The Pink Lioness
"Let us rise in the moral power of womanhood; and give utterance to the voice of outraged mercy, and insulted justice, and eternal truth, and mighty love, and holy freedom." -Maria Weston Chapman
I once despised the color pink, trampled anything labeled 'girly' with unforgiving black until my feminine side was washed in darkness. The day my body began to shift and the innocence of childhood melted away, I became uncomfortably aware of the male gaze piercing the backs of my legs, sweeping my broadening chest, gnawing on my widening hips like starved dogs. So I clipped my hair to the scalp and changed my appearance to look more like them and less like me. On that day, my wings were clipped too. I left them on the side of the road, torn and bloody, oozing with the desire to be accepted for all of their soft, gentle beauty, all their delicacy, all their wild strength. But they were pink, and where the world spotted pink, the world spotted weakness. I ran from pink and dove into black. The parts of me they told were too boyish, too wild, not pretty enough, not good enough, grew fangs and talons and attacked anyone who came just a little too close. The gossamer of my existence morphed into glass spears and drilled holes in every road I tread. The violence and aggression I despised, I became. I grew battered walls to protect myself from battered masculinity. I threw away the woman in me and got lost inside a monster no human soul was ever meant to see—the illusion of power. The loneliness of invulnerability. The lioness inside my soul grew a protective mane and disguised herself as a ferocious lion. And then, the stars intervened.
Beneath the swollen belly of a full moon, my tough and calloused skin cracked and fell away as a little seed planted itself in the soil of my womb. A tiny lion cub sprouted beneath my rotting sinew and spread pink petals across its blackened surface. They called it an unplanned pregnancy. I called it a sacred gift from the Universe herself. I once again watched as my body changed. My belly grew full and round and my hips arched into a doorway the little soul inside me would one day pass through. The body I had grown to detest was becoming a beautiful vessel between this life and the next. Suddenly, I understood how divine and magical my womanhood really was. I surrendered my weapons, stripped the color of dried blood and muddy misconception from the pink in my veins, and finally, crawled my way back to the wings I'd so carelessly thrown away. And as I sewed them back into place, stitch by stitch, the aggression and masculinity clinging to my mane fell away, leaving a very soft, very delicate, very pink lioness.
She roared with confidence, strength rippling through her muscles the day her lion cub plunged its way out of her and into the world. Her flesh glistened with sweat, tiny droplets of holy femininity, and I knew in that moment I would never again try to tame the wild woman in me. Because she is powerful. She is soft. She is the embodiment of creation. She is unbreakably delicate. And now, she can fully embrace the beauty and strength of the color pink.