Category Archives: heroines

Wonder Woman

I’ve recently tapped into my ancient love of Wonder Woman. She was my hero, my goddess, my role-play when I was 8. I wanted to be her, look like her, run around and catch the bad guys with my lasso of truth. She was beautiful and strong and totally awesome. She flew an invisible plane for crying out loud. And Major Steve Trevor… sigh.

I’m not 8 anymore but she’s still a strong reference point for me. I look back to her as my first real role model of badass. However I do have to admit, that the rekindled love for Wonder Woman honestly is about her kickin’ bod. Truth be told. I’m on a fitness regime to whip my couch potato, laptop writing ass back into shape now that I’m technically “over 40”. 41 to be exact. I’m not sure I ever really looked like Wonder Woman even in my 20s. Well… maybe for a hot minute but it was short lived. Ah the good old days… Nevertheless, I’d give my right arm to look like her now. I’m kinda there, just not as sleek, or tall. I’ve been running again and I love it. And sometimes it’s good to set role model up for you to strive for both visually and psychologically.


All that is fun and in good humor. The truth is–– I run because I feel empowered when I do it, not really because I want a hot bod like Wonder Woman. That’s just a side-effect bonus. The running gives me a release from the tension, anger and frustration of the day. I’m not running from the problems, rather running through them. It affords me time to work things out in my mind. To plot, to scheme. To rage. It’s meditative. The footfalls, the pattern, the driving music behind me. My mind can elevate to a higher state of consciousness, which I always liken to something my 19th century Romantic Lit professor referenced as Wordsworth’s “Spots of time”. There are moments of clarity when an activity or a feeling is so perfect that the moment transcends reality. We are so in tune to what is occurring, the movement, the air, the feelings and emotions that we are elevated in, out and through the moment to almost hover above and look down on it with a sense of greater understanding. We are connected to it in a way that cannot happen when grounded corporeally. It is a state of mind that becomes physical and in essence heals.

There are in our existence spots of time,

That with distinct pre-eminence retain

A renovating virtue, whence-depressed

By false opinion and contentious thought,

Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,

In trivial occupations, and the round

Of ordinary, intercourse –– our minds

Are nourished and invisibly repaired;

A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,

That penetrates, enables us to mount,

When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.

                                                                        ~The Prelude 12.208-218, Wordsworth

I find that this inner mediation helps drive me further. In my struggle to be as badass as I can be, I comprehend the world around me differently. I want control yet there are many things, most things actually, that I cannot control. Situations and circumstances that are beyond my scope of effectiveness. This frustration seeps into daily life if not expelled. The running is the release, the meditation on the aspect, the working through it in my mind and the physical release of endorphins that make me feel good about the decisions I’ve come to. In essence, I am a warrior in training. While I fight the good fight to stay true to my beliefs, I am on a path to make myself strong, both mentally and physically. I am in a constant journey of balance.

Sculpture or a Wounded Amazon Warrior, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sculpture or a Wounded Amazon Warrior, Metropolitan Museum of Art

I channel Wonder Woman’s strength, beauty and set her up as an icon––a goal to strive for and obtain. Wonder Woman was an Amazon. A Greek warrior goddess. Her creators at DC named her alter ego Diana. Make no mistake they chose that on purpose, Diana, Mother Earth, warrior goddess. The huntress. Amazons were bold, fierce warriors. They fought along side and against men, deeply committed to their tribe and society. They farmed, traded, studied and governed on their own as powerful women. They chose to be with men not because they needed them to provide, but because they wanted their companionship. When I said I’d give my right arm to look like Wonder Woman, it brings up an interesting piece of trivia. Amazons were reported to have cut off or even burned off their developing right breast before sexual maturity to strengthen the fighting arm and make it easier to shoot a bow. Now that is true commitment to the warrior sisterhood.

I am committed to this journey of both badassness and strength. It’s a mental and physical quest. As I regain my power, I can tackle things that are more difficult. I can perceive the world around me in a different light.  I can channel that into my writing and draw from that insight. These days I will slay with a pen and my fierce words. I will be the Amazon and huntress of my own world. And I will hold Wonder Woman up as the face of that.

Go forth and experience your own spot of time.



"Badass" International Women’s Day, March 8th

Considering that I celebrate and cherish badass female characters, I figured I should probably do my due diligence and write a post about International Women’s Day, March 8th. Of course I’m late to the party, but whatever. Every day is Women’s Day in my universe. Personally, I find it ridiculous that we even need to have an “official” day to acknowledge fantastic, intelligent, glorious women. Haven’t we grown past the ignorant beliefs of inequality for all people yet? Maybe not because there is still the mindset out there by many that women are less than <<insert a plethora of assumptions here>>. So yeah, maybe we need to stand up and recognize women in all their glory.

I decided to think on this a little before I wrote, which is sometimes a rarity for me because I tend to be very off the cuff about my observations. I didn’t want to sound like I was talking out of my ass, because really how badass would it be to go out there and spout wisdoms that make no sense? Not so much. As writer, I want strong female characters, not because they’re female, but because they’re interesting. They have flaws and make mistakes but persevere despite them and maybe because of them. Being a badass goes hand in hand with kicking ass and taking names, but it’s really about inner truth, inner strength to face what life offers us and making it through the challenges that are presented to us. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. There are real women out there doing it every day. Real women who know who they are, honor their inner demons and turn that adversity into power. I chose four women, both dead and alive, who I admire for a variety of reason but mostly because of their inner strength and they way they live/d their lives.

Four Real Life Badasses in no particular order:

Pat Summitt is the winningest female basketball coach of all time. She is Women’s Basketball Head Coach Emeritus for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols program. Her challenging, “take no prisoners” and “give every ounce of your passion” style brought her teams and players to esteemed recognition at a time when women’s sports were in their infancy. She carried on a tradition of excellence that inspired female athletes to break barriers and look deep within themselves to find courage, strength and fortitude. After 38 years and numerous championships, wins and statistics, she retired and announced her beginning struggle with Alzheimers. It’s hard to not stand there and say what a tragedy it is that such a great mind, full of strategy and tough nurturing, will be lost to us. It’s hard to not feel like someone so influential will be taken from us when we need people like her to keep us going––to help us believe in our own strengths  But in truth, she’s already set the foundation. Her legacy lives on in the players’ lives she’s touched and the people like me, who’ve never played a sport, but know and admire her for the kind of person she is and all that she’s achieved.

Katherine Hepburn was a trailblazer in a time when beautiful women were looked at as soft sex symbols and an illusion of what women were supposed to be. She was brassy with her deep, gravelly voice, her beauty equally as seductive as Rita Hayworth’s, but she eschewed conventions. She wore trousers when all women were wearing nylons and skirts, she played men’s sports like golf, smoked cigars, said whatever she wanted and carried on the most famous extramarital affair in Hollywood history. For 26 years, she loved Spencer Tracy and hid it from the scrutiny of the world. They were deeply in love yet maintained separate houses and were very careful to not be seen in public together. She never pushed him for a divorce nor did she want to be married again. She was quoted in her biography saying that she “liked the idea of being my own single self”. In a time where women were supposed to be married and have a family, she remained fiercely independent. Even today, most women would classify her as a pariah and a home wrecker. She wasn’t. Tracy’s marriage had been a broken one for many, many years before he even met her. And seriously, if an independent woman can take care of herself and is strong in the notion of who she is, why be married to a man if it’s clear he loves you? Any woman who’s been married knows that having a husband around 24/7 is an issue unto itself. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, especially when he’s not under-feet and pissing you off. Kate knew that, understood that and lived her life as her life. She did what she wanted and didn’t care how she was perceived.

Hillary Rodham Clinton. In contrast to Hepburn, here is the most publicly “embarrassed”, cheated on woman of the late 20th century. Yet, she and Tammy Wynette, stood by their man. Valiant or stupid? Who cares. Hillary is a woman of resources, unending strength, determination and fortitude. Was a woman of her character and drive really going to let her horndog of a husband make her look like an idiot? No. I would bet dollars to doughnuts those two have some kind of ironclad agreement. Probably had for years before the whole BJ scandal happened. Of course that’s just my speculation, not anything steeped in fact. But, I believe that people of money and power live by a different set of values/beliefs/social mores. Whatever you want to call it, they conduct themselves, differently. She had a goal, a clear vision of where she wanted her life to go. She wanted it all and had the intelligence, ambition and wherewithal to do it. She was one of the three most powerful women of our lifetime, in esteemed company with Madeleine Albright and Condoleeza Rice. As Secretary of State, she held the most powerful position in our government next to the President. She was the face of foreign affairs and a critical advisor to President Obama in a time where the Middle East, notorious for their debasement of women, was and still is in tumultuous upheaval. While the country may not have been ready for a woman to rule the world, in many ways she still made her mark on it in a powerful way. For thirty years, she’s been on our radar and a forerunner of change in politics  It is not the good ol’ boys club it used to be. One day there will be a female president, and she will have Hillary to thank for burning out the trail to get there.

