Fierce Friday | Becky Thieman

What makes you a L I O N?

@beckythieman: “I’m not a lion in the most obvious sense of the word. I am strong, especially emotionally – I think you have to be in the social work field – but I am sensitive too. I love to love and I do it fiercely. However, this means I hurt fiercely as well. Loving means you accept both the good and the bad in humans. In my line of work I see a lot of the latter. However, I embrace this life with optimism and, despite the bad, I really do believe every person I encounter teaches me something new about the world and myself. Like a lion, I do not quit, especially on people. But I’ve also had to learn how to let people go, even if it goes against my instinct to help and protect. To be honest, though, I identify more with water. There’s a Margaret Atwood quote that resonates with me. It’s about how water can hold you. Calm you. Heal you. However, water can also tear down anything in its path. It is patient but it is fierce. It is a multifaceted element. I like to think I’m a little bit like that too. Maybe I’m really part lion and part sea. A sea lion!

P.S. Here’s the quote because I feel like you would love it as much as I do:

‘Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.’
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad”

What makes you H U M B L E?

@beckythieman: “All that anyone really has are their stories. Think about that for a second. Humans, with our physical bodies and our education and our religion and our stuff, at the end of the day all we have are the experiences that have shaped every aspect of what it means to say “I am “blank.” That’s incredible. On a certain level, we’re all just floating around trying to be understood. But we don’t listen to each other anymore. I want to hear what people are trying to say, whether through their words or actions. I want people to hear me. It’s so humbling to strip people down to that basic thing. We are our stories and that’s it. Now take that attitude and apply it to culture, religion, socio-economic status, etc. and you’ll realize how similar we all are. This world is full of untold, forgotten and ignored stories, but these are the very things that connect us and show us that we are better than no one. We all have the right to exist and survive simply by being born. Hearing another person’s story…that’s an intensely humbling thing if you bother to truly and completely listen.”

Do you ever read or hear someone’s words and feel like your soul just cried out through their voice? I knew @beckythieman would be a shining example of my vision of a Humble Lion (or Sea Lion!), but her words touched me far greater than I could’ve imagined. It’s as if she found a way to perfectly articulate what my restless mind (what I so affectionately refer to as my “hamster wheel”) has been fighting to put into words for longer than I could say.

She was right, the Margaret Atwood quote is definitely a new favorite. I’ve read it time and time again since she sent it to me. @beckythieman, thank you for being such a light in this world. Thank you for loving and feeling so deeply and genuinely, and thank you for using your gifts to enhance the lives of so many. You are a blessing — a beautiful, powerful blessing.

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