Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wonder(ful) Women - Wendy Davis, Sheila Quirke & Anonymous

A while back, I attended Comic Con and sat in on a panel about Wonder Woman. The consensus was that there hasn't been a movie made yet because the world isn't ready for her to be a lead character yet. I say we change that. Prove them wrong.

I am beginning this series today with three women, none of which I have ever met in real life. I will tell you why they are all heroes in my eyes. I hope that as this series progresses, we will find that there are far more women out there kicking ass and taking names than we've been adequately credited for.

I give you the first three Wonder(ful) Women.

Sen. Wendy Davis
If you haven't heard about her, you might want to crawl out from the rock you've been living under for the past few weeks. She is the female Texas state Senator that staged a marathon filibuster to block a vote that would drastically restrict abortions in the state.

She stood and spoke for the rights of women for hour after hour after hour, unable to sit or even lean. While a protesting, angry crowd swelled outside, she continued. While she was chided for wasting time, while she was harassed by her male counterparts, she continued.

The eyes of the world watched as the word spread of this history making filibuster. She succeeded in stopping the vote, even though they attempted to sneak it in illegally when the time had run out - thereby exposing even more inappropriate behavior on the part of those elected.

This bill wasn't just about late term abortion, as so many would like you to believe. It's about limiting access to health care for women, as this bill would effective close down almost every clinic in the state. It's about women like her refusing to be dictated to by men.

Unfortunately, both for her and the women of Texas, the Governor seems bound and determined to get this law passed, regardless of how many special sessions he has to call to do it. Regardless of the fact that when the bill passes, it will likely be stopped by court actions like delays and injunctions, primarily because this bill, like so many others, seems to violate the "viability" cutoff in Roe v. Wade.

Where Sen. Davis will go from here is unclear, though there are many calling for her to run for Governor.

Go on with your bad self, Wendy. You've got a legion of women cheering you on.

Sheila Quirke
I love this woman. Like, all the way down to the bottom of my soul.

She is the voice behind Mary Tyler Mom, and it was through this strange and beautiful online world that I found her.

Like too many people I know in this world, her life was changed by cancer irreversibly when she lost her precious little girl, Donna. Instead of mourning quietly and silently moving on with the rest of her life, she has become a force to be reckoned with in the universe. She has spoken directly to the hearts and souls of the mothers who have lost children too, she has allowed people glimpses into the life she had before and the life she has now. She has weathered everything thrown at her with grace and class.

She has refused to sit idly and let this disease define anything about her. She is a fighter. She is honest and insightful. She tells patients and families that it's okay to be angry, but that you should never let go of the hope that only someone who has walked her path can comprehend. Her charisma and eloquence have helped to raise thousands and thousands of dollars to combat cancer for other people's children.

She is, simply put, one of the strongest women I have ever had the honor to know.

Sheila, my life is better because you are a part of it. The world is better for having your voice. You give us all hope. You can bring light to even the darkest moments, and when you're on your knees in agony, you must know that we, your friends and readers, your fans and donors, are there with you.

We love you. Thank you for being you.

This person isn't truly anonymous in the sense that I know exactly who she is, but I will keep my word and protect her identity for the rest of my days. I relate to her on a level that I relate to very few people, in many ways because we have so many things in common. Things I would rather not have in common with anyone else.

There is a solidarity, a peace in knowing that you aren't the only one. There is strength in realizing there are other voices out there telling stories that seem eerily familiar. There is a sense of relief that can only come when you understand you aren't alone.

The fingers that typed out an anonymous post about family abuse, about post traumatic stress disorder, about seeking therapy, about making a clear decision to pick herself up and move on without this baggage belong to her.

That post elicited a remarkable response. I had people coming out of the woodwork to share stories, to relate, to ask me to thank her. Support groups were formed because of her words. Lives made better, realities brought into clearer focus, loads lifted.

She gave me the strength to confront my own demons, to write about them. She is a constant cheerleader, reminding me why I do what I do, that I deserve to be happy. She is the calm in a storm.

Thank you, mystery woman, for all that you are and all that you do. Namaste.

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