I love stories. We all do. We’re hardwired to react to them. But, I really get hooked into them. I can’t deal with an audio book, TV or anything that could be construed as even a micro story on when I’m trying to think or fall asleep. Even song lyrics will engage and distract me from whatever I’m trying to do.
I’m also very visual. Movies, in their larger than life visual and auditory immersive storytelling, really affect me. I don’t think I’m quite normal in this. Maybe it’s because I never have time to watch TV anymore, so I’m no longer desensitized. Maybe it’s because I’ve become more available emotionally as I get older (and smarter). Maybe it’s because I’m just wired that way, I’m not sure. But, I have to be kind of careful these days about what movies I see and when I go. They can wreck me for days.
I went to see Wonder Woman last Monday night with a friend and her daughter. Someone later asked me if it was a fun evening and I answered, “Well. I guess so.” That seems like a weird response to a movie that’s a fun, summer comic-based, hero movie. But, it really got to me. It’s not a heart-wrencher. It’s not a scary, horror show. I’m really glad I went. But, fun seems lighthearted and it wasn’t a lighthearted night for me.
I share things that are on my mind each week, the things I’m processing through in my life. I have a lot going on my head right now, I’m struggling with some big questions about my future. And I was going to share about those this week, but instead, I’d rather chat about Wonder Woman.
First, let me say that I’ve always been a Wonder Woman fan. I have a pair of Havianna Wonder Woman flip flops that a dog bit through the strap and I still wear them duct taped together, because I love them. One of my close friends has a vintage, sequined Wonder Woman t-shirt that I’ve coveted for something like 20 years. Every so often I go hunting Ebay for something similar and I strike out, which is so frustrating! But, also know I’m a very casual fan. I’m not a rabid comic, DC and Marvel follower. I love them, their history and the new realm of superhero movies, I enjoy that stuff, but I don’t do cosplay, I’m not really a fangirl and I’m not here to talk about authenticity of the character, the movie or even the quality of the film making.
I never watch a movie as a critic, Actually, I try to never read a book, eat a meal or listen to a friend as a critic. That’s a whole ‘nother podcast, perhaps. I think if you’re busy looking for things to evaluate and tear down, you miss the experience of it. So, this isn’t meant as a typical review, just a few things the movie made me think about.
A Strong Lead Unafraid To Be Herself
First, I’m a strong female character, and unfortunately, I’ve spent my whole life being hyper aware of how that affects other people. And spending a significant amount of energy pulling back on the reins in order to make my way in the world. Maybe that’s why, but I love seeing strong female leads in stories and movies. It somehow seems to authenticate the fact that some females are created to be strong leads in life.
But, here’s what I liked most about Gal Gardot’s Wonder Woman: she was unafraid.
Unafraid of who she is.
Unafraid to jump into a new, unfamiliar world.
Unafraid of speaking her mind.
Unafraid to share her opinions and world view.
Undaunted by others’ positions and authority.
Unfazed by obstacles.
Undaunted by the staggering amount of what she didn’t know.
Maybe naive is a word you would use, and maybe that’s true. But, regardless. She stepped forward unafraid and undaunted. Believing in herself and in her purpose. That’s inspiring. And strong. And I loved it.
Helping The People In Front Of You
A lot has been written about the No Man’s Land scene. In the words of Director Patty Jenkins, when she was arguing for the scene not to be cut, “This is a scene about her becoming Wonder Woman.” And it is. It’s the best part of the movie. Seeing Diana come into her own and understand her mission is both beautiful and inspiring.
But I loved it for another reason. If you haven’t seen the movie, there is a series of scenes in the middle of the film where she and her group are on their quest toward destroying the Germans’ new weapons. They get to a point where they’re in the trenches in an area that has seen action but no change for a year and there’s a French village caught in the middle. Diana, (Wonder Woman) wants to stop and help the people of the village who are starving. Those she’s with insist that she can’t. She can’t do anything to help. It’s not their mission. They don’t have time. They don’t have resources. They can’t save everyone. They can’t cross No Man’s Land. They need to stay on mission and complete the task they’re working towards.
