…Or so they say about the month of March. Similar to the movement of a runaway freight train barreling out of control, time has apparently escaped my grasp at lightning speed again. Arriving at the first of the month today, stunned as I may be, the weather has adopted a compliant role in playing along with this saying thus far, giving me reason to believe that we aren’t still smack-dab in the middle of January, even if my brain seems to think that makes more sense. Intermittently warming and freezing, raining and snowing, the outdoor conditions have been truly ferocious, just as the big cat it is typically compared to at this juncture. While I would usually question the validity of the phrase itself, sighting discrepancies in the month itself, my first thought in this case was of what a terrible stereotype it forces lions to conform to! Sure, in the wild, they may be an intimidating force to reckon with come dinner time, but I hate making blanket statements, no matter the group or the label. In fact, just the other day, I happened to meet a lion who was anything but a fearsome foe.
Sporting comfortable pajamas and wearing a placid, benevolent expression, we chatted for a bit about the grave injustice done to his species by condemning them to always act as heartless killers. Studies show that self-fulfilling prophecies are much more common than we’d like to think, as even kids in high school have been proven to live up [or down] to expectations, depending on what they’re raised to believe. Given no excuses for failure, they will pull in good grades because they know they’re supposed to; Praised for attempts and told that their C’s and D’s just fine, they won’t ever try for better. We always conform based on other people’s perceptions and presumptions, whether we like to admit to it or not. It’s easy to, it makes sense, and don’t you know? -Everybody’s doing it. Isn’t society just screwed or what?
Well, such a basic conversation about the weather sure did fly completely out the window in no time. With so much to think about, I think my new friend was feeling a bit overwhelmed, moving away from the calendar he had been dutifully filling in with the new month’s activities with a far-off look in his eyes. Hoping that I hadn’t hurt his feelings, gathering that he was a fairly sensitive soul indeed, I asked to make sure he would be okay and offered him a minute to lay down a mull it all over a bit. Nodding slowly and sinking down to the ground, I wasn’t entirely convinced, but left him alone to think for a few minutes.
After a moment of anxiety on my part, having never intended to offend, he was on his feet again and looking calm and collected like before. Undoubtedly, anyone would be disturbed thinking that they were doomed to be stuffed into cookie cutters that obviously did not fit their personalities, but it was harder knowing that his whole family was out there living out this schema that we humans had built based on prejudice. Luckily, gentle as a fawn, he was also a strong guy, determined to be a role model for nonviolence for lions. I wish him the best of luck; it’s not any easy aspiration, to say the least.
…Any who, let’s hope March sees that it needn’t be a pitiless and brutal month just as the lion leading it in has decided.