“You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all that you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality.”--Florida Scott Maxwell, playwright, women's suffragette, Jungian psychologist
I'm working in my acting class on ferocity. At first, it was incredibly uncomfortable to live in the fierce body. I felt myself lifting out of myself or "checking out" continually, letting the scenes meander and grow dull. Or, when the scene was over, I'd feel relieved and if my acting coach asked to try a bit of it again, it was as if my consciousness had left the building. Once he had to ask me three times to re-enter the scene.
Afraid of my own fierceness in my day to day life, and the damage it might do to others and then to myself through backlash or remorse, I've overcompensated by staying weak and moving into a default position of victim. Certainly, bad things have happened to me, but not everyone who experiences hard luck or betrayal responds with weakness. Some use these trials to strengthen themselves. Some fight back. I admire these people, even if it wasn't, I suppose, the woman I'd been raised into.
However, with practice, I'm starting to quite enjoy the physical experience of ferocity. I can scream and swear, go on the attack, but I can also stand up straight, with a fire running up through my body, grounded from a place down at the core of the Earth, and look at my scene partner or towards the audience while I'm listening and responding to the situation of the scene.
As Maxwell suggests above, the only response to fully accepting and owning the events of one's life, is fierceness. Not one person can live in the reality of existing in a human body without understanding that we are each survivors--from the violent entrance into the world from the comfort of our mothers' wombs, to the first time we understand our fathers aren't God, to our first heartbreak, our body, mind, emotions, and spirit are shaken down again and again. It is the animal in us that wants to continue even as our feeling beings are beaten up by a hard-edged world. The deer in us gallops on beyond our grief, the bird in us soars above the smallness of our problems, the turtle in us trudges forward in the face of health crisis. There's a solid center inside me that will not give up, that will not give in, that will muster and nurture ferocity, and mix it with the relief of stepping into even the hardness of reality and the joy of living on this small planet just another day.
Every day, I face the sun--an enormous fire and force--and I am not afraid.