“I may have been fierce, but never low or underhanded” - Ty Cobb
What is it to be “Fierce”?
There are many definitions to the word, all of which have been typically viewed as pejorative.
Violent. Aggressive. Wild. Menacing.
These are all words that would traditionally be considered unseemly, and even unfeminine.
Why is that?
Why is power always seen in such a negative light?
What value has tameness, submissiveness, apathy brought to our world?
Has revolution ever arisen from the actions of the complacent?
As women, we are brought into this world and presented a mold.
This is what “woman” should look like.
We are told to fit into it.
Pretty pink dresses, dainty satin bows, lacy bonnets- all adorned from the very day we are born.
“Oh how pretty she will look!” they gush.
But what is left for likes of me?
I, who has never looked good in pink, and who breaks out in hives when I wear lace?
I stand on the outside looking in.
I’ve never been good at passivity.
I am fueled by a fire within me that pushes me to go bigger, bolder, better.
I am a mold-breaker.
Am I fierce?
Do I display “intense or ferocious aggressiveness.”
You’re god damned right I do.
I live my life with fervor, with zeal and with intensity. I don’t know any other way of living.
I am FIERCELY loving to my husband, the perfect compliment to my whole, the ying to my yang, my fairy-tale prince, my happily ever after.
I FIERCELY adore my Samuel, my tiny angel, my morning star, my proof of God.
I am FIERCELY loyal to my friends, who have held my hand through darkness and shown me the lightness of hope.
I am FIERCELY dedicated to my cause: to promote justice, love, compassion and empathy in a world that has forgotten how to connect.
I am FIERCELY committed to my work. I empower others to believe in themselves, to turn their passions into visions, and their dreams into reality.
I am FIERCELY proud of my culture, of my community, of my country. I take the time to inform myself, participate in the democratic process, live my bilingual culture, and respect the sacrifices of those who have given their lives for my freedom.
And I am a survivor.
I FIERCELY fought a disease that ravaged my body, poisoned my spirit, and wanted to leave me for dead.
I am scarred, but I am alive.
And so I FIERCELY embrace life, with the sort of passion and drive that sometimes leaves me trembling.
I devour every experience, every opportunity, every mistake with the starving voraciousness of one who has come to terms with her mortality.
I cannot live as if I were dying. I’ve lived that way before. It leads to only to death.
Now I live like I am living.
Unashamed. Unrepentant. Unrelenting.
Living, quite simply because death is not an option.
So tonight, as I stand among women, all of whom are changing their worlds one day at a time, I will smile to myself as the “winners” are announced.
Not one of us needs an award. We have all already won.
We live, authentically and intensely.
We inspire. We empower. We engage.
We break the molds and recast them in our image.
We are the FIERCE.
Many congratulations to my fellows nominees, all of whom can be found here: