Saturday, April 28, 2018

New Year, Same Me

This is me, being 29.



There was only one aspect of my birthday I obsessively planned. No, it wasn't presents or dinner or an activity or anything that would fill my day with wonder.* For months, I mentally prepared my birthday breakfast. Trader Joe's chocolate croissants. I'd eyed their promised gooey chocolate filling and flaky crusts for months. Several times I'd almost bought them on impulse, but the overnight proofing process always thrust me back to sensibility.

But aren't birthdays made to shake off the sensible?

So I held off on the purchase, promising that a boring Tuesday birthday would at least be blessed with pastry. So I waited. Then bought. Then ate. And it was OK. Not the most incredible thing I've eaten, but perfectly satisfactory.

Source

Sometimes, I feel like that's life as I get older. It's not a non-stop adventure. A lot of things I pictured as I agedbeing a respected artist, or a leader in a community, or a voice people listen toare yet to happen. My life at this moment is not incredible. It's not a croissant from the corner bakery in Paris. My life is a perfectly satisfactory Trader Joe's chocolate croissant, a fine experience with shots of hot-melted sweetness.

Listening to a forever favorite as my first song of the year, then starting a playlist of all my signature songs? Sweetness.

Driving over Lake Washington into the blaze of the rising sun? Sweetness.

The students who brought me gifts and handmade posters, all of their own volition? Sweetness.

Taylor remembering the concert I'd told him about months ago and getting tickets? Sweetness.

Seattle deciding to be summer for a week, gifting me with sun, and 80° temperatures, and a chance to take a walk/longboard with my husband and kid in the evening? Ultimate sweetness.

I'll take 29. I'll savor it. Maybe I'll plan for incrementally more. Next year, I'll plan breakfast and lunch. And with those expectations, as with the rest of my existence, I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

28. 27. 26. 25.

*In fact, I didn't plan anything to do on the day. Taylor kept asking me what I wanted for dinner, and I had no clue. People would ask me what I was doing to celebrate, and I'd shrug. For the most part, this was an unplanned event. Which kind of worked. Honestly, I do think the key to a happy life is low expectations.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

2017: On the Screen

Total Movies Watched: 68. Yep. Lowest amount in years. Well. Then.

Honestly, I'm OK with the reduced number this year. Because I saw less, I truly valued and was discerning with the movies I did watch. I think I viewed some beautiful films this year.

With the exception of The Accountant. That movie was AWFUL. But everything else was at least on a scale from exceptional to slightly disappointing.




Favorite Movies Released in 2017:
-Logan. This might be the very top of my list. A beautiful, sad, thoughtful movie.
-LEGO Batman
-Baby Driver. I didn't think I'd be able to even watch Ansel Elgort, let alone be charmed by him. Yet there I was! I credit the musicality of the film with 87% of that.
-The Big Sick
-Wonder Woman. I cried.
-Lady Bird
-The Shape of Water. Brought up all those floaty, lovely feelings. Slightly reminiscent of the sweet nostalgia of Amelie, but with that monster movie twist. Loved it.

Movies I Watched By Myself in Theaters: 
-Lion
-The Big Sick
-Blade Runner 2049
-Lady Bird
-The Shape of Water

Animated Movies that are Gorgeous and Beautiful and Everyone Should See:
-Kubo and the Two Strings. Stunning modeling. I want to frame so many stills.
-Moana. I cried. Yep.
-Song of the Sea

Movies I Watched for Halloween:
-The Cell. I'd never seen it before, and it was visually remarkable and incredibly disturbing. Also, aren't we glad that Hollywood didn't stay on the Vince Vaughn as a marketable serious star?
-Okja. Further proof that I always enjoy Paul Dano.
-Dracula (1931). I'd never seen it before, and it's gorgeous.
-The Witches of Eastwick. Meh. Although, Cher is magnetic. I think I may be a fan of her as a movie star, based on the two movies I've seen.

Movies Sticking With Me:
-Hidden Figures. Strong women doing amazing things? Sign me up.
-10 Cloverfield Lane. I don't know why Abrams and Co. are tenuously connecting these movies together with the events of Cloverfield, and I don't know if I support it. But I do believe that this is one of the more intense kidnap thrillers I've seen.
-Get Out. I'm standing behind everything said and written about it. You go, Jordan Peele.
-Captain Fantastic. I didn't love the movie, but it was thought-provoking. Shows how misguided some otherwise admirable qualities can be.
-Split. James McAvoy is a wonder (obligatory remember when I met him mention). I'm also surprisingly OK with the story continuation hinted at towards the end.

Clint Eastwood Movies:
-Play Misty for Me. Sneaking it in right before the end of the year.

THE COMPLETE LIST:
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • Labyrinth
  • Hidden Figures
  • Burn After Reading
  • Dope
  • Lion
  • LEGO Batman (x2)
  • Singing in the Rain
  • John Wick: Chapter Two
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Logan (x3)
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • Magic Mike
  • Captain Fantastic
  • Deconstructing the Beatles Revolver
  • Up in the Air
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • A History of Violence
  • The Aquatic Life of Steve Zissou
  • Alien: Covenant
  • LEGO Batman
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Atlantis: the Lost Empire
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • The Godfather, pt. 1
  • Wonder Woman
  • Moana
  • Baby Driver
  • Moonlight
  • Tropic Thunder
  • The African Queen
  • Bronson
  • Song of the Sea
  • The Big Sick
  • An American Werewolf in London
  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week
  • The Road to El Dorado
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Dunkirk
  • Tour de Pharmacy
  • Speed
  • The Incredible Jessica James
  • The Nice Guys
  • St. Elmo's Fire
  • Finding Dory
  • The Cell
  • La La Land
  • Trolls
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Okja
  • Dracula (1931)
  • The Witches of Eastwick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis
  • Queen of Versailles
  • Split
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • The Accountant
  • A Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
  • Play Misty For Me
  • The Shape of Water
  • The Raid: Redemption

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Years in the Rearview

I haven't done a year in review since 2014.

OK, let's speed round this thing.

2015: The year of getting back on my feet.
Victorious!


Yes, it took the entire year. But although nine of the twelve months were spent with no steady paycheck and about 20 dollars in the bank, I loved 2015. I loved graduating with my Masters in journalism, an experience that filled me with unanticipated pride and excitement. I loved my internship at City Arts and having time to exercise. I loved seeing theatre and busing around and listening to podcasts while doing data entry. I loved interviewing people in crazy locations (like the roof of city hall!) and sizing up classrooms around Bellevue and Issaquah. It was a warm year in Seattle, with an insanely hot and dry summer, and I felt like the entire city was gifting me health and happiness after the mindwarp of Boston.

2016: The year of the incubator.

Man, pregnancy ravaged my appearance.
Pictures from 2016 hit that home.
This year is mostly a blur. That might have something to do with the whole "growing a human being" part of the year. I found out I was pregnant the first week of December 2015, and gave birth the first week of August 2016. So much of my year was spent with my pregnancyand my desperate attempts to not think about my pregnancy, since I wasn't totally comfortable with it as a conceptforefront in my mind. In that sense, although it was arguably my most productive year, it was also one where I was not myself. I wasn't in control of my timeline, or my actions, or even my own body (which in retrospect, felt like and was constantly betraying me). I went to work, and sat, and grew something. Something that was gorgeous and completely worth it, but even after having Alex, 2016 was spent adjusting to this new role. I had very little control over this year. It feels like the slightest blip. I imagine it will seem even more minuscule further into the future.

2017: The year of settled
Feeling good.


Finally. This year, it seemed to all click. It was the first time in a decade I'd lived in the same apartment for over a year. It was the first time since 2010 I'd had a job for more than a year. As Alex crossed over into her second year of life, I realized that I knew what it was like to be a mother and to have a family unit. As a teacher, I was able to start a second year teaching the same curriculum and realized hey, maybe I don't suck as a teacher. I still...don't...really...love it, but it's becoming comfortable and I can say with confidence that I'm decently effective.

I feel like I have a grasp on the day-to-day act of living instead of constantly waiting. Waiting for a job. Waiting for financial stability. Waiting for a kid. Waiting for the next big thing. Now, I'm not waiting for life to begin. I'm just living, which is a lovely place to be. Coasting in the current is infinitely preferred to swimming against it.

2018: The year of future hopes

Bring it on, 2018.
Now that I'm all "settled," there's no need to rest on any laurels. That was 2017. I had that year. Now I can push for more, as always. I have hopes for the future, not in a "I wish I was there already and can't wait for that to happen" way, but in a "let's start doing the things I want for the future" way. Taylor and I started an exercise habit last year, which has been shockingly wonderful.* I'm starting to think about the food habits I'm passing on to Alex, and becoming better friends with produce and tofu. Speaking of passing things to Alex, I want her to see her parents as whole people, people who participate in the world around them. It's rough for me to force myself out of the house. It's easy to get into work-Alex-sleep mode. But I don't want her to think that everything is work, or everything is just family. I want her to care about others, to make good friends, to actually do the things that interest her. I'm responsible for modeling that. This year, I want to start becoming the type of person I want my kid to be.

That may be the most domestic thing I've ever written/said/thought.

I'm standing by it. In the quest to be whole, in 2018 I want to:
  • Do something for myself every week, and have that thing be completely away from my family. 
  • Write. Send my writing someplace (with the hopes of getting published again this year).
  • Read half of Jesus the Christ.
  • Become a director completist. I hope to keep this every year. For now I'm starting small, and will be watching every film by Guillermo del Toro.**
  • Run a 5k.
  • Do increasing push-ups every week.
  • Learn how to do a headstand (heyyyyy, yoga).
  • Try ten recipes from the Italian cookbook I got for Christmas.
  • Go to a movie at the EMP. Fine, at the MoPOP.***
Here's to 2018, and the quest for extension outside the comfort zone. 

*I never thought I'd feel so good after working out. Ugh. It's like I'm one of those people who gets an exercise glow. I'm one step away from preaching the benefits of proper protein and form. Somebody stop me!
**I'm going to exclude films I've already seen, unless I want to watch them again. Because I have ZERO desire to see Pacific Rim again. There. I said it.
***I will never get over that name change. At least, not for another year or so.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2016: On the Screen

Remember how last year, I said that movies are a necessary boost for my mental acuity? That might explain why 2016 feels like a sludge of a year for me. At least any creative zing I felt can be attributed to these films. Heaven knows I wasn't getting that inspiration from the written word this year.

Without further ado, the stats!


Total Movies Watched: 79. Hahahahahahahaha *sob* My, what a precipitous drop-off.

Movies I Watched to Mourn David Bowie:
-Basquiat
-Labyrinth

I was going to watch The Prestige and The Hunger, but I didn't get to them. They'll have to wait for another tribute.

Movies I Watched By Myself in Theaters:
-Brooklyn. By a strange twist of chance, Taylor and I ended up on opposite sides of the country on our last childless anniversary. Taylor celebrated by eating corned beef at a Boston St. Patrick's Day party. I celebrated by dragging my 4-month pregnant self to a showing of this beautiful, swoonworthy romantic movie. There was popcorn, perhaps a few tears shed, and definite awe at this lovely film.
-Zootopia. How much solo theater crying is too much? Asking for a friend.
-The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. My last treat to myself, right before giving birth. A wise decision on my part.
-Don't Think Twice. Honestly, it was uncomfortable viewing. Improv folks seem exhausting, and that overshadowed the story and any empathy for me.

Visually Stunning Films:
-Macbeth (2015)
-The Revenant
-Brooklyn
-John Wick
-Swiss Army Man
-The World's End
-Jane Eyre (2015)*

*It's decidedI will watch anything Cary Fukunaga directs.

Movies I Watched for Halloween:
None. BOO.

Classic Movies I'd Never Seen:
-Dazed and Confused
-Dr. No
-Amadeus
-Casablanca. I know. You don't need to tell me. I know!
-The Apartment. Can you believe this was released in 1960? I can't. It's so subversive, and dark, and heartbreaking. What an amazing movie.
-Full Metal Jacket. And now I understand Vincent D'Onofrio.
-Space Jam. Again, I know. I did so much gymnastics to the soundtrack as a kid, it feels like I saw the movie. But I didn't.
-Blazing Saddles. I'll love Gene Wilder forever.
-Sunset Boulevard. Worth every accolade you can throw at it.
-The American President. Maybe not a classic, but here because it should be. This might be my favorite Sorkin property. Definitely in the top three.
-The Warriors

Favorite Movies Released in 2016:
-Deadpool
-Brooklyn
-Popstar. I'm ride or die for The Lonely Island. They are, and always will be, Ka-Blamo.
-The Hunt for the Wilderpeople
-Swiss Army Man
-La La Land

Clint Eastwood Movies:
-For a Few Dollars More
-Letters From Iwo Jima (counting it)

