Piss and Vinegar

by Therese Plummer

The story goes, as told by my momma bear, that by the time she gave birth to me she was beyond exhausted. I was the fifth kid she had in six years.

Irish twins?

Fertile Myrtle?

Irish Catholic.

Enough said.

She said she was trying so hard to push me out but her stomach muscles were no mas and the nurse came from behind and wrapped her arms around my mothers stomache and was trying to help push me out. Momma says that pain was greater than the contractions so she punched the nurse clear across the room. And moments later, I was born. Mom passed out and when she woke up in her room later Dad came in and said, “oh boy this one is full of piss and vinegar!” And then mom cried cause she didn’t want anyone calling her baby piss and vinegar.

i feel like there has been a fire in my belly since the day i was born.


a pulse that is on 100 if you can handle me turning it up that high.

Mom had me on July 31, 1976. I am a Leo. a cub that would grow into a full fledged Lioness.

I am also the fifth kid of eight children. The sister of three other sisters and four brothers. And what i know about myself from the earliest memory:





But not in the real definition of fight. I love to wrastle and box and scrap and play fight. It is in my nature. It is fun. it gives me fuel and energy and life. The problem is that it ususally turns into one of those “real” fights with people and i end up alone. I have heard my whole life:

Calm Down!


Why are you so amped up?!

Be a Lady!

Rocky I through IV and Creed are in my top ten movies. I used to run to the soundtrack of each movie watching Rocky in my head tackle the steps in Philadelphia, or the mountain in Russia and i would channel the energy to finish my workout.

Boys i date don’t want to wrestle. They dont want to spar and dance with me and i usually wake up alone. They love my fire in the beginning. Are mesmerized by my electricity but then it becomes obvious that I am a lion and want to wrestle at times and most are like: “girl you gots to go.” or “Rude!” or “i don’t want your drama!”

I asked a therapist once: Am i a dude cause i like to wrestle and fight? and she said “you are on fire. Don’t box yourself into a label. you are very much a girl.”

Girls are able to be on fire and fiery and feisty and amazing. Society has pinned us the pretty dolls and boys have gone along with it. Well when i played Kate in Taming of the Shrew alongside my Dad who, ironically, played my Dad in the show, I finally had a role i could sink my teeth into. And yet i was a SHREW. Playing Regan in King Lear i also got to sink my teeth into a meaty and electric femal character and of course i was the EVIL SISTER. Shakespeare had his senses honed but was stereotyping us like everyone else. I am not Ophelia, Juliet, or Rosalind. I am Regan and Kate and the evil stepmother.

I played Juliet in college. It was boring.

As i have gotten older I listened to societies messages about my fire and I have tried to take their suggestions:

I have taken kickboxing classes and dance classes and now yoga and prozac and therapy trying to calm the fuck down but that fire wants to come out and play.

and you know what?

I am pretty sure this is part of who I am.

I am a lion.

I love to playfully spar and scrap and fight. I am not sure what this makes me in this world of labels and stereotypes but i love this part of myself and if i can learn the artful way to play and not hurt peoples feelings or chase them away, i will be sure to take notes and let ya’ll know. You know, if there is another Lion out there in the same sitch. In the meantime i am gonna embrace my piss and vingar and a day at a time go conquer the mutha flipping world!

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