I have been told before that I can be intimidating. The first few times I heard this comment I found it laughable. But I continued to hear it from time to time and I was forced to acknowledge that there are some situations in which I can be intimidating – all 5 feet, 2 1/2 inches of me. And yes, I must include the 1/2 inch because it matters at my height.
I believe that the times folks find me intimidating are times when I am advocating for something I am passionate about or sticking up for someone whose voice is not as strong as mine and who needs help. Otherwise, I am pretty much a threat of no consequence. Indeed, most days I am nothing more than an easily amused goober with a real soft spot for people and creatures…okay, and pistachio ice cream.
Alas, I can be fierce if need be. A tiger whose tail you dare not pull lest you care to face the consequences. A source of steely determination that evidences no outward inkling of fear.
It wasn’t always that way. I was quiet and afraid so many years – silenced by my own fear – a prisoner of my own making. I felt like less – less capable, less worthy, less important. Then I learned the power and courage in conviction and I became enamored with the idea that even the most disenfranchised folks could find moments in time when their voices were meant to rise. During my time in college and law school I learned more about myself and others and my voice grew stronger. I stood a little taller, laughed more freely, and started to see my life and world as something that was within my control, not others’ control.
These days I recognize that on some topics I can come on quite strong and be viewed as a force to be reckoned with. I am okay with that. Malcolm X said, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” Some days I make sure folks know what I stand for – all 5 feet, 2 1/2 inches of me. Other days, I eat my pistachio ice cream and keep my mouth shut.
Day one thousand five hundred and forty-four of the new forty – obla di obla da