We Aren’t Expendable Pawns: Sometimes We Have to Tap into Our Inner Bitch with a Bad Attitude


I suck at chess.  I’m not a fan of Machiavelli either.  He’s the dude narcissistic assholes look to for guidance on how to be an even bigger jerk. 

I practiced law for almost a year before I realized it was a poor career choice for someone who hates to fight. 

But, sometimes we have to fight, or we’ll die. 

Earl Richards, a Canadian domestic violence advocate, is a prince of a man.  He gave me the idea for this post in one of his many thoughtful and supportive comments. 

We Aren’t Expendable Pawns in Somebody Else’s High-Stakes Games 

A pawn is cannon fodder for kings and queens.  It is the most expendable piece in a game of chess. 

Abused children are frequently conditioned by their abusive parents to become expendable pawns.  We are taught that our lot in life is to serve the pleasure of our masters ~ narcissists who have crowned themselves king or queen. 

We are taught ~ through harsh consequences ~ that we don’t dare challenge the authority of these illusory potentates.  When we are kids, we don’t have much choice but to go along with this program.  As adults, it can be risky business to take on an abusive boss or an abusive pit bull spouse or lover.  There’s old wisdom that says if we take on the king, we better be prepared to kill him. 

Yes, sometimes David whips Goliath’s ass.  But, most of the time Goliath stomps David into the ground.  

We All Have a Queen Residing Inside Our Heart and Soul


How does a pawn morph into a queen?  It’s all about attitude.

Even the most powerful king sooner or later discovers it doesn’t take much to reduce “important” to “impotent.”  The root in “potentate,” “important,” “impotent,” and “potential” is “potent” which means powerful. 

We have this destructive myth in our culture that men are strong and powerful, and women are weak and need to be protected.  I think it is profoundly sad that most men and women don’t figure out the fallacy of this myth until it is too late for the relationship ~ around age 50.  This is the age that most men experience impotence and realize how much they need the women in their lives.  Sadly, by this time, most women are fed up with his nonsense and no longer care that he’s finally found his softer side. 

Real power resides in love rather than fear.  This is the power of our inner queens. . .whether we are male or female. . .gay or straight. 


We All Have the Potential to Be Powerful Queens 

Russian chess queen Alexandra Kosteniuk has mastered the art of strategic moves.  She’s beaten the men at their own game.  You can see the confidence and determination in her face.  She’s the reigning queen because she has fully developed her potential. 


Earl’s comment today reminded me that we all have the potential inside ourselves to be queens and make a difference.  It takes a powerful dream, learning valuable skills, perseverance, patience, and practice.  Some of our opponents may not play fair.  But, we will win in the end if we play the game according to our own rules.

I think the essential difference between a pawn and a queen is that  a queen knows in her heart and soul that she deserve to create her own game of life.  She crafts a winning strategy which she artfully adjusts to stay one step ahead of her opponent.

We have to exercise our potential to experience our full power.  If we don’t, we will become expendable pawns.

Adversity forces us to become resourceful and to advocate for ourselves.  It forces us to discover our potential.  We all have it inside ourselves.

“Bitch with a Bad Attitude” 

Saffire:  The Uppity Blues Women have a raucus tune, “Bitch with a Bad Attitude” that seems to automatically play in my head when I face adversity.  Like many of you, I was conditioned to be a good girl. . .to play by other people’s rules.  It has taken me a long time to develop the audacity to assert my right to live my life by my rules. . .to be a bitch with a bad attitude. . .to “kick ass and take names.”  The first time I got really assertive on my own behalf, I think I shocked the hell out of a lot of people. 

Some people, of course, didn’t like the new me and exited stage left.  It didn’t take me long to realize I was better off without them.  Their absence in my life allowed me to develop more supportive relationships with people who believe in me and support my dreams.  Now, folks laugh when I say, “There’s Lightning in These Thunder Thighs” ~ that’s another tune on the Old, New, Borrowed & Blue album.  They love my new Mae West attitude:  when I’m good, I’m very, very good.  When I’m bad, I’m betta!

It helps that a neighbor has a bumper sticker that spins the definition of the word “bitch.”  I forget the details, but I think each of us can create our own.  Here’s mine: 






How do you spell “bitch?”  How and when are you a bitch with a bad attitude?

7 responses to “We Aren’t Expendable Pawns: Sometimes We Have to Tap into Our Inner Bitch with a Bad Attitude

  1. I have a remarkably good relaionship and love my wife dearly as she responds equally. We learned long ago to share our dreams and respect the strengths and to value privacy at times. Never go bed angry or have bitterness toward those and things we cannot change. And it is important to serve and to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, few as they are.

  2. Kindred Spirit,

    I’ve always believed there is nothing more attractive than a man in love with his wife!

    Since you are a chess master, do you have any advice on how playing chess might help my visitors navigate life?

    Me thinks you probably have a VERY happy marriage, eh? Thanks for giving me a glimpse into the heart and mind of a true gentleman. . .it is good to know y’all are out there.

    You give women like me hope that somewhere out there is your brother or best friend or a gentleman with your sensitivity who might be available and ready for a loving, healthy, respectful relationship. I’m not remotely ready to fall in love again, but I can still dream.

    You’ve made my day and given me hope! Thanks so much for your comment.

    Anne Caroline

  3. Hello Caroline:

    I have read this article thoroughly, and there is nothing in it, that “clicks” with me. It appears to be written for women.


  4. Thanks, Earl. You are the second guy to tell me this.

    As I reflect on it, I think it is a very good sign that it didn’t “click” for you. And, I think you are correct. Women who have experienced abuse need to read this more than the men who faithfully support us. Y’all figured this out a long time ago, but this is something that many of us ~ including me ~ need to learn and internalize.

    I know it intellectually, but I don’t always act on it. . .sometimes my conditioning kicks back in.

    So, I want to thank you again for inspiring me to write the post. It has been quite helpful for me this weekend.

    Sending hugs,

  5. I LOVED this!! I’ve started ‘being the bitch’ so to speak sticking up for myself, and people are pretty shocked when I do put my foot down. I’m the girl I guess everyone knows they can walk all over and use me for anything and everything – thankfully through therapy I’ve started to put my foot down! 🙂

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