27 January 2014

Normalizing Wonder Woman

A new year, new resolutions, and new reads.  A quote that recently struck me:

"I realized that there was a power in telling these goofy, crazy, messy stories from my life. I started experimenting with that mode of storytelling in the book. It was therapy for me, first of all, to put some of this stuff on paper. But I think it worked, at some level. What I’ve heard from many readers of the book is that it validated some of their own struggles. That has been a good thing for me to hear. It was scary to put some of this stuff out there. But I think what I began to understand when I was writing it, and I’ve definitely understood since the book came out, is that everybody has these stories. Everybody has the breast pump. Everybody has the moments where they are ready to kill their husband and their hair is horrible. They are blowing the presentation because their kid had to poop last night. The more we can get these stories out there without turning this into a massive sobbing event, it just normalizes the image of Wonder Woman, which is a much better place to be than perpetuating this myth of perfection."

Debora Spar, president of Barnard College
Interview by Knowledge@Wharton, "Debora Spar on Women’s (Impossible) Quest for Perfection"

Last summer, I started writing a life update.  Now, I'm still writing it and hopefully will finish soon.  Spar's interview reminded me that we all, do indeed, have these crazy stories from our imperfect lives.  It hasn't been easy for me to write this update, especially since my goal is to somehow express in a coherent, non-sentimental, yet honest way of how my last 2 years have been, especially in struggles related to health.  It's hard to write about this stuff.  It's messy.  I've written so many drafts and not even bothered to proofread my earlier versions because they sounded so not like how I wanted to sound.  But accounts like Spar's and others motivate me.  Writing has been a type of therapy -- getting thoughts down on paper (or screen), figuring out to share them, validating that they are personal and valuable.  Each word written is another step in the right direction.