“ Lock the doors and don’t move. I will be right back!”
As I jumped out of the jeep and took off in pursuit of my assailant, I had one thing on my mind… ‘I will not allow this man or any person for that matter to take what is mine’. As we weaved through crowds and unfamiliar territory, I couldn’t stop thinking about how crazy this must look. Here I am, a foreigner in a strange land running wildly through the streets in hot pursuit of Lord knows who and possibly heading into imminent danger, yet I kept on running.
My boots pounded into the dirt and my legs felt like steel pistons pumping into the ground as I gained on the man who had taken my purse. As we reached a crowded area I was finally within arm’s reach, with an outstretched arm I was able to grab the back of his shirt and I pulled him to the ground using every bit of strength that I could muster. He fell to the dirt and I was on him in a heartbeat. Kicking, grabbing, screaming and waving my machete to ward off any of his cohorts. As I wrestled my bag out of his hands I placed my boot into my attacker’s chest and reached into my bag to hold up my possession triumphantly! As I held them in my hand I waved them through the air and yelled “cigarettes!! They are just cigarettes!!” I immediately took off back to the truck and as I returned, my driver looked at me and said “ you’re crazy”
With a smile on my face I thought ,” All superheroes are.” You see, this chase wasn’t about cigarettes; it was about right and wrong and defending what was mine.
What makes a superhero? All superheroes have a few things in common:
• Extraordinary abilities or powers
• A motivation or calling/ sense of responsibility to defend their community
• Secret identity hidden by a costume or mask to protect loved ones
The idea that a female can be a superhero has recently taken on a life of its own. From the appearance and starring role of Wonder Woman in the recent DC movies to hearing little girls refer to themselves as “Superhero girls”, and most notably the recent marches around the country, females are starting to realize their power and unleash their inner superhero. We are starting to see that we are not just pretty little flowers to be objectified and taken care of but that we are powerful and capable and we have the ability to change the world.
Let’s take a closer look at the qualities of a superhero and how they apply to all of us and how we can use them to become the hero of our own lives.
• Extraordinary power or abilities: As females, we have the ability to not only give life but to nurture that life like no other. Why do you think we never stop wanting our mommy when we are sick? We have the ability to build and teach and fight. We have been blessed with the incredible and undeniable gift of intuition that allows us to pick up on the energy from another person instantly. Each and every one of you has an extraordinary ability that makes you uniquely you and gives you strength.
• Motivation/Calling: we all have a fire in our belly that burns brightest in defense of those we love and hold dear. It is often referred to as being a “ Momma bear” . Our motivation also comes from the deep love that we have for everyone close to us and a calling to put their needs above ours. It takes true strength to defer to those you love and put them first; just as superheroes run out into the dark of night to protect their cities and communities; women also give of themselves freely without concern of reward or thanks. Women are love and protector and givers of life. Why do you think that we refer to the Earth as “Mother”? Every woman on Earth has a calling that is individual to her and is a part of her superhero story. I beg you to find your calling or motivation and use it to propel you to become the superhero that you were intended to be.
• Secret Identity or Mask: We are often asked to wear a mask of a smile and contentment with being subservient and docile. The mask of sexual objects is another that we are asked to wear and hide behind. I believe that these masks can also be seen as some of our greatest weapons in the fight for equality. There is something amazing and powerful about a woman who fully embraces her sexuality and feminine power and wields it in a manner that says “I am the owner of this amazing form and I and only I get to decide what is done to it.” In 2017 I want to ask you to strip off your mask and costume and to stand up and be counted as one of billions of female superheroes roaming the planet.
I once read a quote that said “On all of our tombstones there will be 3 things. The date you were born, the date that you passed and a dash. I want that dash to mean something.”
We have no choice as to when we are born and very little choice as to when we will pass but the dash… the dash is entirely up to us and we can choose to live as just another being passing through or we can choose to be the hero of our own life story.
My dash is about empowering women to see how powerful we are, to see yourselves as superheroes with unlimited potential and abilities to change the world. My dash is about showing the world that women are heroes in every walk of life and it is up to us to realize it and scream it from the mountaintop.
If we can just get one little girl to see that she isn’t just “pretty” but that she has a beautiful soul, then we have succeeded.
If we can get one woman to realize that she isn’t just “smart” but that she has worked extremely hard for her education, then we are on our way.
If we can get just one female to stand up in the face of adversity or a nemesis; whether it be body image, less than equal pay or someone else trying to tell them what they can or cannot do with their bodies, then we are building a generation of superheroes…
But we must not be reluctant heroes. Much like Superman, Spiderman and Wonder Woman tried to do, we cannot hide in the shadows and deny who we are! We must rise up and be counted and empower the next generation of superhero girls to follow in our footsteps.
To quote Spider Man’s uncle Ben; “With great power comes great responsibility.”
I implore you to join arms with me as we go forward into the unknown but we do so with the knowledge that we are strong, we are extraordinary , we are united and we are superheroes; each and every one of us.