Monday, February 18, 2013

Navel-Gazing: You Are Wonder Woman

(Again, non-religious/differently traditioned people, please stick with me. This is for you too.)

There's a passage in Proverbs 31 that describes a Woman of Valor (or a Wife of Noble Character). This passage has tended to raise levels of anxiety in many of the women I know (including myself) because we see it as the Impossible To-Do List. But, as Rachel Held Evans learned from a friend in the Jewish tradition, calling someone eshet chayil (woman of valor) is meant to be an encouragement, a praise for milestones. In other words, valor doesn't come from being perfect; valor is in keeping going, especially when it's tough. 

You know another term for a Woman of Valor? Wonder Woman. 

If you got up and got in your work out today, you are Wonder Woman. If you got a 9 minute mile or a 19 minute mile done, you are Wonder Woman. If you didn't lose your cool with your kid or coworker (or both), you are Wonder Woman. 

Sometimes getting up at all means being Wonder Woman.

I read a blog post this past weekend about a gender-bent version of Slave Leia cosplay that really covered why I choose to wear a Wonder Woman costume at races. No, I don't have a perfect body--far from. Yes, wearing a costume draws attention to me and my imperfect body. But I refuse to wait until I look perfect (whatever that is) to look like a superhero. The act of suiting up often changes how I carry myself. I will admit to that moment when I get out of the car and wonder what have I done. But I have yet to participate in a race where I didn't make a kid excited or people didn't cheer me on ... and all because of the costume.

But more than me wearing a costume and running races, I honestly believe that every woman is Wonder Woman. Every man is Superman.* We do amazing things every day, and we forget that.

Eschet chayil. Woman of valor. Wonder Woman. Claim it.

* Or whatever your favorite superhero is, whatever publisher, Western or manga. Dude, whatever mental image gets you going.