Raya, Captain Marvel, Katniss Everdeen, Trinity, and GIRL POWER

I’m about as pro-female as the next woman. I want to be judged based on intelligence and ability, know that being female does not make me automatically enjoy flower-arranging, and get excited whenever Natasha Romanova takes out another bodyguard with her sweet moves.

Scarlett Johansson Film GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Still, all this pro-woman stuff is starting to bother me. It’s the super- superpowers that’s the problem. It’s the lack of female characteristics. It’s …it’s …difficult to put my finger on, especially in a high-strung world that seems determined to erase any gender lines ENTIRELY.

Take Raya, the lead character in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. I wanted to like her. She’s determined, honest, has a worthy cause she’s fighting for, and is not naïve. But she really bugged me. First, the voice actor sounds 40 even when Raya is a young child. Her voice is old and her language is old. I get that Raya is supposed to be precocious. She is not, however, supposed to be 40. Nor is the chick she spends time with from the Fang Clan. Both of them needed to be young-ified.
….Okay; really, the voice and vocabulary are my #1 complaint.
After that, I am bothered, as I usually am in movies with female leads, that she does not have to pull her hair back, have downtime once a month, or hurt her hand when punching a rock…

Disney Movie Raya GIF by Walt Disney Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

Next up is Captain Marvel.
Woo-wee. Where to start? How about the fact that she is even more powerful than Superman? Again, I wanted to like her. She can do anything even though she’s a chick, so that means we women can do anything too -right? (granted, that’s if we first absorb the energy of an alien power source…).
I can’t like her. I can’t believe her. The film kept trying to show that her ‘weakness’ was not being confident. Thank you, Marvel writers, for showing me that all I need is limitless abilities (including not being crushed in the vacuum of space) to get over my crushing self-doubts and alien-installed dampener on my neck.

Captain Marvel GIF by Marvel Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you see what I mean? I recognize my concerns and begin to understand when I compare women like Raya or Cpt. Marvel to female leads I do like.

Like, Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Katniss is sixteen, independent, and not very touchy-feely. Her superpower? Archery. Oh, and good survivalist instincts and knowledge.
Katniss is godlike in shooting arrows, described in Mockingjay as being able to bullseye multiple targets thrown into the air. She’s also able to recognize edible plants, find water, start fires, and kill children…. The only part of her character that irks me is her naivety to plans going on right under her nose –but, wouldn’t a sixteen-year-old be oblivious?
I love that Katniss’ instinct is to run and hide, sniveling, when danger rears its ugly head. She’s calculating, yet cares deeply. She’s human -a teenage human.

Jennifer Lawrence Aim GIF by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Another of the female powerhouses I love is Trinity from The Matrix film series.
Cool, powerful, strong, independent. Trinity makes everything looks awesome. Yet, she is also terrified. At times, she is vulnerable. My favorite, favorite scene is when she is lying on the ground, guns drawn, after flying through a window. She’s just run across rooftops after wiping out an entire police force and expects an Agent to break through and annihilate her at any second. Pistols pointed at the broken window, she grits her teeth and tells herself, “Get up, Trinity. Get. UP!”

Ready To Fight The Matrix GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

Why do some women leads bother me and others not? I think everyone is confused about what Girl Power means.

I’m a woman. I’m female. I grew up seeing girls choose dolls and friends; hearing girls talk about fingernail polish and cute boys; smelling girls spray fruity vanilla scents on each other and worrying over their hair. Even as a woman, I notice most other XX’s fretting at house decorating or “The Bachelor” or botox.

Me? I had Barbies with superpowers who went on adventures. I chewed my nails and thought boys were disgusting. I think ‘doing my hair’ is pulling it back in a ponytail. I wouldn’t be caught dead watching something as stupid as fake-dating for a supposed millionaire.

I want girls to be anything.

Buuuut, I also know that females have many physiological differences. They seem to gravitate toward certain tastes. Many share attributes like being nurturing, good at communicating, and -yes- arranging flowers well. Quite obviously, they are also the only ones able to make babies.