THE COMPLETE LIST:
  • Rumble in the Bronx
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Basquiat
  • Galaxy Quest
  • Labyrinth
  • The Martian
  • Deadpool
  • O Brother Where Art Thou?
  • The Revenant
  • No Country For Old Men
  • Dark Star: HR Giger's World
  • Aliens
  • About a Boy
  • School of Rock
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Brooklyn
  • Sliding Doors
  • Macbeth (2015)
  • Dr. No
  • Hudsucker Proxy
  • Bowfinger
  • Don Verdean
  • Amadeus
  • Casablanca
  • Letters From Iwo Jima
  • The Apartment
  • Ali Wong: Baby Cobra
  • Central Intelligence
  • Ip Man 3
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Zootopia
  • Popstar
  • The Fugitive
  • Superbad
  • Deadpool
  • Cruel Intentions
  • Lethal Weapon
  • The World's End
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Swiss Army Man
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Space Jam
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Tig
  • Love and Mercy
  • The City of Lost Children
  • The Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • The Burbs
  • Joe vs. the Volcano
  • Clear and Present Danger
  • John Wick
  • The Producers
  • Don't Think Twice
  • Strictly Ballroom
  • For A Few Dollars More
  • Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Robin Hood (1973)
  • 42
  • Godfather part II
  • American Outlaws
  • Frank
  • Blazing Saddles
  • The American President
  • The Warriors
  • Hot Rod
  • Big Eyes
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • The Crucible
  • Love, Actually
  • Creed
  • MST3K Santa Claus
  • Sausage Party
  • The Finest Hours
  • Rogue One
  • La La Land
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • In-lawfully Yours
  • Jane Eyre (2011)



Friday, December 22, 2017

2016: On the Page

(Let's not talk about it)

Wow! 2016. What a year, right?

(Not talking about it)

Definitely a huge shift in my life. I spent over half the year pregnant, and the rest of it desperately adjusting to being a mother. But now, on to 2017!

(NotTalkingAboutIt)

With the weariness from pregnancy and full-time teaching, and then the weariness from learning the ropes of child-rearing and full time teaching, my books total severely dropped this year. I'm going to tell myself that this is understandable, and pat myself on the back for reading at all. You go, Cat! Way to be!

(OK, so yes, this is what...a year late? And far past when anyone would care? But I can't post my 2017 numbers in good faith without having this up, plus the comparison aspect is deliciously satisfying, so there. Now, NOTTALKINGABOUTIT)

Have some stats.



Total Books Read: 53. 15 less than last year. What a blow. But at least I still averaged one a week.

Favorite Comics: I'm locked in to my preferred series by now, and I pretty much stuck to those this year.

-Black Science vol. 2. Heart-wrenching, but so well told.
-Saga vol. 5 and 6. I don't know how Saga is still this consistently amazing, but it is! Thank the heavens.
-American Vampires vol. 8. Granted, the internal world is starting to sprawl. But this series is still my everything.
-Lumberjanes vol. 1. A new series! And delightful to boot. I really hope I can get some of my students tuned in to this series, since it's the best of girl power. I can't decide which is my aesthetic/fashion soulmate, Jo or Mal. I'll have to keep investigating.

Super Blah Comic: Sacred Heart. Did absolutely nothing for me, and was actively irksome.

Books I Should Not Have Read At That Time: Poor Your Soul. It is an extremely well written book, but reading a memoir about a woman miscarrying her first child while I was three months pregnant? Maybe not my best idea.

Books from Best Of Lists That, to Quote Shania, "Didn't Impress-a Me Much":
This year all those best of/recommended lists let me down. Not catastrophically, mind you, just with a thud. I wish the books had been explosive failures, but they were just wet mud plopped on the sidewalk of my mind. That sound you just heard in your head? That was the feel of most of these books.

-Sunday's on the Phone to Monday. 
-Those Girls. 
-Gold Fame Citrus. 
-Without You, There is No Us. 
-Crazy Rich Asians. 
-The Hate List. 
-What Alice Forgot.

I remember nothing about Sunday's on the Phone to Mondayseriously, the plot had zero staying powerbut I did write this review right after reading it, and it almost makes me wish I remembered more. "Beautiful language that amounts to nothing. Drivel written wonderfully. Like a Seinfeld episode, but with poetry trying desperately to be prose." Wow! What a statement!

