Oh tell me, won’t you please tell me,
Just how am I supposed to tell the difference
‘Tween the Heroes and the Villains,
Between the Demons and the Angels,
Between the ones who want too much and don’t mind taking,
And the ones who only want what’s being freely given?
Can you give me some trick? Some easy litmus test?
‘Cause you say I should be nice, you say I should take an awkward gent under my wing,
To give the benefit of the doubt, do some teaching, “How else are we to learn?” you ask…
But now it seems to me that the risk is all on me, and all too often,
That line between the Hero and the Monster, is not as clear as you would like it to be.
It seems to me, more and more, that the line between the good guys and the bad guys is a whole lot fuzzier than you’d like to think.
It seems to me that it’s all mixed-up and everyone is a bit of both…
the Hero and the Villain inside of them,
And it’s mighty hard to tell which one a person’s being more on any given day.
But here’s the thing: if we keep giving you the benefit of the doubt, if we keep being nice, then you’ll really never learn.
‘Cause you learn by knowing when you’ve fucked-up.
And all too often, you don’t even realize that you’re takin’. Takin’ Liberties.
You’ve been trained in confidence, assertiveness, trained to ask out loud for the things you want,
And I’ve been trained in, niceness, politeness, sweet and accommodating lady-like-ness…
So often as not, you trespass and you never even know it,
Cause someone stole my voice. Someone told me that “not hurting your feelings”
Was more important than my safety, my autonomy, my right to only be touched if and when I invite it.
So many trespasses, so many swallowed offenses.
After a while, it begins to make a person sick, this taking responsibility for other people’s feelings…
After a while, a person begins to feel quite ragged.
But I keep trying, think I’ve found someone who knows,
Then he’ll make an honest mistake, a small mis-step
He hasn’t been hurt enough times in the same way as me so he doesn’t know that his confident strides, hell even his tentative overtures, are trampling on my old wounds.
I know his intentions are good.
Nearly everyone’s intentions are good, from their perspective.
And I know he has his own wounds… I know he has his own minefields.
But giving him the benefit of the doubt is the easy way out.
Means nobody learns nothing.
Still leaves me with trampled wounds and broken fences.
Still leaves him stumbling in the dark without a guide.
Because someone stole my voice.
Someone stole the oomph outta my punches,
And my partners don’t even know when they’re hurting me
‘Till it’s faaar too late and the barn is on fire!
And so I retreat.
Need to do some healing.
Can’t play the game till I find my stolen voice,
Till I mend these broken wings, this broken heart.
I’ll learn to fly again, find my voice and my freedom.
I’ll grow talons, claws, and fangs and I’ll leave them fences behind.
I’ll re-become the wild animal lives in my soul,
I’ll howl at the moon, sing to the dawn,
I’ll be fierce and dangerous: don’t get too close if I don’t know you,
Cause my claws are sharp and I’m still learning how to use them.
A wild animal is dangerous and fierce, and remains so even once it is your friend.
You court a wild animal with sincerity, consistency, and presence.
You court a wild animal with listening, deep deep listening.
Because, in the end, that work of knowing…
Knowing the difference ‘tween the ones who want too much,
And the ones who only want what’s being freely given…
That’s YOUR work, t’know your self.
My work is to stop pulling my punches.
I am finding my lost voice, and I am healing.
That’s how I learn to be wild animal.
By listening ever so carefully to my heart’s voice,
And listening ever so carefully to everything goes on around me.
So that when I meet another wild soul,
We may recognize each other.