I will have the confidence to stand behind my choice.
You see, little cub, Mommy is a brave lioness. I am so brave that I can love, even when I know that someday that love might leave me.
- Melody Beattie,