But, Diana disagreed. People are her mission. She takes time out of her schedule to help the people right in front of her who need help.
I hope I never need to make my way across a no man’s land into a nest of German artillery. But, I hope and pray that every day as I work down my to-do list and I rock my schedule…that every moment, I remember that people are the most important thing. And that when someone comes across my path that I can help, encourage or love on. That I take the time to do that. That I see with a heart that remembers that priority. That acknowledges with words and deeds that the people in my path are more important than my task list and my schedule.
In the climactic moments of the movie, in her final fight scene with Ares, Diana has a mini speech about the human race. I’m going to seriously paraphrase here: That yes, we humans have darkness in us. Anger, pride, jealously, cruelty, arrogance and a whole host of other awful things. But, there is more, much more than that. We also have great capacity to love and the key to fighting hatred is love. It was a bit cheesy, but this is a superhero movie.
There are moments in a few movies that as I watch them, they just reverberate through my heart as Truth with a capital T. And this is one of those moments. Friends, Love wins. Only love can win. Hate can clash with hate and strength can prevail. But, hatred cannot destroy hatred. Only love can do that.
Unfortunately, special effects, kicking enemy butt all over Europe and superhuman strength, speed and amazing truth-inducing lasso’s aren’t the kind of love that overcomes hatred in real life. It’s too bad, because that glowing lasso could be really fun.
In real life, it’s the difficult. Sacrificial. Gritty. When-it-hurts. When-it’s-not-popular. Inconvenient kind of love that melts hatred. So, let the truth that love overcomes hate echo in your heart and inspire you. But, remember that the hard work of that truth is what is really meaningful to your neighbors, social circle, critics, enemies and community. Look for the opportunities to love people in your path. Not just the easy people. But the ones that are hard to love. In situations that are hard to love. When there is no reason to, other than, love melts hatred and heals hearts.
You can see that I cheated on the artwork this week. It’s a quote set on one of my painted papers. At least I used my own painted background, right? First I wanted to do a piece about love conquering hate and then I wanted to do a cool piece of Wonder Woman. But, the time I had set aside for podcast art this week got eaten up by doing some things in love for other people. And I’m ok with that. I made a choice that the people in front of me were more important than getting a particular type of piece done for this episode. So. I’m practicing what I’m preaching today!
Emma Stone’s quote, “I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself. ” seemed to fit today. I believe there are a few other important components of beauty that Emma didn’t mention, but it certainly seemed to fit this episode.
If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it while you can still catch it on the big screen.
What’s Coming Up
I also want to give you a quick heads up about what’s coming down the pike on my show. I’m going to be taking a break for about six weeks. I’ll release a short episode, based on a quote, each week. Probably just a few minutes instead of my typical 8 – 10 minute episodes. The artwork will be the quote similar to this week and there will be no daily Coffee Talk. I will be in touch on Monday’s with the new episode and a few thoughts if you’re used to getting to the episode that way, but it will be one email a week until Labor Day-ish when I’ll kick off a new season.
What am I going to do with all that time off? Well, I’m going to get those six episodes together, then take a week or maybe 2 weeks completely off. After that, I’ll be working on the upcoming episodes in advance, some episodes for times when I’m sick or have an emergency, a few new writing projects and re-thinking how I approach the podcast and what I need to change or revise. So, if you have any thoughts on that…what you love, what you really don’t care about, what you really wish I’d change, feel free to get in touch by email at or the audio voice recorder on the side of this page. I probably should spend some of that time updating my website too. But, as it is, all the sudden it’s sounding like I need way more than a month off!
Want to process the ideas in this podcast further? Download the Coffee Talk Worksheet or put this week’s art on your phone: Episode 42 Downloads