As we’ve emerged from a long history of mostly baby-making out into the limelight of higher education, politics, and management; we’re not sure what to do. We’re not sure what to encourage. Women who’ve obviously chosen home life are raising their daughters to choose the opposite. Petite movie directors and writers make their characters sound middle-aged, fly to other worlds, win in a deathmatch, and stand up to beefy-armed hirelings.

I guess that sells better than The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

What to do, then; what to do…

Here’s a simple takeaway: keep female characters believable. Keep them as good, reachable role models. Why do I hate Captain Marvel? No weakness; no humanity at all. Why do I love Katniss? Her go-to is to hide when things get difficult; to act irrationally. Why do I prefer Disney’s Moana over Raya? Practical physical limitations and age-appropriate behaviors. Why do I favor Trinity, even though she pushes some realism? Because she shows fear, uncertainty, jealousy, and deep emotion.

Women are complicated. Don’t make us impossible as well. Right?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

©2021 Chelsea Owens

Life, Depression, Breakdowns, and Blogging

Life’s crazy sometimes.

Actually, life’s pretty boring if you’re an adult stuck in-between events. Like in the film Groundhog Day, each morning brings the same alarm which leads to the same breakfast cereal which leads to the same commute which leads to the same workday which leads to the same after-workday and housework. Exciting changes come in the form of bills (yay!) and the dishwasher breaking (double-yay!)

Lately, however, change has come creeping around like the green mist in Charleton Heston’s The Ten Commandments. At the advice of leaders, people have closed their doors, painted the lintels with sanitizer, and plan to stay inside till respiratory failure passes over.

I do not know how the Coronavirus news affected you, but ours was neither Groundhog Day nor The Ten Commandments. Ours was more of an accidentally-released film that started out with Alfred Hitchcock suspense, then lost all funding and turned into whatever the actors could come up with on the fly. We then got action, horror, comedy, bad stunts, feel-good moments, and even subtitles for when the grocery store workers watched their display of canned vegetables disappear for the umpteenth time.

Seemingly some of the few doing this, Kevin and I viewed the previews for this bad movie and planned accordingly. Still; when I read about this and this and this closing whilst listening to my baby’s coughing from a bad cold whilst tasting that chocolate I ate that yet again broke my diet -whilst probably experiencing postpartum hormones…

I broke.

Life was too much.

Blogging and all it entails was too much.

I wrote my last epistle, forever, and logged off. After a day of consideration, I logged on and added a note so as not to scare anyone.

A side effect of all this is a new desire for more privacy in my thoughts and feelings, so I will not go into many details besides these few. Even this much information is more than I wish to explain regarding my sudden change and my dramatic withdrawal.

My go-to in life is to numb, but I’ve taken it too far. I’m in The Matrix. Furthermore, I’m Cypher, intentionally trying to get plugged in despite tasting the freedom of The Real World. In the absence of godlike powers of Kung Fu and Jiu Jitsu, I concluded that life will always be the repetitive lines of off-green code that dictate a pre-programmed outcome that I will never change.

But; some tiny, immature, insecure person is still inside. It was she who woke, stamped her foot, and told Older Me to knock it off. Stop numbing. Stop plugging into the internet. Start living.

She knows I want to feel again; to live again.

And so, there are going to be some changes around here. I must, for my health and my life, prioritize what is real. I must connect with my family. Heck -I must connect with my bedroom wall, getting my brain to realize the wall is really there and really cold and really really real.

If you are experiencing similar numbness or disassociation, call your therapist or psychologist or whateverist. It’s not sustainable. It’s not real. It’s NOT what you want.

…and we woke to earthquakes this morning. If it gets any more funtastic around here, you may not hear from me till next year.
—————-

Since I checked out last week, here are the past two weeks. Bonus!
Wednesday, March 4: Complained about WordPress’ issues in “Dammit, WordPress!