Jane Austen was a trailblazer in her own right, in a time where women had no means to do anything. They were not citizens, had no say in the course of their lives and couldn’t own property. They were for all intents and purposes at the mercy of men. A young woman was expected to marry, birth children and take care of the household. Their morality was a reflection on their husband, their beauty a benefit to his wealth and her dowery, or rather what his financial gain from the marriage, a selling point in a union not based on love but monetary gain. How romantic. Yet, Austen wrote of love and passion hidden and buried deep within strict social customs and expectations. She was a great observer of the human condition, like Shakespeare before her. She understood her society with a clarity that set her apart from many of the women of her time. While her novels are mostly about young women and the men they fall in love with despite the challenges of their society and social levels, they celebrate women as passionately intelligent beings. Elizabeth Bennet and her outspoken demeanor, Elinor Dashwood and her steadfast determination to do the right thing, Fanny Price’s faithfulness to her beliefs and her love despite being dirt poor. While Austen herself never married and remained under the protection of her family, she continued to explore the possibilities of love conquering all. And in the long run, she did what hardly any young woman of her time did, she published actual books. Written tomes of beloved literature that transcend centuries of change yet still speak to the nature of the human mind and heart.

Every woman has the potential to be who and what they want to be. We are trained in society to believe certain things, thin=beauty, smart=agressive, independence=aloofness. The only way to break a mold is to shatter it, change the inner perception of what it means to be a woman. Take vulnerability and compassion and make that a strength. Use intellect and strategy to achieve a goal even if its only important to you. Love yourself in spite of your flaws, perceived or real. Be a badass and a master of your own path. We only have one life to live. Celebrate being a woman who deserves to live it.


Irish Chic with a Chip on Her Shoulder

Ok it’s been a while since I’ve submitted another entry into the badass database but I was seriously lacking inspiration with the poor selection of badass women out there on television lately. But now that Burn Notice is back from its fall hiatus, I am once again inspired by the incomparable Fiona Glenanne.

She is the woman every girl dreams she can be: equal parts super hero, sassy, sexy, say anything, blow up things when you’re pissed off complete badass chic.

Since the very beginning of the guilty pleasure that Burn Notice is, Fiona has been once kick ass first and take names later kinda gal. She shoots from the hip, knows her way around household chemicals – not to clean the kitchen floor but to make a bomb that can clean your clock better than a small pack of C4. And lets face it, she’s a fashion plate. Half the outfits she runs around in make you wonder if they have to duct tape it to her body so those flimsy little shirts stay on. Nevertheless, her long flowing hair and her high-heeled wedges makes her one sexy babe.

One of the things I totally love about her is that she’s no spring chicken. Gabrielle Anwar is 42 and a mother of three. I don’t think I had abs like hers when I was 8 let alone after kids.  Even though she’s a tiny little thing, she’s a brick shithouse. She is rock-solid lean muscle, golden tan skin and lithe like a panther. She carries herself with such confidence that you can’t help but believe that her character used to be part of the IRA when she met the love of her life, undercover CIA agent, Michael Weston.

The best parts about Fiona is that she’s a maniac. She is a great foil for Michael in the sense that she adds a level of crazy to the already insane things they undertake in the name of justice. Michael’s crazy, there’s no doubt. Sam’s his crazy sidekick and now Jesse has an element of loco to him that adds comic relief to an already balls-to-the-wall funfest. The boys come up with some wild plans but Fiona’s often the one that wants to go in guns-a-blazing, hell on wheels, collateral damage be damned. The guys are the ones that have to rein her in. She’s an explosives expert. Knows her guns like she knows her shoes, maybe better. And has no problem walking right in a punching a guy in the nose to cause a diversion. She uses her sexuality as just another tool in her arsenal and wields it like a weapon. Heaven help the bastard who crosses her path.