New Favorite Book: Salem's Lot. I won't try to explain the connection I feel to vampires here, but I will say that I often seek out vampire literature, and everything has paled in comparison to Dracula. Everything until now. I'm ashamed it took me so long to read Stephen King in general, but particularly that I missed this book. It terrified me. I actually couldn't sleep for multiple nights while reading, but I couldn't stop. I loved the way King encapsulates slow dread and control. The section where Mike Ryerson digs Danny Glick's grave is a master class in suspense, and I'll be pondering it for a while.

Best Reading Experience: Holding my daughter and reading Maniac Magee out loud. My favorite children's book, one of my all-time favorite books, and the first book she heard.

THE COMPLETE LIST:
  • Rainbow Valley by L. M. Montgomery
  • Those Girls by Lauren Saft
  • For the Record by Charlotte Huang
  • Poor Your Soul by Mira Ptacin
  • Black Science vol. 2: Welcome, Nowhere by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera and Dean White
  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
  • All Better Now by Emily Wing Smith
  • Saga vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Babysitters Club: Stacey McGill...Matchmaker? by Ann M. Martin
  • Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
  • Sunday's on the Phone to Monday by Christine Reilly
  • Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
  • American Vampire, vol. 8 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, et al
  • 11/22/1963 by Stephen King
  • Lumberjanes vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
  • The Loser List: Revenge of the Loser by H. N. Kowitt
  • A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  • Baltimore: the Plague Ships by Mike Mignola
  • Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  • Davita's Harp by Chaim Potok
  • Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery
  • Salem's Lot by Stephen King
  • Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery
  • Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick
  • Exile by Kevin Emerson
  • The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  • Gossip Girl by Cecily van Ziegesar
  • Read Write Teach by Linda Rief
  • Rocking Fatherhood by Chris Kornelis
  • A Prince in Peril by Robin Russell
  • A Jail for Justice by Robin Russell
  • A Karst in Kweilin by Robin Russell
  • A Tiara for the Taking by Robin Russell
  • Saga vol. 6 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Without You, There is No Us by Suki Kim
  • Once Upon a Cow by Dr. Camilo Cruz
  • Dietland by Sarai Walker
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  • The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  • The Feathered Bone by Julie Cantrell
  • Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
  • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch
  • I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  • Payback Time by Carl Deuker
  • Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  • What Alice Forgot by Lianne Moriarty
  • I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Saturday, August 5, 2017

All I Need

One year ago at this moment, I was trying to sleep. Slight contractions plagued me the entire day. They weren't debilitating, and I had roamed the streets of my neighborhood as they hit, timing and tracking and trying to find regularity. Once I realized there was no set rhyme or reason, my deathly fear of arriving at the hospital and being sent home led me to diminish the pain's significance. I took a shower to soothe the cramping. I thought I'd rest up for what would undoubtedly be a busy tomorrow. So at that moment, 365 days before this one right now, I was cuddled in bed listening to In Rainbows and waiting for glorious unconsciousness.

It wasn't long before a shattering 10+ minute contraction forced the headphones from my ears, rocked me down the stairs, out the door, and into a knuckle-gripping wait for a blessed epidural.

This is not meant to be a birth story. So I'll just say that about seven hours later, with unrealistic ease, my world exploded. When the pieces were put back together, I was shocked at how much the planet had expanded. Infinite vastness sat on my chest. Infinite vastness grew in my heart. I thought I had charted the edges of my universe, yet there it was, pushing outwards into possibilities I'd never imagined could exist.


I could write (and have written) extensively on this first year of motherhood. I could be wry, hilarious, philosophical, righteous, awed, or irreverent by turns in my observations. But for now, I'll try to keep it short and sweet, as sweet as my Alexandria.

I love my daughter. I love what her birth has made of my family. I didn't know that Taylor and I could be so content, had no clue of the mysterious peace we could carry with us.* I loved the way we've grown. I love my pleasant, curious child.

My in-laws have a birthday tradition. They bestow birthday wishes, hopes for a person as they trek through the next year. I've made wishes for myself on my birthdays, so here's one for the girl.


Daughter, I wish the world for you.**

Tonight, as I thought about your entrance into existence and how radically my life has changed, I took a nighttime stroll. Right now, there is a full moon. I walked barefoot on cement that held the vestiges of the day's heat. The darkness of mountain silhouettes cut into the night sky, and I felt immensely powerful. I felt the embrace of night and moon and stars, and I wished that power for you. I want you to walk through the world and feel fearless, because it is there for you, and you are there for it. There is so much for you to see. There will be so much for you to do. Don't be scared. Yes, it can be daunting, and yes, you might be nervous, but always tap into the strength I know you already have.