Thursday, March 5: Throwback Thursday: “Motivation.”

Friday, March 6: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to EVERYONE!

Saturday, March 7: Announced the 62nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest.

Sunday, March 8: Suffered a mental breakdown, and said, “Goodbye.”

Monday, March 9: An inspirational quote by Corrie Ten Boom.

March 10 – 12: Nothing.

Friday, March 13: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ellen!

Saturday, March 14: Announced the 63rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a limerick about hoarding during a catastrophe. PLEASE ENTER!

Also, I shared and featured my hope for how people are dealing with the COVID-19 scare.

Sunday, March 15: Nothing.

Monday, March 16: An inspirational quote by Terry Pratchett.

Tuesday, March 17: “Going Postal, I,” the first in a short series inspired by my postman.

Wednesday, March 18: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Super Parent or …Me?,” “Background Noises,” and “Oh, Baby.”

 

Photo Credit: GIPHY
Photo by Ekaterina Kartushina on Unsplash
Photo by Delaney Dawson on Unsplash
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash
Photo by Roland Hechanova on Unsplash

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Five Songs to Kick Your Confidence in the Rear

I love music. Music helps me think, feel, breathe, live. When I need to focus on running, I listen. When I need to tune out distractions and write, I listen. When I need to relax, I listen.

In the past, I wrote about songs that move me and songs that help me create. I therefore wish to delve into songs that kick my motivation in the rear and boost my self-confidence.

I think of them as my Girl Power Songs, Bad-A Ballads, or Power Playlists.

My first pick is songs from The Matrix soundtrack. That is because The Matrix is my power movie. I watched at least a part of it in college, every day that I needed a boost. The music is no less empowering.

Second on my motivational music playlist is Evanescence. Amy Lee is my kind of singer, combining classical powerhouse with near-death metal grunge. This is the sort of song I know the words to and sing/yell along to every time.

Third brings us into the first of my adult choices. I listen to a variety of music, but only like a handful of rap. Maybe a few fingers-worth, actually. I’d be no sort of music-lover without Eminem’s “Mom’s Spaghetti”* making my list.

Not far behind is Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy.” Also not one I can turn up around the kids; it’s still one of my top motivational songs.

Last for this truncated list are dubstep playlists. I particularly love having a fast-paced final number for my last lap or final aerobics set. This remix of “Turn Down for What” is perfect for just that.

Do you listen to music when you need a boost? What are some of your upbeat favorites? Do you turn them up and yell along?

—————-

The following were written without the aid of music, due to the presence of small children:
Wednesday, July 31: Wrote “All We Are is Dollars in a Wallet.”

Thursday, August 1: Answered Mathew’s questions in “Another Liebster Thingie.”

Friday, August 2: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce!

Saturday, August 3: Announced the 37th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a free verse of whatever subject you choose. PLEASE ENTER! Tell your friends! Tell your enemies!

Sunday, August 4: Shared Norah Colvin’s interview with me about school day reminiscences.

Also, “Song, For One,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, August 5: An inspirational quote by Neil Gaiman.

Tuesday, August 6: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Nine.”

Wednesday, August 7: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “The Dishes and Other Evils,” “The Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome,” and “Five Minutes Later.”

 

*Yes, I know its real name is “Lose Yourself.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Mrs. Owens

Agent Smith

As you can see, some bloggers have been reading my posts for some time now. I admit, however, to writing on two blogs. In one site; I am Chelsea Owens, freelance blogger for my own whims and devices. I have a registered URL, I pay an annual fee, and I respond to people commenting on my garbage.

The other life is lived on James Edgar Skye, where I go by the alias of …Chelsea Owens, and am guilty of indulging in every idea regarding mental illness my personal experience allows for.

Whether either of these lives has a future or not, is irrelevant.

Part of me believes that I’m wasting my time writing about this, but I believe you wish to understand a few things. I’m willing to write a parody of a Matrix interrogation scene, give new visitors a fresh start on navigating; and all I’m asking is your cooperation in following along with my winding train of thought.