Her greatest vulnerability is Michael. She’s loved him since he broke her heart in Ireland. She’s only ever wanted to be with him yet he frustrates her beyond belief. His greatest desire is to find out who burned him. He never expects her to come along for the ride but she refuses to let him do it alone, no matter how much she tries to talk him out of it. He never sees her side and does what he wants anyway but her loyalty to him makes her follow him because if he died without her, she would never be able to live with herself. As the seasons progress, she matures a little, settles into her life in Miami and with Michael. She’s come to terms with her role in his life. It also helps that Michael’s finally realized he can’t live with out her and they are now in an official relationship. She’s even earned an upgrade in the teaser voice over from “trigger-happy ex-girlfriend” to “trigger-happy girlfriend”. Things are looking up in her world.

I think her letter to Michael as she turns herself into the authorities at the end of Season 5 sums up how she perceives their relationship best:

“I loved you. Before I should have, I trusted you. Because I’ve always known your heart. You do what’s right no matter the cost to you. And I’ve learned that when you love a spy, you have to be willing to make that sacrifice too. At times your job has made it hard to be with you, but it’s never shaken my faith in you.”

It’s beautiful and poignant and heartbreaking. The anguish in Michael’s face as he realizes she’s sacrificed herself for him yet again. I think it’s a turning point for him. He’s finally faced with just how much he’s taken her for granted and how much he needs her to be complete. Now that he’s rescued her in season 6, he’s still driven by the need to avenge, but he does it with her as his partner. He consults her and considers her family. She feels accepted and while she’s come to terms with his career she still hopes for a life without it.

While she’s clearly the love-interest-eye-candy to that hunk of man in the testosterone fest, Fiona’s a great example of a woman who can hold her own with the men, do it while still looking like a hottie, and not break a nail as she cocks her shotgun before she blasts you away. She’s a woman you want on your side in an argument, because you don’t want to be on the wrong end of her Irish temper. You might get a spark plug projectile in the eye.


Guest Post: Stella MT

Here’s a guest post from my friend and sometimes critique partner (when she’s not working on her doctoral program – sheesh, can’t she just find a few hours to squeeze little old me in?) Stella MT from The Great Big Jump. She’s been a great supporter of this blog and has some wise “You go girl” insights. I’m honored that she wanted to dabble in the badassery and examine when some femme characters fall short of that right. But, she changed her mind midstream and this is what she came up with. Please enjoy!

Stella MT’s Post:
Originally, I had set out to write a funny article about network TV procedurals and their lack of convincingly bad-ass female characters, which could be attributed to several different factors that affect TV and film writing in general. I had it all planned out: who to snark on, who to blame, what could have been.

Then the news of Nora Ephron’s death broke out all over the Internet.

I admit that, outside of her most popular movies (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, even You’ve Got Mail and Julie and Julia), I’ve never really considered Nora Ephron as a “girl power” icon; all I know is that she’s a superb writer with a lifetime’s worth of snappy anecdotes to share, and I wish I had been able to truly develop my appreciation of her work before she passed away.

And yet, as the news of her passing flooded my timeline on Twitter, I found myself reading Ephron’s commencement speech at Wellesley College in 1996, where she spoke as an alumna of the school:

Many of my classmates did exactly what they were supposed to when they graduated from Wellesley, and some of them, by the way, lived happily ever after. But many of them didn’t. All sorts of things happened that no one expected. […] The women’s movement came along and made harsh value judgments about their lives—judgments that caught them by surprise, because they were doing what they were supposed to be doing, weren’t they? The rules had changed, they were caught in some kind of strange time warp. They had never intended to be the heroines of their own lives, they’d intended to be—what?—First Ladies, I guess, first ladies in the lives of big men. They ended up feeling like victims. They ended up, and this is really sad, thinking that their years in college were the best years of their lives.

What does this passage have to do with good writing? 

Put it simply, a good story often begins with the choice that must be made by a character in response to an unexpected and difficult situation.  In the case of most female protagonists, the “unexpected” could be as simple as a bad breakup (see: Rachel Green in Friends and Jess Day in New Girl) or as overwhelming as working for an office that might as well be a frat house (see also: Brenda Lee Johnson in The Closer and Ziva David in NCIS).  These moments are filled with the realization that things will never be the way it used to be: all of the sudden, there’s no going back to the old house, the previous branch, the trust that was broken by that lying piece of shit.  Survival, in one form or another, becomes the name of the game.

And yet, not all female protagonists get to become heroines in their own stories.

