Fierce, like the child who leaves chocolate stains on my pillow before breakfast.


When my days are done, please let them say that I was fierce.

To be clear here I am not talking about the online dictionary definition of fierce that exemplifies my chosen adjective using following ‘demonstrative’ sentence; “As women, we need to accept that we can be fierce, cunning, and predatory”. (*Sensitive ears, beware, but still…) No fucking way!! Let’s just call out such examples for what they really are, DAMN RUDE and it’s not only because such sentences suggest that women are collectively playing some sort of competitive game.

Despite the fact that Beyoncé is completely entitled to her alter-ego, I’m not talking about her ‘Sasha Fierce’ either.

Who’s there to save the hero/When she’s left all alone/And she’s crying out for help/Who’s there to save the hero/Who’s there to save the girl…/After she saves the world‘. [part of the hook from ‘Save the Hero’I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008)

(The sort of fierce people I know realize that no human is going to “save” this world alone.)

No, when my time finally comes to an end, I hope people who knew me best are able to say that I was “Middle-English-Fierce!” You see as I understand it, back then the word fierce (or ‘fiers’) was understood to mean brave and proud. Plus, this definition comes from an even earlier Latin word, ferus, meaning untamed.

Let me get straight to my real point, and it isn’t actually about me specifically. These days the taming (ah, uh, I meant “training”) of girls begins very young; remember to always behave like a lady, girls shouldn’t be so loud, girls need to be gentle, girls aren’t pushy. This so called ‘education’  is plain sad, and it’s wrong. (To be sure boys overhear this taming training too, and they take it to heart just as blindly as do girls). Please recognize, I’ve been going to school for many years,  enough years to understand that I’m not always the wisest (mum and dad, please refrain from commenting here) however, for what I may lack in wisdom, I’m about to more than make up for in Knowledge, knowledge regarding the following: Women are always wise to ignore any form of taming masked as “education”. Not only that, women need all of us to be wise enough to recognize the courage required by them to express their bravery and denounce such ‘lessons’.

If you want, forget about being ‘wise’ altogether (if your lucky to live long enough, life is sure to put you through enough shit that it’ll come by way of experience anyhow).  What I want to be is proud. AND, I work really damn hard to be untamed (let me assure you, it’s steady employment). I want more women to be proud..

(Picasso  -who is not by any means a hero of mine- once said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Regardless of my feeling regarding Picasso’s womanizing, his quote does inspire me. It inspires me to imagine that, when we are all dead-and-gone as a species, Woman’s tombstone might well read “It took us four years to learn to ‘act like a girl’ and decades to become untamed fierce.”)

Someone extremely close to me, lost someone close to her this week.

The death was tragic; the woman who passed away was fierce. I didn’t know her well myself but, I knew of her well enough to know that she was fierce about her friendships; she stood bravely alongside her friends through many shitty days. I know that this woman was fierce about her family; she was brave in the face of her parents illnesses, looking after each of them proudly as they faded from this world. Despite the fact that this woman is now gone from the earth, the people (female and male) who were closest to her know that they are better for having done great things with such a fierce human.

Damn all those years of ‘taming’ though. Because you know -no matter how fierce a woman’s heart- it’s really painful (and confusing) to defy our ‘teachers’. See, women take it straight through the to heart, of all those years of damaging taming training..

Generations of ‘education’ as taught us that we are “good” (our best?) when we are tame.. Such forms of ‘education’ keep far too many women from the opportunity of being their fully truly FIERCEST. But, just before you accuse me of slipping into any delusions of grandeur, I know that fierce women don’t just walk into a phone booth and reemerge all ‘Sasha Fierce-ed‘ up (Draws a lot of attention, and who needs that kind of scrutiny when your busy living your fullest self right?). Seriously though, do not misunderstand me, the sort of fierce woman that I’m promoting is no snuffleupagus either..

Fierce women are all around us. They are sisters, aunts, mothers, trans, cis, straight, gay, bi-. They are visibly sexy or keep’n it for themselves, they are not/tattooed, made-up, clean skinned/acned, brown, yellow, white, green and purple.. They make lunch for their kids, eat at the food bank, ride the bus, they run for city council, ask if “you want fries with that?” They look after their kids/partner/parents, but just as importantly they know in their heart-of-hearts that they must look after themselves. In short, they are FIERCELY THEMSELVES.

Fierce people of the world, lets do something great together; let’s not compete.  Let’s agree that it’s ok (no, it’s fierce, and it’s untamed) to look after ourselves. Female, male, trans, gender-neutral; we need to stop hurting each other.

See, the kid who left that chocolate stain on my pillow before breakfast this morning is brave, and proud, and untamed. And I can only hope that I have the courage never to ‘educate’ him otherwise. I owe him that, and I sure as hell owe it to the little girl who was still asleep in her bedroom down the hall..

..may we all be remembered as having had the courage to be our truest, and kindest form of fierce.


*This post was written in memory of someone who was close to a woman who is extremely close to me.

Published by Danielle Hogan

Visual artist, writer, curator, educator

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