This is going to be a great life, my darling. And I hope that I can show you that.


I love you. Happy birthday.

1

*peace tempered with a giant helping of "wow, the world has so many ways a human can die, how does anyone survive to adulthood," but peace nonetheless. 

**so just a simple, tiny wish for this first birthday, no biggie. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cracking the Shield

I knew motherhood would change me.

I fully anticipated a complete upheaval of my status quo. As I've said before, I steeled myself against screaming and sleepless nights and general grumpiness. And wouldn't you know, those haven't been my issues. Instead, I'm faced with a shocking wave of emotion. Not just having emotionwhich is fairly new, but has been in the works for about five yearsbut having a specific, softening of emotions.

In other words, I'm now an utter marshmallow.

This softness blindsided me. I wasn't fully in the can for children yet, I didn't consider myself warm or inviting, and out of the two of us I was always a little more standoffish than Taylor. But as soon as they laid that squirming kid on my chest, it was over. I was hers.

And now I'm a crier. Pop culture that didn't penetrate my hard shell now annihilates me. Any children in peril, or separation from parents? Done. I'm done. After Alex was born, I tried watching Six Feet Under, but found it hard to continue after episode 11, where the mortuary prepares a baby who died of SIDS. I just finished Robin Roe's novel A List Of Cages. I started it in January, but had to put it down for a while after the descriptions of child abuse got too oppressive.

Essentially, I was a giant bleeding heart, which belied my carefully carved and crafted outer shell.


That brings us to Wonder Woman. The recent batch of DC movies holds little to no interest for me. This might be traced to my complete Zack Snyder disdain, or my recent weariness with superhero flicks as a whole. That being said, I did enjoy the teasing of Wonder Woman in BvS, she seemed to actually have a musical theme (saints be priased!), and oh yeah, women are important. Even if it sucked, I knew I would see this movie in theatres. It was my duty.

What I didn't expect was how watching it would fully crack my protective shield. It was a super hero movie! About I character I'd never connected with, even as a child, interpreting her as cheesy and a little bit exploitative! How could I have expected a film about her would rip out my heart and show to the world?

It began. I was fine. I saw a little girl running down the street. I was still fine. That little girl stopped to watch a bunch of muscled, fast, strong women training on a field. As they trained, she stood on the sidelines and copied them, little fists punching the air and feet kicking. And as for me? Oh yeah, I LOST IT.


The sobbing was involuntary. My body trembled, my seat becoming it's own little earthquake as I tried to suppress the weirdly uncontrollable tears. I kept thinking, why? Why am I crying? This is amazing! It's also just another action movie, right? Wrong. I mean, yeah, sure, it was. It was pretty conventionally shot, not even too skillfully.* But the ability to see women performing actions that I'd only seen in the realm of menactions that were pure and destructive and powerful, and without an overly-sexualized lens? That was incredible. It was overpowering.

And it happened over, and over, and over again.

Every time I watched Diana fight, I cried. I believed in the fact that representation matters, but I thought it mattered more for other people. I figured that I could watch my Batman and Indiana Jones and those men and just model myself after that. Easy. Except it wasn't, and I felt that in my soul while watching Wonder Woman. There was power in seeing women be strong, independent of a man. The Amazons were created to elevate humanity, to protect not just through emotion (which they had and valued), but through strength. Women had fought onscreen before, but it had been in tight leather with moves choreographed to accentuate every curve. It was, you guessed it, created for the male gaze. There is leather in the movie, and amazing curves, but it only serves to reinforce the idea that women are strong, women are capable, and women act for themselves.

Thinking about showing this to my daughter was exhilarating. That's actually one of the most exciting parts of parenthood right nowthe thought of sharing the culture I love. Her first month, I loved playing Alex the Beatles and Bowie and Nirvana, reveling in the fact that there is the perfect, beautiful being who hadn't heard these things before.

Someday, she'll awake to those bands. And now I have more to awake her to. I've got actual models to point at and say, look darling. That can be you. Pure, unfettered, and minus any mental gymnastics. She can see that, and believe.

*I'm still sorting through my feelings on the slow motion. I didn't love it while watching the movie, and found it a bit distracting, but the more I think about it the more I do appreciate the display of a woman's body in full strength mode, so there's that.