I look again at all the characters I set out to mock, and it becomes clear to me that they were intended to be strong and sexy in their own way: handy with a gun, easy on the eyes, tough enough to turn the tables on a perp yet sensitive enough to do everything they can for the ones they truly love, be it their messed-up families or the team of crime-fighters in their squad. Yet, as time went on, I found that they’ve only become less compelling as time went on: sure, it may be “realistic” to show our heroines not getting their way, but does it always have to happen on a regular basis? It’s already bad enough to be stonewalled by bureaucrats and left in the dark by lovers and family members… but do they also have to be tortured by psychos every other season, too?

It’s as if the creators of their respective shows are trying to tell us, over and over again, that any woman who chooses to take the bad guys down has chosen a life of martyrdom. Choose that journey, they say, and you will be doomed to a lifetime of trust issues, bad sex, substance abuse, and abandonment from nearly every single person that you’ve ever loved. You may be strong enough for this, they’ll say, but you’ll never be a hero… not even to your own self.


In a way, characters like these are marks of lazy storytelling – and the writers are partly at fault for the inconsistency – but, from my point of view, the repercussions may be more serious than we think. At a time when the entertainment industry has gone completely global, these shows are now shown all over the world, in different cycles, and in every possible language. And not only that, but there is a major chance that these shows – and stories – are being watched, right now, by viewers in countries where women don’t have the same rights and privileges that we have in our comfortable corners of the world.

Is this the message we want to send to the rest of the world: that, even in a democracy, there is no point for an educated woman to stand up and lead the charge against injustice? Is it fair for everyone else to think that the only stories we have to tell about our women – all women – are the ones where they have to do only what is expected, if they want to survive without being victimized?

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that a true heroine would never choose to live her life like this.

A true heroine, in my opinion, does not need to blame “the system” for her lack of initiative. She doesn’t have to dress up and go to work: she chooses to dress up and go to work, every day, because choosing otherwise would only make her more restless. She doesn’t always make the best decisions, but she takes responsibility for all of them, and finds a little humor in every situation. She may have to work a little harder to get some respect, but she will earn it – win or lose – and the guys in the office better recognize if they knew what’s best for them. 
And while it may be possible for her to “have it all” – good looks, great job, wicked skills, maybe a family and/or a nice house – a true heroine knows where the reallines are drawn in the first place. Cute shoes are a luxury, the right connections are a privilege… but truth, love, justice, peace of mind? Those are non-negotiable rights, and our heroine will fight for them, to the bitter end.

Which then brings us, once again, to Nora Ephron, and her message to the Class of ’96 at Wellesley:

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. Because you don’t have the alibi my class had—this is one of the great achievements and mixed blessings you inherit: Unlike us, you can’t say nobody told you there were other options. […] Did I say it was hard? Yes, but let me say it again so that none of you can ever say the words, nobody said it was so hard. But it’s also incredibly interesting. You are so lucky to have that life as an option.

Right or wrong – and regardless of who gets to run “the show” – a true heroine gets to choose her own destiny. And that is always a story worth telling, for all time. 


Badass for Armageddon

Margaret, or “Maggie”, Falling Skies
I love Falling Skies. There’s something so inherently real about it. Yeah sure, the idea of aliens and space travel aside, what would actually happen if the Earth were invaded by a violent race? Would human beings be able to put aside our differences and unite to fight for our home? I’ve often wondered if we could bring it down to the core fundamentals of what it means to be human or if we’ve grown too self-aggrandizing to change. We are supremely stratified as a culture, in America alone. Across the world, even more so. In fact, I just saw an MSNBC show on a security company that fortifies billionaire’s homes with panic rooms and 12-gauge shotgun mounts hidden inside walls to kill intruders. The proprietor of this firm joked that the last people on Earth would be the billionaire and his family holed up in the mansion stocked full for Armageddon. Is that right? Or even fair? Why do the rich get to survive the Apocalypse?
And what about the Doomsday Preppers? Are they really that crazy or might they have the right idea? If what happened in the backstory to Falling Skies actually occurred and a race came to stripmine Earth of its resources and people then, yeah they sure did. These ‘crazies’ would be the people that might lead the rest of humanity to salvation. They’d be the regular guys, the hunters, the former military and law enforcement, maybe even criminals who’ve learned survival by any means. Throw in a few Call of Duty fanatics who learned strategic guerilla warfare by default and we might have a chance if our active-duty military is decimated. That is if we could just stop being selfish human beings for long enough to band together and organize. But it often takes millennia for humans to change.
The story of the human connection and the will to fight has always been popular. The underdog story, or the reluctant hero character trope. On Falling Skies, one of the most interesting personalities is a secondary character that came in quietly after the first few episodes and made her presence known. Her name is Maggie, we don’t know her last name, nor does it really matter, the conventions of society have gone to Hell. But if you look at it with a critical eye, she has no last name because she is just “Maggie”, the young woman who has survived on her own recognizance and wherewithal. All she has is herself. She’s a total badass.
We first see Maggie as a member of Pope’s gang, a rival and antagonist to our educated and honorable hero Tom Mason. Pope is everything that Tom is not. But Maggie is painted in shades of gray. We don’t know where she stands or if we should trust her until she whips out her guns and shoots two of the gang members in the heart to help Tom and Anne escape. One was Pope’s brother. Turns out he’d been raping her since they took her in for ‘protection’. It was implied that they’d all molested her in some way, but never really spelled out. (Side note: rape as a character developer has come under much scrutiny in the prequel story of Tomb Raider and has many people in an uproar. I may or may not do a post on this as I find the whole notion of rape as entertainment abhorrent. But check this link out in the meantime.)

