I just realized, in the late, late afternoon today, that TODAY was WONDER WOMAN DAY! How did I not know that!?! I’ll tell you how…it’s because I’m at home sick with COVID and I was delirious with a fever. Luckily, I saw a Facebook posting and it jogged my fuzzy memory!
If anyone knows me, even just a little bit, they know that I love the DC superhero, Wonder Woman. Heck, if they know me A LOT, they know that I’ve loved her since I was two. That was when there was a prime-time show, Wonder Woman, starring the ever-beautiful Lynda Carter.
That show, to me, was THE only show. My Mom would have my Dad sit down with my energetic younger self, to watch it with me while she got things done (and he was SO tortured watching a beautiful woman run around in a tight outfit, commanded by his wife, he later laughingly admitted). I didn’t care. I watched an Amazon woman save the world every week. Girl power! I wanted to be her!!
So, in order to try to be an Amazon woman, despite being a sickly, pale, auburn-haired, freckle-faced girl (who only reached the full height of 5’2″ as an adult), I did everything I could think of, because I had to, at least, try. I had the action figure/doll. I had the Underoos, and I begged for the Halloween costume. I made myself paper bracelets to deflect bullets, in case anyone ever broke into the house. I made the construction paper tiara to throw at would-be villains and thwart their plans. I traded things for a golden jump rope that I kept coiled at my hip, my golden lasso of truth. What I lacked in size, I DEFINITELY made up for in attitude. Ms. Carter portrayed the epitome of the “beauty, truth, and love” motto that Wonder Woman embodied, showing that all girls possessed the mightiness of an Amazon when injustice showed itself. Little did I know, I would later, as an adult, need this “superpower” inside me to merely survive…
I lost touch with WW after turning thirteen, and before that, I read her comic books avidly. I got busy with being a teenage girl and surviving high school, SATs, popularity, the job world, and thinking about college. I would, however, call upon what I’d learned from WW, in order to survive what came next. At sixteen, I was ready to date and was enamored with a “nice” young man two years older than me. I guess I thought all men were as debonair and chivalrous as Steve Trevor, but was I ever wrong! That nice young man turned out to be a rapist and stole my innocence from me. I never told anyone during that time, throwing myself into my work and academics. Girls who “told” were not heroic (at that time), they were damaged and unworthy — and no one wanted to engage with damaged people. So, I kept my ordeal a secret, thinking that was the more brave thing to do. My pain fueled my success, or so I thought…
Toward the end of my high school career, I met the monster I would eventually marry and who would later become my torturer. He was sweet, then, it seemed. He was chivalrous and kind and funny — all that I had been lacking in my life. It took him a while to crack my icy exterior, but he did eventually, with promises of love and adoration. I didn’t know that he could see the damage, but he could. He had no idea that the heart of an Amazon woman was in there, so he fed what he thought I needed, with sugar-coated lies. I thought I had met my Steve Trevor. I did not know later that he would morph into Ares, the god of war, the beast that WW’s mother, Queen Hippolyta, warned [her daughter] about evil men. He would definitely become the antithesis of a ‘good man.’ No wonder the Amazon women hid themselves away on a Paradise Island!
I lost touch with WW after I married and started having children. I thought of her, as I could, noting that there was never much available about her, but there were scads of things about Superman and Batman, especially in movies. I would sometimes state that I would love to see re-runs of the TV show or that Hollywood should make a movie just starring her. My then-husband would roll his eyes and say that it was because she was a woman and “no one was interested in female superheroes.” Wait, what!?! Why not? That’s EXACTLY what was needed!
So, when my oldest child was about 10, we were taking a tour of the children’s section of the library, when a really great children’s librarian was trying to figure out what my oldest could read and still get Accelerated Reader points for school. It was then that my child found bound collections of comic books, which the librarian proclaimed DID have AR points. My child was ecstatic and I was aghast.
“Wait,” I said, surprised. “Those are comic books???”
“No,” she smiled. “They’re graphic novels, AND they have AR points.”
I couldn’t believe it. “And graphic novels are acceptible?”
It was a match made in heaven. My kiddo could read something that interested them and start doing better in school! Yahoo! Of course, only Superman and Batman had AR tests available. Naturally.
