There are a number of women that I view as role models. Some of them are older than I, some are younger. Some are famous, and some are not. And they range across ethnicities as well. These women are:
- Julie Newmar
- Eartha Kitt
- Sophia Loren
- Queen Latifah
- Kelly Clarkson
- Amoke Kubat
- Rosanna Hudgins
- Luisah Teish
These women are the main influences in my life. Some have become so more recently, some have not.
But each of these women have lived whole lives. They’ve suffered, they’ve struggled, and they’ve never allowed themselves to be stopped, never let themselves stay destroyed. A few of these women have a complete destruction of their lives. For example, Eartha Kitt paid for her activist comments about the Vietnam War said directly to Lady Bird Johnson, the First Lady at the time. Julie Newmar not only experienced struggle when her child was born with Downs Syndrome, but also when she herself was diagnosed with a neurological disorder. Sophia Loren struggled in her childhood, just as like Queen Latifah, P!nk, and Kelly Clarkson.
The other three ladies may be less famous, but they have been not only role models to me, but mentors as well. Their own personal struggles as women, as women of color, and other issues, have inspired me often on a minute-by-minute basis. Their simple stubborn unwillingness to let life destroy them has encouraged me to keep going, even when I was exhausted in every way, and felt unable to continue living.
But if it were only the difficult things that these women have overcome in their lives that cause me to see them as role models, I would have millions of women who were my role models.
These women have not only been able to come back from the destruction in their lives, but have been able to succeed in ways even they never thought they would. Oh, for some it may not be “success” as the world defines it, but it is still truth that they HAVE succeeded.
I don’t look to these women because of their fame and fortune. I don’t look to these women for their political or social views – in fact, I am occasionally in the opposite camp from them. I look to these women because their lives have inspired me. I look to these women because they typify the kind of woman I want to be.
None of these women (living or not) STOPPED living, STOPPED growing as long as they have breath in their bodies. They never sat down and said, “You know what? I’m good here.” They have never chosen to marinate in their own troubles, blaming others for their bad times. Oh, they all have NOT hidden any points at which they have been abused or treated poorly by others, but they have chosen to take those experiences and be better, rather than be stuck in the cycle of blame.
These women are exactly the reason I chose, after leaving my husband last year, to live my life transparently. I don’t hide the fact that I am fat and STILL proud of my body. I don’t hide the fact that I am a strong, stubborn, outspoken woman – and have no plans to STOP being so. I don’t hide the fact that I like sex, and that *I* am the only one who chooses whether or not I’m going to sleep with someone – not some evasive “they” who may or may not judge me to be a “slut.” I don’t hide the fact that if you shame someone’s body – NO MATTER WHAT SIZE OR GENDER IT IS – I am going to publicize it. I don’t hide the fact that if you act like I should be ASHAMED of who I am, that again – I’m going to make it publicly clear that you are a hypocrite.
I don’t hide the fact that if I wouldn’t be arrested immediately, I would wander around my yard absolutely naked in the summer. I have nothing to be ashamed of my body, and I see no reason that I should change that attitude simply because YOU are ashamed of yours.
It is these women who have taught me to be this way.
Oh, there are men who have inspired me as well. Most of them, however are writers. And I’m sure that at some point I am going to post about them. But as a teaser, those men are: Spider Robinson, Robert Anson Heinlein, and Piers Anthony.