At some point in the blogging process, I was followed by Skye. Many of my posts before that point touched on mental issues; say, like futility involving procrastination, frustrations involving housework and an inattentive husband, or poetic breakdowns inside my head.

I’ve noticed a personal decrease in posts involving mental conditions since contributing a few posts in my other site. Perhaps those who find me over here, from there, are disappointed. Advice regarding blogs is usually to keep to only one subject.

I’d hate, however, for readers to experience déja-vu.


via GIPHY

That, and I want to write without limits; “without rules or controls, borders or boundaries.” I aim to create in “a world where anything is possible.”

And that, confused followers, is why you will find such a hodgepodge of expression over here.

“I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. …Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

The real world is a place of myriad lifestyles, environments, perspectives, and ages. Even our personal mindset evolves over time. Variety is more than a spice of life; it’s the constant throughout our lives.

So, go on; have some variety.

The Oracle

And keep reading.

 

All quotes and parody material obsequiously taken from The Matrix.

Which Side Will Ye Choose?

Introspection has left me a bit concerned.

It comes from Disney movies, really. Those seemingly innocent graphical displays for children planted a seed in my developing years, one that was never really meant to flower or even grow. This is because the packets I was attracted to, amid the vast array of smiling Princess Tulips and Prince Charming Roses, were always those meant to shrivel and die.

I speak of The Villains.

Just think: if they were to be represented by some sort of vegetation, would it be a healthy variety? A pleasant green thing? A flower?

Rafflesia
“The Rafflesia is considered one of the ugliest flowers in the world and on top of that, it smells like rotting meat… It feeds on other plants to survive.”

Maybe the sort of healthy, living thing that could EAT YOU.

No, villains are the scapegoat. They’re the blame for good, noble characters ever needing to do something questionable. Unfortunately, they must also suffer the worst typecasting, character motivations, and evil characteristics.

Does one really need a maniacal laugh to be considered for the job?

Strangely, I am not attracted to villains because of concern for any of these things. I’m not out to get them sympathy, a decent backstory, and equal rights. I’m pretty sure I like the dark side because it’s awesome.

I threw Disney under the bus initially because those are the earliest memories I have of being drawn to the films’ antagonists instead of the ones I’m supposed to like. I’m talking Maleficent, Snow White’s stepmother, or Mad Mad Mad Mad Madam Mim.

Maleficent of the 1959 animated film is so purely cliché, but this doesn’t phase me. I can only respect a villain who is clearly evil for evil’s sake; bestowing a curse, cackling, destroying her own minions, and transforming to a dragon to finally kill that pesky prince.

As one can imagine, my aberrant obsession has just gotten worse over the years.

I’ve been drawn to The Goblin King of Labyrinth, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, and Darth Maul of Star Wars, Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Really, though, one can’t blame me when it’s David Bowie, Tim Curry, and Ray Park we’re talking about.

Maul
Darth Maul, himself

I like Qui-Gon. Really. And I knew Obi-Wan was supposed to live long enough to instruct a whiny Luke in the future. But couldn’t Darth Maul have lived longer than a few double light saber scenes as well?

I think I’ve gotten distracted.

Ah, yes: my distractions. In my defense, I am not drawn to lame villains. You can keep your Ursula, Jafar, Gaston, Yzma, Prince John, Governor Ratcliffe, Judge Frollo and the like. In adult films; I just can’t enjoy Raoul Silva, The Merovingian, or Richmond Valentine.

Are you thinking of pointing out a redeeming characteristic of mine? One that involves me clearly thinking a bad guy is cool only when he is? Maybe I like the ones that have something likeable so that is my motivation?

If so, thank you. BUT, the problem is that I do not like the hero in most films. If it’s likeability that draws me in, shouldn’t I extend that attribute across to the brighter side of things? I’m sorry; good guys just aren’t that interesting to me. Woohoo, they did the boring thing and saved the day -right? Yay.