“What graphic novel collections do you have?” I inquired, non-challantly. “You know, besides Batman and Superman…?”
She nodded as if she knew where my question was headed. “In the DC realm? Well, there is Wonder Woman and Supergirl.” BAH-ZINGA! I was IN!
So, as an adult woman, I became re-acquainted with Wonder Woman again. However, A LOT had changed…I mean, she IS a demigod, so I shouldn’t have been surprised…they’re immortal. She had been involved with Batman, and involved with Superman (but not at the same time). Um, WHAAAAAAT? She and Supe had a child???? Okay, I was desperately behind! I HAD to catch up! I will say that my reading of these collections gathered the ire of my Abuser. He constantly chided me about “neglecting my duties” and that I was “being childish reading comic books,” so, I again put them away. I had worlds to conquer.
The abuse got worse, sometimes going physical. After beatings, I was scathed, like Wonder Woman after a battle, but I got up and was a superhero to my children in that, I didn’t want them to know what I’d just endured. I’d wear thick, fuzzy bathrobes in the summer while I fixed their breakfast and got them to school. I covered my bruises like a champion, put on my “game face” and went to work — even with broken ribs. It’s simply what Amazon Women did…we overcame…
When Wonder Woman, courtesy of the actress Gal Gadot, appeared in Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice (in 2016), I was ecstatic! My Abuser had rented that movie, not knowing her appearance would be in there. “Don’t get too excited,” he coolly warned me. “She’s not a major hero.” Are you kidding? She kicked so much ass in that movie, that both male superheroes weren’t sure whom she was with! Girl power!!!! I donned a game face and assured him that, of course, he was right. Moohahahahahahaha!
When Wonder Woman got her own movie in 2017, my then-husband promised to take me, but then backed out, stating I had done something wrong to “not deserve” to go see it in the movie theatre. Emboldened by Amazonian strength, I went with a girl friend, against his wishes! I haven’t had that magical of a movie experience in a LOOOOOOOONG time! I was again fired up! I received a minor beating that night, for my disobedience, but it was TOTALLY. WORTH. IT. I covered up facial bruises the next morning with a huge smile on my face!
The final DV episode happened on September 14, 2017, which also involved a trip to the emergency room. I had been knocked out that night, strangled, and received a concussion and bruises, but my daughter got hurt, so I was more concerned about her well-being. Upon arriving at the hospital, the medical team separated us and did a triage of our injuries. I didn’t realize how I looked, apparently battle-worn. The police had to get pictures of my injuries, which was probably the most humiliating moment of my life…I would have rather gotten a mugshot taken, as I could’ve smiled in that one, but HE got the best of me and I was the victim. The police officer was great and very understanding. The doctor taking care of me ran tests and said I must be “an incredibly tough woman,” because my brain scan “rivaled that of Mike Tyson,” as he said I would have a mild TBI. I was distracted by the fact that my child was hurt in the other exam room. I stayed strong for her. They sent us home at 4 AM. I went to sleep knowing that I had to be up by 8 AM and going by 10 AM, in order to get to court. The police officer assisting me told me that the judge needed to hear a statement from me to keep my Abuser in jail. I woke up the next morning, hurting, having barely slept. I dressed up, not bothering to cover my bruises and letting my tiredness show. I had red hand marks around my throat, and bruises on my face and chest. I sat in a chair on the stand, stared down by my Abuser, and told the judge that I feared for my life and the lives of my children. If that isn’t Amazonian strength, I don’t know what is. It could be that I was exhausted and had enough, but I’m going with Amazonian strength emanating out of my 5’2″ frame. I’d have to draw on that strength again and again as he stalked me, in order to tear me down, file police reports, and have him jailed two more times (of the five incidents). I reached a point of enlightenment. I was no longer going to be scared.
I am six years free of my Abuser and I now fight for beauty, truth, and love through my social service job and my work as a DV advocate and activist. Every woman has Wonder Woman inside her. I just help them find her! <3
NOTE: I found it very fitting that October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” with Wonder Woman Day falling on October 21, which is actually a nod to the release of her first appearance in All-Star Comics #8. It’s just so amazing that she is my patron superhero and she’s everything I’d always wished I could be, but I really had her spirit within me this entire time. I will always try to embody Wonder Woman’s fighting spirit!
Love and Light!