My entire life, I have been the leopard-skin-swathed bugger on the right – taking to my heels and fleeing as fast as I can from the merest whiff of sabre-toothed tiger and/or woolly mammoth. I can go from nought to a hundred in under a second – well-known for it! – and, were there to be such a thing, would easily attain Olympic Gold in the Fleeing from Enemy (known or unknown) event.
But my inner pugilist has now donned her boxing gloves and is fighting a spirited rearguard action to assert herself and lay about her with tooth, claw, stick and stentorian roar.
I am fighting. Oh, yes! I am prepared to get the punches in first, to win on points, to show aggression rather than timidity; to scream and screech and shatter eardrums in fearless rage, rather than absconding from the scene of confrontation.
Instead of, ‘There she goes: A scared victim!’ I am going to inspire more of a, ‘Christ, here she comes – and she is fierce, formidable and fleet of foot as she presses her advantage!’ type of response.
The only ‘flee’ I am prepared to admit into my life is the little fucker which, spelled differently, causes such itching and redness when it marches on covert operations towards, and into, human crevices – and that tolerance will only last the fraction of a second it takes me to locate the sickeningly sleazy and shitty siphonaptera and squash it between my specially-sharpened talons.
I have run away long enough. I have fled ephemera – ghosties and ghoulies and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night – but they don’t frighten me any longer because they are not real. I have fled from fear itself.
Now? I challenge. I stand firm. I look monsters in the eye and, if necessary, throw down the gauntlet and invite them to duel at dawn.
I am the snarling caveman on the right, ready to defend – and attack!