As such, one might bring up Ocean’s ElevenThe Italian Job, or Batman in general. No luck. Even “heroes” who break the law, and are therefore villainous, don’t quite do it for me.

I can’t help but feel a fangirl crush at the sight of a depressed, conflicted, powerful soul. He or she destroys the weak, one-sided protagonist with a cleverly-contrived trap. Then, he turns to the camera and intelligently delivers his Monologue of Evil with a British accent.

Maybe I just need to watch more foreign films?

Or, maybe I am -as I suspect- slightly evil?

peter-forster-373964-unsplash
unsplash-logoPeter Forster

The Blue-Green Pill

Glasses

“You take the red pill, …and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Some small part inside me loves Morpheus’ challenge: Do you have what it takes to see and accept the truth? While others might settle back down on the couch, chewing another handful of Cheetos, I foolishly stand.

Truth is a deep motivator for me. I cannot be fully religious because of this, by the definitions of many sects. I squeeze under the radar of my current denomination, by telling myself I trust it will all be cosmically explained someday.

My rational voice, upset by a few years of Atheism, plays Devil’s Advocate (ironically). It warns that no explanation will come when I cease to exist.

Why bring up such things? This is where my mind goes; this is the side effect of swallowing the left-hand option.

Surely my mindset, worldview, and even depression are Truth. They are me, as much as my blood type or detached earlobes. I need to be true to myself, to accept myself, and -above all- to not smother my emotional expression.

And yet… my daily red dosage has somehow morphed to a less-swallowable shape.

I noticed a slightly misshapen quality when I began listening to a counselor. “Your core is never negative,” she told me. Furthermore, she said my depressive reactions and tendencies were all learned behaviors.

I read self-help books on the subjects of happiness and self-esteem. They made valid points as well; like, that people honestly can raise their baseline of happiness.

However, all the psychological affirmations and literary anecdotes in the world were not enough. With or without seeking Truth, it came anyway. It laughed at my hopes and optimisms as I repeatedly returned to the dark corner of my mind.

On Facebook, I wrote the following:

When I spoke fluttering lies and raised my smiling mask, I cried inside.
But you didn’t know.

I tried to write about sunshine, as my heart grew ever overcast.
You didn’t look between the lines.

I sat in my small, shadowed corner at home, as you visited each other and laughed.
And didn’t care.

Sometimes I curiously contemplate the world without me there. Surely my departure will cause a ripple somewhere.
Instead, you’ll stand with the friends you always do, and say, “I didn’t know.”
And forget what was never known.

I got a few internet hugs in response. I felt morosely validated that, yes, they did not care.

The problem is that there is no red pill. We cannot be freed from our minds, because we are delicately and intricately attached to them. And, Truth is always, always affected by our perceptions.

Had real-life Neo entered my counselor’s office with me, he may have been given a third option: a doctor’s referral.

I’ve been dreading medical intervention for years; assuming, as I said earlier, that I would lose myself. I also assumed I would only ever have the option of anti-depressant, horrible-side-effect, me-changing medication.

Instead, I have been offered the blue-green pill.

It’s a small dose of seratonin: popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

I’ve swallowed it once daily for the last three weeks. I thought there to be no difference, but my husband disagreed. Given that I’ve had only one depressive episode since first taking it, he may be right.

In fact, I have been able to think in a manner that is less depressive just this weekend -a first for me. I attended a few social events Friday and Saturday; and did not feel the lingering effects of my usual, self-critical social hangover.

I feel able to agree with and utilize the strategies outlined, previously, by my paid friend and the self-help book.

I see, now, the red pill was the placebo all along. To change my life for the better I needed a new perspective -not some supposed Truth. It could not come from only me, however, since I stand a few feet lower in the ground than others.

Are you, like me, sunk in the Swamps of Sadness? Affirmation will not work. Get someone to look at all your options. Even if the dry ground you need is found through heavier medications, I can now say it’s worth it.