My husband is in the hospital again. Still dealing with the repercussions from his accident last May. It’s more serious this time. An infection has spread to the bone. Let me use the technical term, just so I can feel the weight of it: Osteomyelitis.
It’s serious and scary, but we are remaining hopeful and positive.
Over the weekend, while I was in the hospital I was browsing through Facebook and I saw that my friend, the super-talented Raine Szramski had liked this picture:
I snickered at the picture at first. But then I happened to look up and notice that the tote bag I have been using to carry books back and forth from the hospital was this one:
There it is, hanging on the bathroom door of this hospital room that we have become too comfortable in. It hangs there now as I write this.
It reminded me of how much I wanted to be Wonder Woman when I was a little girl. (I also wanted to be Nancy Drew, but that’s a different post.) My father was a football coach. We were always at some sporting event or another and I used to get paper cups from the concession stand, push the bottoms out and wear them on my wrists so they could be Wonder Woman’s bracelets. My mother never blinked an eye; I’m sure people around us would glance skeptically at this little girl constantly wearing paper cups as bracelets. This same little girl who would fashion tin foil into rings and bracelets and earrings and wear them at football games because she loved the way they sparkled under the stadium lights. I realize now that I wasn’t actually creating beautiful jewelry, the sparkle existed and grew within my imagination. That’s the kind of sparkle that really counts.
Today we are a family dealing with struggles. Physical, financial, the general stress involved with situations like these. My paper cup bracelets aren’t going to help, but the spirit behind those bracelets still swells within me. Did you know Wonder Woman’s bracelets are made by a metal called Feminum? Tell me that is not absolutely awesome.
Feminum was located on Paradise Island, the home of Diana Prince (Lynda Carter) a.k.a. “Wonder Woman,” a member of a race of Amazon warriors.
Prolonged exposure to Feminum gave these mighty female residents their super human strength and immortality. Via TV ACRES
The word Feminum resonates with me, it reinforces this idea I have that the connotation of the word feminine does not have to be sugar and sweetly pink and girly. We have this feminine strength that comes from something much deeper, something primal and fierce. Something Amazonian. There are many things about Pre-Raphaelite art that I respond to, but one of the greatest is that I love the image of woman as a Goddess:
It has been commented on a great deal that Rossetti had a tendency to make strange changes in women’s bodies when he painted them, especially with Jane Morris. He elongates her neck, he gives her cupid’s bow lips. When he painted her as Astarte Syriaca above, he did me a favor. He bestows upon her strong arms that are capable of anything, a steady gaze that could cause enemies to wither, a countenance that tells me that this Goddess fears nothing. She is calm and resolute. She is in control. In times like this, I would like to draw upon that strength.
These are the things that inspire me. A mixture of Wonder Woman, strong Goddesses, childhood memories of my own imagination and power. People have their own beliefs and faith, their own framework. In times of crisis, they ply you with platitudes that exist more for them than you. It is in these times that poetry and art feed my soul. Which made it such a wonderful coincidence when I saw this week that Kat Howard had just written about her experiences with poetry as prayer. I think of the line from To Autumn by Keats: Think not of them, thou hast thy music too and I know that in this moment I can make my own music, my own rhythm and I can overcome any obstacle. If I can not overcome, I can adapt. I’m in charge of my own tune and whatever the Universe throws at me, I can learn to harmonize. I dig deep, I have my own version of Feminum. I will wield it well.
I happened upon this image on Tumblr. It’s the kind of Wonder Woman I am at this moment. A little tired, battle-worn. Give me a moment. My strength always returns.
Here I am with my daughter, taken this morning before we made our daily trek to the hospital. Whatever else I may achieve in my life, I hope that I can show her that to be a woman of wonder can be many different things and she is free to make her own path. Perhaps the struggles we endure now will feed her and inform her, so when she faces obstacles when she’s older, we can clink our imaginary Feminum bracelets together and slowly nod as if today say Today, I am a Goddess. Today, I can face it all. And then she’ll go on her own way and say I’ve got this, Mom. I’ve got this.