“And though she be but little, she is fierce….”
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (III.ii.335)
A colleague and friend of mine posted this quote in her Facebook status, and I couldn’t resist writing about it today. It fits my situation as well as that of my friend, since both of us are petite and feisty. I only stand at an even five feet, but, being a good Southern woman, my hair makes up for that (at least on a good day). And I hope my personality is even bigger than my hopefully voluminous curls.
One thing that I think contributes to my fierceness in my independence. My grandfather always told me to think for myself and never let anyone hamstring my mind. I’ve tried to take those words to heart, and as a result, I can be very stubborn when I state my beliefs, stand my ground, or occasionally draw a line in the sand. I tend to see the world in the stark contrast of black and white–my world contains very little gray–and that’s the way I like it, so changing my mind can be a difficult task to accomplish.
A pleasant side effect is that I’m good at accomplishing what I set my mind to. Nothing makes me happier than making a plan, following through, and seeing the ultimate goal become a reality. I’m a list girl, and I delight in checking things off, and it irritates me when circumstances stand in the way of that. For example, I’ve been trying for the past three years to get into an English PhD program, and have either been rejected by or unable to fund going to the universities I’ve applied for. Still, I enjoy being able to live in this city with plenty of friends and places to shop, and I like having a bit of free time to blog or work on my novels when I’m not teaching or doing freelance copy-editing and formatting, and I most certainly wouldn’t be able to do those things while studying for a PhD, which brings me to the final aspect that constitutes my ferocity: unfailing optimism.
Those who know me personally have often referred to me as a “Pollyanna,” which some would view in a negative context, but I don’t. I like being happy and content more than I like being sad and discontent, so I work at finding reasons to make me feel better when I’m down. Earlier this summer, a friend of mine, who always seems to evoke very interesting philosophical conversations, came to visit me and asked me how I felt about my life–whether I would consider it hellish at times. I knew she expected me to say: “Yes, sometimes life is Hell,” but I couldn’t because I don’t believe that. Sure, there are things I wish for that I don’t have, things I want to do but cannot, places I long to visit and have not yet seen, but I could have things much, much worse than I do. I could be jobless instead of working full-time and having two part-time jobs on the side. I could be starving instead of being three inches too large to fit into the lovely red Gatsby-reminiscent dress I wore to my senior prom just over a decade ago. I could look ten years older than I do instead of being oft mistaken for the freshmen I teach. But I’m none of those things. What I am is a small but fierce, and I’m more than a little okay with that.