I spent three years in New Haven, Connecticut for Graduate School. While some parts of the campus looked like they were right out of a Harry Potter set, the rest of the town could be pretty dicey. During Orientation the school suggested the women (yes, the women) take a Self-Defense Course… Not exactly the warm and fuzzy welcome I had in mind. I did, however, heed their advice and I am pretty damn glad I did.

One evening after rehearsal I was walking home around 1am. Late night rehearsals were so common that the school demanded we call campus security for escorts home, but it was late… I didn’t want to wait… blah, blah, blah. So I started down the street, knowing that I had a mere two blocks before I was safely stashed in my apartment. The street was dark. No one was around. I knew it was a bad idea. But there I was, praying that nothing would happen.

Sure enough, I noticed a man coming toward me on the opposite side of the road. I said to myself, “Oh Jeez… if he crosses the street, I’m in trouble.”

As if he read my mind, the guy made a beeline for me. BAM. I remembered what I was taught. Be a Lion not a Lamb.

Chest up, footsteps firm and measured, I headed right toward him. In a loud voice with my finger pointed directly at him, I moved into the center of the street, and declared, “Hey. How ya doin’ tonight? I see you’re wearing a blue baseball hat, jeans, a red shirt…You look about 6 feet tall and you have a black backpack…” (Throughout my rant, I kept my finger pointed with an out-stretched arm between him and me, as I quickly moved past him, towards my apartment). Looking somewhat confused, he backed off, sensing I was not to be messed with, either because I was crazy or that I would be able to recall exactly what he looked like. He was looking for a lamb and I made him understand I was a lion. No one wants to mess with a lion.

I got home. But I had learned my lesson. Do not walk home alone. Do not put yourself in vulnerable places, but more importantly, do not be a lamb.

Lions command respect. They are comfortable in their own skin and take pride as they navigate their way in the wild. They use their energy wisely and are keenly in tune with their environment. They are bold. They are breathtakingly powerful and magical… all at the same time.

On the flip side, when you walk around this world with an imaginary target on your back, the world sends arrows. Life’s too short to be a target…and lions have more fun.


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