Why Is a Heroine a Heroine…Your Heroine?
Barb wrote a nice post …… about our heroines and everyone being someone’s heroine, which made me think of the definition of the word. A heroine doesn’t need a cape, nor does the word mean “a super-woman who saves your life and/or the universe”. While the aforementioned may be true in the movies, IRL, my favorite definition of “heroine” is: A woman admired or idealized for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
How fabulous is THAT!?!
Based on this definition, I’m sure we all have had a heroine or two in our lives. And yes, we all – ALL of us are heroines in our own right. Barb was spot-on with that. But, why? Why is a heroine – a heroine? Or, more importantly – why is she YOUR heroine?
The Who and Why of Heroines
Reading and re-reading Barb’s post and reflecting on the definition — A woman admired or idealized for her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities — I did some mental meandering making note of the many heroines in my life and the qualities of each that I admire. What a great exercise! Whether the woman is still in my life or not, whether she is someone I know personally or not, spending time thinking through this was humbling and very meaningful. I encourage you all — do it.
I’ve been very lucky in my life. There have been a number of women I’ve admired and whom I try to emulate. Some have supported me and opened doors that would not have been open otherwise and some have helped me by showing me what NOT to do. Still others I admire from afar. Trying to name all my heroines makes me feel like what I imagine Oscar winners feel when they think they’ll forget to mention someone in their “thank you” speech. So, rather than an exhaustive listing, I’ll note three women here, all of whom I’ve admired for a very long time. This is not the only time I will contemplate the heroines in my life. This is today’s contemplation.
Heroines in My Life… and Why
#1. Barb. Yes. I know, I know – you’d expect me to mention her and you’d expect me to call out her courage for sailing off into the wild blue yonder, following her and EWs dream. You’d also expect me to say what a good friend she is. Yes. Both are true. Both would qualify her for heroine. But she has two other qualities I admire and work to emulate.
- Barb is firm in her convictions and beliefs, some on which we agree, many on which we do not. But she wants to hear all sides and truly tries to understand others’ convictions and beliefs. She is not mean spirited nor is she close minded and she really does want to understand the counter perspective-not that she’ll approve or agree. Understanding is her objective.
- Barb loves her husband and is the most loyal person I know. I don’t mean just that she’s faithful in a “not-messing-around” kind of way (although I’d bet my life she absolutely is has been forever faithful.) I mean faithful to him, their partnership, his reputation, his dreams – and if her personal values are not compromised, even when she disagrees. Yes, she loves her friends too, and is loyal to them. But that is different. Barb and EW are true partners-for-life and share a love and a respect for each other I’ve not seen anywhere else, except maybe for my Uncle Ed and Aunt Becky. True love. True respect. I strive to be this kind of partner for Kurt.
Yes, Barb is human. Trust me. I’m sure EW would attest to that, too. But, she is a heroine in my life.
#2. Vida Icenogle. Vida was the first woman boss I had and the first woman manager I remember. It was in the early ‘80s sometime. I think. It was a long time ago. I was in my early20s, in a sales/marketing role for a Dallas bank.
This was back when most women in banks were tellers or secretaries with desks directly outside the bank officer’s door. Vida was a Vice President. I remember her being firm, but fair; an even tempered and non-emotional manager but friendly and open.
I also remember the men referring to her as “tough as nails” and “driven” as if those were dirty words; as if that meant she couldn’t be a female and be a tough business woman. I admired Vida. She seemed to let the good-ol’-boys say what they did – and take care of her business. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’d be horrified and embarrassed if the same was said about me. What if she gets in trouble!” (Ha. Those were the days, right?) I wished I could have been, …hell, could be today, so confident in my abilities and equal rights as a human. To this day I think of her when my mind ever goes to “but they say… if I fail … I can’t…, what if they think…, how will it look….” I haven’t seen or talked to Vida since leaving that role over 30 years ago.
Vida doesn’t know she’s a heroine in my life. But she is.
#3. Katherine Hepburn. Clearly, I did not know Ms. Hepburn IRL, but I did know her. At times, I felt like I could have been her – minus the four Oscars,Spencer Tracy and the lovely compound on Connecticut’s oceanfront.
Seriously though, there’s so much I admire about her. Hepburn was fiercely private, shunned the Hollywood publicity machine, declined most interviews and distanced herself from the celebrity lifestyle seeing that social scene as tedious and superficial. She was outspoken, assertive, and wore casual clothes – wearing pants before it was “proper” and in contrast to that eras glamour. She refused to conform to society’s expectations of women and remained true to herself.
Katherine Hepburn is a heroine in my life. I work to stay true to myself, every day. EVERY.DAY.
Spend a few minutes thinking about the heroines in your life. Jot down a few and make note of “why”. You’ll be – and feel better for it.