Friday, September 5, 2014

With Enough Courage, You Can Do Without a Reputation

I love Gone With the Wind. It's my favorite book and favorite movie. Scarlett O'Hara is the most complex heroine - strong, brave, fearless. She will do anything (including be extraordinarily selfish) to get whatever she wants. She goes after the men she loves. She protects her home. She's both extraordinary and awful. She's a drama queen. I love everything about her.

Obviously Scarlett is a fictional character created by the brilliant Margaret Mitchell and portrayed beautifully by Vivian Leigh in the film. I first read the book in middle school, and I've been fascinated by Scarlett ever since. Here is a woman who not only goes after what she wants, but she does so while being brash and yet still feminine. She goes after love and loves passionately. Who wouldn't want a relationship as tumultuous and passionate as the one Scarlett shares with Rhett Butler?

Things are obviously different for women in 2014 than they were during the Civil War, but it remains the same that being a woman means walking a tightrope. Even today brash and candid women have to worry about being considered a bitch (not that I know this from the sarcasm translating?) You have to balance not being a pushover and being strong without being too aggressive. It's such a tenuous balancing act, and I know I don't get it right all the time...maybe I never get it right. 

With a portrait of Vivian Leigh as Scarlett at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

I try really hard to be myself - candid, loud, aggressive, and fiercely loyal. I know it's sometimes shocking and sometimes off putting, but I hope that people always know where I'm coming from. Perhaps I could wear a hoop skirt and corset to soften the blow, but I don't think even tapping into my inner southern belle would help.  I don't have time or energy for subtleties or games. I like to think Scarlett would approve.

Like Scarlett I am relentless in pursuing and maintaining things that are important to me - love, family, friendship, my career.  I like to be kissed, often, and by someone who knows how. I love walking the tightrope of aggressiveness and femininity. Like Scarlett I often don't keep my balance, but that's part of what works. I think we should all strive to be a little more like our inner Scarlett O'Hara. Hoop skirts are optional.  

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