I have a thing for 80's romantic comedies - all of the fun banter, less sex and nudity - much more innocent than today. (Not that I'm a prude, but COME ON, Hollywood, tell a story without using sex as a crutch, maybe, huh?) Finnegan Begin Again is one I recall fondly, but admittedly it is the rhyming title for which it is memorable. My absolute favorite movie ever is Max Dugan Returns, starring Jason Robards, Donald Sutherland, and Matthew Broderick, three different generations of my favorite actors in one adorable silly romcom. It also starred Marsha Mason a single mom - a teacher no less - wrangling these three men. It was the first time I noticed a strong female protagonist, a well-developed character - imperfect, but trying hard to walk a moral line, making do with what she had. I began to seek characters like that - women who would serve as my guide into who I wanted to be - in books and in movies, and these have become my favorite characters. From Places in the Heart and Murphy's Romance all the way to Where The Heart Is - women who are on their own struggling to make a life for their family. These are the women I admire. (Yes, Sally Field features prominently in the list. Love her.)
Notice Gone With the Wind doesn't make my list. I hate the character of Scarlett O'Hara with a red velvet passion. Stop whining about your stupid party, you spoiled brat. My favorite characters aren't perfect, but they have to be likeable. You have to want to root for them. I kind of just wanted her to be kicked.
Anyway, I eventually found more of these strong women characters in Shakespeare's comedies - thanks to a high school production of Midsummer Night's Dream, which helped me focus in college and led me to my degree in English. Beatrice, Viola, Rosalind are smart and strong but flawed women who fight for what they want, written by a man no less. Brilliant.
Which brings me back to where I am now, beginning again, back at school myself. It is fun, it isn't as hard as I thought it might be workload wise, I now realize I probably could have taken more than one class at a time but I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew and have to drop one. I'll be smarter in future semesters. But I'm learning a lot - mostly about the difference between what I already know and what I don't, and what kind of classes I would like to teach. I know I want to be a specialist, and I probably want to stay in technology, or maybe STEM. Despite my lack of decent math and science skills personally, STEM is really about innovation in cross-platform education, and that fascinates me.
(If you're interested in innovative education topics, Edutopia is a good place to start.)
I'm having a good time getting focused on what I want to be when I grow up. I guess it's about time, now that I'm approaching my 41st birthday. I am strong, I am flawed, but I'm doing the best that I can. I'm trying to be that woman.
Of course, I've also always liked The Yellow Wallpaper, too. Maybe being strong is just about fighting off the descent into madness? Some days are better than others. It would help if it would STOP SNOWING, but maybe that's just me.