Small, But Mighty
The last couple of blogs, and the ones for the next couple of weeks, have been prepped/written and contemplated ahead of time. Historically, summers have been intense for our family—no matter what the rest of the world is going through—and this one is no different.
Lots of health issues in lots of folks.
Lots of hours logged on the road and in the waiting areas of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Lots and lots.
So, in anticipation of my “predicted life-on-hold roll,” I’m writing ahead. So, if the content doesn’t seem to match what you know about my “real-time life,” this is why.
Earlier this summer, the hubs and I managed some time to hunt around at a few garage sales. Problem: In early summer, my allergies are still an issue, and, given everyone’s fear of sniffles, sneezes, and flushed faces, I did manage to scare a few folks—no matter my twelve-foot distance from everyone I came across.
One such allergy spell crept up on me in a stranger’s driveway, and, as it would happen, I did find a singular item of interest. It cost a whopping 25 cents. One whole quarter.
In between sneezes, I shoved the item and the quarter into my husband’s hands, demanded he pay for it, while I ran back to our vehicle lest someone chase me down the drive and bathe me in Lysol while calling in the nearest HazMat team.
“Really? Are you sure you need this?” He called after me. Desperation tainted his voice.
I shot him that over-the-shoulder-glare-with-head-tilt that only 25 years of marriage to the same human can produce. I didn’t need to use my words. He understood completely my desire for that 25-cent object.
His shoulders slumped, and I continued to the car as he tromped back to the checkout gal who likely would have rather us rob her of the item as opposed to touch our filthy coin.
Back in the car, air conditioning blasting, allergy leakage properly taken care of, and breath caught, hubby opens the door, slides in, and hands me my prize. “You’ve no idea the looks I got. I can’t believe you made me do that.”
I grinned. “I can only imagine. They likely believe you live in your mother’s basement.”
Then I placed the 10.5-inch-tall cardboard standup cutout of my childhood hero above the sun visor and we took off.
In this instance, she’s small, but mighty. Mighty enough to bring a grown man to embarrassment at a garage-sale checkout.
A small, but mighty image powerful enough to conjure up many happy memories of childhood playdates with imaginary friends, golden lasso of truth and bullet-proof bracelets and boomerang tiara. Well. The adventures were endless.
My Little Miss Muse, also small but mighty, now sits in the corner more than a tick miffed as I position my little hero’s cutout next to the monitor. I explain to my Muse about the ins and outs of jealousy. Of envy. “No, Little Miss. She’s not taking your place as my muse. She’s just a reminder.”
“She doesn’t even wear purple.” Swirls and puffs of grape-scented glitter fall from Little Miss’s arms as she throws them up in exasperation. “Nothing about her is purple. I don’t see a lighter, either.” She squints at the cutout.
“That’s why you’re my Muse and she’s just a small reminder.”
“What can she possibly remind you of?” Little Miss takes a gulp of her lavender lemonade as she twirls a bottle rocket in the other hand. I must tread carefully now… she’s about to pull out her amethyst-bedazzled lighter—and we’re sitting indoors.
I think for a moment. Of all those invisible adventures as a child and the break they gave me from real life. Of the real-life adult “adventure” I’m on now with family and responsibilities and the world drowning in uncertainty…
I form the words carefully. The lighter is out and Little Miss is flick, flick, flicking the flame very close to the tip of the fuse.
“That she’s Wonder Woman… and I am not,” I say softly.
I’m not Wonder Woman. Not even close.
I don’t have to be everything to everybody all the time.
I don’t have to discern whether someone is telling the truth.
I don’t have to stop flying bullets.
And though I would like to take off in an invisible jet, I don’t have to travel to and fro fighting forces of evil, apathy, or stupidity, either.
“She’s Wonder Woman. I am not.” This time with a little more force. And I actually believe it.
So does Little Miss, who sets her bottle rocket aside and pulls out the sparkler that she uses to keep her purple curls in a bun. Her hair spills over her shoulders in violet waves, her little imp wings wriggle behind her. She flicks the Zippo one last time. The spark takes and she aims the spitting wand at me. “You ready to get to work? I’ve got a great idea…”
A big smile winds up her cheeks. It’s contagious. I smile now, something I’ve not done nearly enough of lately. A glorious scene, faint at first, then as crystal clear as an Amazonian lake, floods into my mind. My fingers fly over the keyboard while my small—but mighty—Little Miss Muse plays conductor, waving her sparkler from the top of my monitor.
Sorry, DC Comics, for taking your copyrighted character on so many adventures and never giving you nor the original creator due credit.
I’m giving credit to you now.
Thanks, Mr. William Moulton Marston. Your 1940’s creation gave a tiny, fragile little kid in the 1980’s something powerful to hang her daydreams on.
And that’s no small feat.