Womyn's Herstory--my first s/hero

I stole this idea from the Irish Goddess. She has a couple of wonderful posts about women who have influenced her--you should check it out!

Mama tells me that from the age of four until I was six or so, I used to stand on the picnic table in our back yard and enact a specific scene. "Ladies and Gentlemen," I would holler, "MISS JUDY GAARRLANDDD!" I would then applaud wildly while I took my stand in front of the imaginary microphone to sing "Stormy Weather," or "Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe," or any one of my many other favorite songs.

I do remember that my first purchase of a record album was a Judy Garland disk (I still have it), and I was inconsolable when she died. And I can still do a mean "Stormy Weather."

Am I saying that Garland was a feminist icon? No, of course not.

But Judy Garland was my introduction to a powerful woman who allowed her power to destroy her. It was her passion and her vulnerability that made her a great singer; it was her passion and vulnerability (and lack of control) that led to her death.


Living in the earth-deposits of our history

Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate.

Today I was reading about Marie Curie:

she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified

It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
her wounds came from the same source as her power.

Adrienne Rich

A life lived without passion and the power that comes from it is not a life worth living. What is the answer? I don't know. Balance? A connection with Source? Finding a community? I try for all these things. But I will not sacrifice passion.


K. said…
Great topic idea. I love Judy. I discovered her through my father, who of course had a mad crush on her as a boy. We watched The Wizard of Oz together every year, of course, and later the movies with Mickey Rooney. She was so beautiful and so tragic and I think you've captured the essence of it perfectly, here.
Zenmomma said…
I loved Judy too. I remember watching her show with my parents.
These are important questions you're asking.
Mike Golch said…
I used to enjoy watching Judy Garland's show as well.and yes I'm that young!
a. beaverhausen said…
In the summer of 1976 I was working at Six Flags Over Texas and reading "Over the Rainbow", Judy Garland's autobiography, during my dinner breaks. That book totally captivated me.
Cheri said…
You said it just right. Balance. Connection. Community. Passion. All are sources of power, and perhaps each is necessary so power does not destroy.
Sojourner said…
Never been a huge fan of Judy myself- though I never missed a year of watching "The Wizard of Oz" as a child. I certainly appreciate her voice more now as an adult. But I have a bit of an aversion to the tragic types.

Passion combined with balance, community and connection with source are the things which make life worth living in my book. It is a daily striving for me.

Thanks KJ
Scout said…
There is something to be said for balance, and if Judy Garland had a different childhood and had more self-control, she might not have died so soon and so unnecessarily. But someone like Marie Curie--I don't think she would have done a single thing differently. And dying doing something you feel so passionately about is so much more important than self-preservation.
JCK said…
Great questions! Never give up the passion. It is VITAL. Well, in my opinion.

Hey I'm still reeling over you meeting Gloria Steinem!
Isn't this almost Elliot Spitzer like? Our greatest gift, our most important asset, is also the Achilles Heel.
we_be_toys said…
I've always loved Judy Garland! She opens her mouth and I'm just a puddle of ecstatic goo!

The part you wrote about Madame Curie sounded like a poem - was it? did I miss that? I loved it, nonetheless.
Grandy said…
Excellent choice in heroes. Thanks for the background info.
Irish Goddess said…
OH, and Adrienne Rich? Devine.

Popular posts from this blog

Eight Years and Counting

Poetry: Leslie Norris

The B Word