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Women Extraordinary Heroines

Straight Talk
by Nimfa L. Estrellado

Maya Angelou said, “I think a hero is anyone with an intent to make this a better world for all people.” Have you ever looked up heroine quotes? The paucity of examples is absolutely infuriating. Of the few samples we find the cinematic reality of female detectives, wonder woman and then we have the down-to-earth Harriet Beecher Stowe “To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.”

March is National Women’s Month and I want to take this opportunity to focus on the outstanding attributes of women. In a word, women are amazing.

I’ve made a conscience effort to truly contemplate and study the story of women this month since it is nationally recognized as Women’s History Month. I expanded my studies beyond just the recent feminist history, which in my opinion is a definite highlight of our history to this point, to include our history since the start of written record.

However, this was not as easy as it would seem since the vast majority of surviving records are his-story and are very short on the details of her-story.

Women are frequently the anchors in a family. This is true regardless of employment status and who brings home the higher income. Women carry the load - bear the burden, while calming the fears, and quietly holding the worry. Women function as the “emotional containers.” Women are truly remarkable in their seemingly endless capacity to meet the demands and challenges of everyday life yet find the strength to continually persevere. This is true of women of all ages and backgrounds.

However, the reality is that this capacity is not endless and needs to be replenished. The concern arises when women become so involved in taking care of everyone else, that their own needs become suppressed, neglected, and even forgotten. With the stresses that naturally occur in the process of living, it is easy to overlook your own needs. Women too need and deserve to be cared for so that they also may live a meaningful and satisfying life.

Are women not heroes? What does one call a Mother who nurses a sick child back to health? Is she not a hero in that child’s eyes? What does one call a woman who follows her passion in the face of war, like Maria Ressa? Is she not a hero? What do you call a woman who is clearly different, diagnosed as autistic, but carries on her life of creating beautiful, soulful art? Is she not a hero? How do we define and synthesize being a woman and a hero? Are the only examples either in history, in the movies, or martyrs?

We women are heroines because we kept going, with determination, and trust that we will be okay. A heroine cannot afford to have hope, she has to have courage when there is no sane reason for her to have courage. A heroine has to firmly tie the rope to the trunk of the tree before she dangles over the edge to rescue someone. She has to trust that she makes those knots work, not hope that they will work. We are heroines in our own story. We are here for a bigger purpose than we have lived so far. We have a higher purpose, and the first step is to listen to our intuition, our gut feelings, and anything that says “yes!”

When I let go of having to be perfect and get whatever help I need, hiring a writing coach, working with a therapist, or saying no when I want someone to like me is an heroic act to me. When I break my long standing belief that I am self-reliant and realize that self reliance to the extreme means isolation, and choose to reach out for support that is an heroic act to me. When I share my vulnerabilities and realize I am not alone in feeling that way that is an heroic act to me. I am a reluctant heroine. I would rather be comfortable and only do the things in life that are my preference. Still the impetus to dig deeper, to do the things that scare me, to step out and share my truth in whatever ways are open drives me on. Maybe that’s not heroic, maybe that’s just being an everyday, ordinary strong woman.

We need more heroines to evolve this world, to heal this planet.