Nevertheless, her experience with the gang has added to her hardness. If you look closely and pay attention though, she was tough even before Pope’s gang. She was just biding her time. We find out later that she survived cancer in her youth and this is what actually made her the mature, world-weary young woman she is now.

Once she joins the 2nd Mass, a regiment in the Massachusetts Militia, we see that Maggie is a skilled fighter. She can handle a gun as if she was trained to do so. She rides motorcycles and is a strong hand-to-hand fighter. Most importantly, she goes into battle without fear. She carries herself tall and with a brick-sized chip on her shoulder. This season, we’ve seen a bit of a lighter side with her smiling and teasing. Her sarcasm is right up front and center but she’s a good soldier and follows orders because she believes in the cause.

Of course, what badass on TV is complete without the gorgeous looks? She’s blonde and beautiful. She’s a tiny scrap of a thing but damn can the girl wear a leather jacket and motorcycle boots like a pro. She’s got tattoos on her arms and usually walks around with messy hair. I love this because seriously, there’s got to be a lack of hygiene products and water. These women don’t have time to worry about eyeliner or if their armpits stink. Aliens have invaded the planet. They’ve got bigger things to stress over. One of the coolest things about Maggie, played by Sarah Carter, is that sexy, gravelly voice. She’s got “dirt” in her voice as Adam Levine once described Juliet Simms’s on The Voice. It’s raw and earthy and just does something to you. And I’m not even into girls.
This brings us to the love interest, or partner. Hal, Tom Mason’s son: cute, affable, boy becoming a man and a soldier way earlier than he should. He started out as impetuous and foolhardy but has grown into his roll of squad leader. He follows orders and is fiercely protective of his two younger bothers. He is often with Maggie on patrols, or scouting runs. They work well together. I think it’s supposed to be implied that she’s taught him a fair amount over the last few months (we’ve skipped ahead in time three months between seasons). But there’s a flirtation there in their jokes. They smile a lot at each other and tease one another. It’s one of the developing relationships on the show and I for one would like to see it happen. They compliment each other and I think that she could use a man who respects her enough to fight along side of her, who was loyal and who might even treat her like a girl every once in a while. Up to this point, he’s denied that there’s anything between them. We’ll see what happens, because Hal’s actual girlfriend is still lingering around, harnessed and under the control of the aliens. If she ever gets back, you can bet a triangle will exist.
I have to say, if an alien apocalypse ever occurs in my lifetime, I’d look to Maggie to save my ass. Or at the very least teach me how to save my own. We could all stand to figure out how to put our past behind us and find new ground to flourish. It doesn’t matter where we came from, it matters what we do now and the choices we make today. I won’t have a billion dollar panic room or 500 gallons of water stored in my basement. All I’ll have is me.
Pack your ‘go-bag’ and find your leather because you bet your ass when you’re fighting off zombies and aliens, you want them to see you coming and shiver in fear.
Happy Independence Day!

Black Widow, Marvel Avengers

Agent Natasha Romanov, Black Widow, S.H.E.I.L.D

I didn’t grow up reading comic books. Wish I had. My experiences with super heroes came form the televised versions of The Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Batman and the Superman Movies with Christopher Reeve. They were awesome and I never realized just how deep their past went. I never knew there was an entire universe of super heroes. It wasn’t until I started teaching digital art and had a student who introdcued me to the fabulous art of Joe Quesada and the Kuberts that I really began to understand. I read the Death of Captain America and was introduced to Natasha Romanov. I have to admit at first I read it because of the artwork. But, then I liked the story and became interested. It wasn’t until Ironman 2 that I realized they were the same character. I didn’t like her that much in that movie. I think it was mostly because she seemed to be there to tempt Tony Stark. And dammit he belongs with Pepper. (The chemistry between the two of them is fan-tab-ulous, BTW) So, I ignored her.

Until the Avengers.

She is one badass chick.

Why all of a sudden did I like her? I think it was because she showed her vulnerability. Of course, she kicked ass and took names, but there were moments when her fear got the best of her. There are moments where we see her as a badass agent, gathering intel through an interrogation technique of being captured. We see her nervously retrieve Dr. Banner, the Hulk, with trepidation and concern that he may turn into the beast. And we see her use her vulnerability to get info from the Big Bad. But, what really got me was the friendship and connection she has to her partner, Hawkeye, Clint Barton. They have history. While I’m not sure what the Marval canon is, in the movie, they have been partner’s for years, working ops together.

She understands him, calms him and grounds him. He supports her, understands her and respects her. Now, is there something more there? Because I’m always looking for that shipper angle, there very well could be. Right now, it’s set up that they have a very close, almost symbiotic relationship. But as us romance writers know, that can easily be tipped in the non-platonic direction. There are a few moments of prolonged eye contact and a nice scene where they have a deeply supportive conversation as he recovers from an incident that took him away from her. There is a distinct connection between them and let’s face it, Jeremy Renner is a hottie. I’d be friends with him too!

That said, let’s look at her badass ability. What’s really cool is that she’s a regular human – no super powers. She’s just highly trained. She’s a skilled fighter. She’s athletic, uses gymnastics in her fighting style, and kicks grotesque alien butt, multiple attackers at time. She carries a gun, a pistol and sometimes shoots two at a time. She’s exceptionally good at espionage and getting intelligence. And, we can’t forget that she wears a skin tight black leather suit and boots. With thigh holsters. Sweet. Signed, sealed and delivered – Total Badass.

To read more about Marvel Canon Black Widow go to the source:

Get your vengeance on.
~Indigo Grace

Lucky Thirteen

Dr. Remy Hadley aka Thirteen, House, MD

Season Four of House brought a new cast of characters to the show. For the first three seasons, House had a team of young doctors on fellowship, but with his obnoxious and demeaning ways, he alienated them and they all left, leaving him without a team. He tried to do it without a team, claiming he didn’t need them, but he couldn’t. He needed them for his brainstorming process, at the very least to give him ideas that he could shoot down So the boss forced him to hire actual people. Enter the twenty candidates for the job – in a Survivor Style elimination tournament. May the best doctors win!

Well… one stuck out. For me anyway. And enough for him, because he hired her. She became known as Thirteen. Played by the incandescent beauty, Olivia Wilde. Oh what I wouldn’t give for those cheekbones and intense blue eyes. Sigh… What’s interesting about her name is that they never use it on the show. The character’s real name is Dr. Remy Hadley. The producers decided to go with”Thirteen” because that was her number in the contest. They decided her character was such a mystery that she would play it off to get a rise out of House. It stuck. And she has been called that ever since.

Only Olivia can make an x-ray shield look good.
So what classifies Thirteen as a badass. Well, she was intelligent, irreverent, and liked to be mysterious just to annoy House. She intrigued him and he paid attention. I think he even saw a bit of himself in her.  Of course, with all things he couldn’t puzzle out, he needed to know just what her deal was. He’d poke and prod and cajole, but she would have none of it. She’d tease him and agree with his assessments to distract him. She knew how to play his game and in some way she understood him, better than most. But House was never satisfied to be in the dark. One day, she dropped a file and irrationally freaked out about it. He saw it, knew that she was unnaturally agitated and he had a new bone to latch onto. He wouldn’t rest until he had his answer. So he did genetic testing on her. He got an answer and in a rare moment of compassion, he didn’t open it. What he did was pose a challenge to her. It made her face her greatest fears. It turned out that she had Huntington’s Chorea, a genetic autoimmune disease that debilitates the body into a tremorring, racking mess eventually leading to weakness and death. Huntington’s has no cure. Thirteen will die.

Thirteen finds out about her disease at the end of season four when she tests herself after facing mortality when another fellow doctor is killed in a bus accident. House calls her on her bullshit, telling her to stand up and find out, to stop playing games. She does and is faced with her worst fear. In the following season, we see that she has fallen into a rut of self-destructive behavior. She goes out most nights, parties and brings home women for indiscriminate flings. So not only is she a hot young doctor, she’s a hot young bi-sexual doctor. So much fodder for House to play with, and he doesn’t waste a second.

Testing herself for Huntington’s Chorea.
At the hands of a gunman
But, it isn’t until the hospital clinic is taken over by a crazed patient with a gun that Thirteen really admits to herself that she doesn’t want to die. Faced with having to inject medicine into herself to pre-test the drugs given by House to the gun-wielding patient, she breaks down and confesses that she wants to live. He lets her go, because that’s all he ever wanted too. She agrees to attend these drug trials for Huntington’s that Foreman, the neurologist on the team, suggested to her some weeks ago.  She agrees and in the very special Christmas episode, begins a relationship with Foreman. Foreman’s a man, and African-American. So not only is she flip-flopping which side of the fence she’s playing on, but she’s going bi-racial as well. You go girl! Break all the rules. You’re dying, who cares. We later find out, of course, that the drug trials don’t work, she almost dies because of that, and then is saved by her fellow teammates .
Her relationship with Foreman never got the spark going that it should have. Personally, I didn’t get it other than to give Foreman some scrap of humanity. I never felt that spark between them that ignited like an inferno between her and House. Yeah, House is twenty-five years too old for her, because Olivia Wilde was young when she came to the show, but that didn’t stop the flames from burning up the screen when the two interacted. I think if she had been a little bit older they might have gone for it. They taunted each other, snarked at each other, had eye sex a few times that made my palms sweat. It was sexy, but alas… nothing ever came of it.
See, she can even tote a gun.
What did develop was a strange understanding between the House and Thirteen. She respected House for his genius and his take-no-prisoners attitude. She enjoyed what they did because it made a difference. If she was only to be on the planet for a short time, she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s why she finally came back after House went nuts and the team was disbanded while he was in the mental hospital. Of course, by this point, Hollywood recognized what a gorgeous and talented woman Olivia Wilde is and her movie career took off. Tron, The Change Up, In Time and Cowboys and Aliens demanded too much of her time. Thirteen was out. She traveled at first, to find herself. Then wound up in jail ironically for assisted suicide of her brother – who we never knew about and who also had Huntington’s. House picks her up the day she’s released from jail to take her to a potato gun contest he needs to win. Apparently, she had spud gun experience from a middle school science fair. The length to which House will dig into people’s past is extraordinary. However, he didn’t know about the brother which was a beautiful shock when she finally tells him in a fit of rage. She cuts him to the bone with the venomous words she spews about his not being able to feel anything for anyone but himself. She always had that ability to call him on his bullshit too. They share a lovely moment in the car when he drops her at home after their adventure. He tells her that he will kill her when it’s time. Of course he makes a joke about finding a bat in the back of the car right now, but she simply smiles at him in understanding, touched by the original sincerity in his words. They hold eye contact, like they were always so perfect at, and then the moment is gone.
Then she left again when it was House’s turn to go to jail, which I can’t even discuss because it was so over the top and I believe a cop out on the writers’ part. Grrr. We find Thirteen a year later with a girlfriend she loves who she wants to spend the remaining years of her life with, happily doing the things on her bucket list. And rightfully so, she’s earned that right. When House manipulates her to come back, he then realizes he was wrong to do so and in another act of compassion, which she seems to bring out in him, he fires her so she won’t feel guilty about leaving. She smirks at him and tells him that he’s saving her. She knows, because she knows him. He knows, but won’t admit it. There’s another exquisite moment between them where they hold each other’s eyes before she walks away.

House is ending in two weeks after eight years. Six amazing ones, and two not so much. But, in all fairness, I lost my desire to follow after Thirteen left, I think. She was a perfect foil to House, she added sexiness and the idea that hot chicks have brains too. I loved that she could stand up to House and not care. While his character was taken over the top, hers was just hitting her stride. Of course, I’m interested to see how she will play into the final episodes. I will be watching those. Afterwards, I will have my memories of their amazing eye sex, snarky dialogue and witty banter. She may never have been his partner, but she sure gave him a run for his money while she was there. 
She’s been my girl crush for the last four years. Love Thirteen. She wouldn’t have been half as cool if she wasn’t portrayed by Olivia Wilde.
Embrace the luck of the draw, go with your inner Thirteen.