I love the feeling of Ashley's femmspiration posts, so continuing on with that theme I'd like to offer up my female role models of today and yesteryear as well as the stories that helped to shape my personality! Yippyyyy grab a comfy seat...this is a long one.
Where to begin...
Obviously, the biggest impact on my self are my parents and family and the events that occupied my younger years...but I'd like to focus on my personality and spirit. The little voice in my head pushing me to get in trouble...that kinda stuff. I guess I'll start by noting my childhood influences. Ramona Quimby was a big force in my young life. I asked for my hair to be cut just like hers. The Never Ending Story and The Last Unicorn were weekend staples, but two movies in-particular really shaped my idea of what I wanted my life to look like as well as what I wanted my heart to feel like.
I'm not sure if the theme for these two movies were indicative of the time or a trend in movie-making, but I really felt them. I worshiped the lead characters. They were everything I wanted to be. Both of their stories take on adventuring and being alone...finding friends along the way and coming of age on the road. I've always fancied the idea that I can do anything on my own and that I don't need anyone's help. That's not the case, but if you've ever tried to teach me something or show me a better way, you've probably noticed that I still hang on to this idea.
It's strange to me now that there were a few good movies like these that featured young girls as MAIN characters who were very brave and capable and now...well there is Hanna Montana, which is fine and all, but from what I've seen it deals with fame and celebrity...which is WEIRD! It's weird to me that little girls aspire to be famous. I never ever thought about that. Anyway that's a post in itself... Without further ado my top two choices for female role models of my childhood:
Natty Gann of Journey of Natty Gann
I loooved this movie. It's about a young girl during the depression who's father has to go for work and she is left with her nanny or a neighbor or something (because her mother died) who is nice to her, but she really wants to find her dad. So, of course, she runs away...befriends a wolf and then an older boy (John Cusak)...hops trains with said wolf...finds herself in dangerous situations (dog fighting events where she meets the wolf, hobo camps, etc) and basically makes her way across the country with this wolf and part of the way with this older boy. She defends her Dad's honor when some kids say he's a communist. Some folks find her wallet and think she's dead. Her Dad is heartbroken...they find each other in the end though. I LOVE this story. I wanted to do all of these things.
I was actually a hobo in my baton class and though I guess my Mom and I didn't know what a hobo looked like, I still loved it because I was closer to being such a bad-ass girl like Natty Gann.
Senora Webster of Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
Senora works so hard for her dreaaamsss!
UGH this movie...It's my depression lifter. I've possibly seen it more than Footloose because it makes me feel so good. I love this story and after my hobo phase, I delighted in the rough and gritty glamour that Senora embodied. Again, set during the Great Depression (based on a true story--side note--I tried to buy the book on ebay for $4 but the seller realized its value of around $400 and took it down) Senora's parents both died from some great sickness and she and her sister are left with their shitty Aunt. The Aunt is awful to her...basically no one gets her quirkyness. Whatever, we can all relate to that. So....she runs away and joins a traveling show! UGH I DIE. Seriously, if I could have painted a life for myself at age 12, this would be it. I mean wow. She was sweet and fun, but determined and ambitious. I loved Senora. I relate to this movie and that character like nothing else. I still quote her sometimes when I say, "heck noooo". I wanted to run away and lean out of the back of a wagon while peacefully enjoying the countryside. I think you may know the rest of the story. She weasels her way into employment with Dr. Carver and starts training to become a diving girl. She falls in love with his son Al and after a while ends up in Atlantic City (her dream). She has an accident on a dive, is rendered blind, learns to dive again against everyone's wishes..lives happily ever after. the end. I can't even tell you. I"ll just end there because I can go on and on.
So, looking back, I only ran away once with my dog which led to sitting in my Step-Mom's old Jaguar for 6 hours until I got bored. I only threatened to hop trains because I got too scared I'd get mugged. What can I say? I was too safe and too timid to carry out my childhood dreams. Plus, the hugest obstacle to me getting my wish and traveling through the countryside, guardian-less and free while discovering my talents...I LIKED my parents. So, naturally, I couldn't leave them. I still daydream about changing my identity and roaming the countryside taking up odd jobs to get by. Perhaps, joining some kind of traveling act and settling into my new talented family. Like I said though, I love my real family...I could never leave them.
That brings me to my adult female rold model:
Neko Case of Neko Case fame
She's got tons of great live performances, but this one is clean and smooth and you can hear all the wonderful sounds and voices that go into her songs. I feel like a 4th grader writing about Debbie Gibson with my "I love her because she's really neat" type comments, but I seriously love her and feel my heart getting tender when I listen to her.
She makes me feel lucky to be a lady. She doesn't need anyone...but she does a little. Plus, basically she's lived my dream life. I have to say here that the prior two role models and their lives have been romanticized heavily and I bet it's actually no picnic to run away and hop trains...I don't want to disrespect anyone that has actually lived that life. I won't go on and on about her and her life, but basically she ran away from what she felt were ill-equipped teenage parents and got into music, was in several bands and then went out on her own.
This is an excerpt from her bio on cmt.com
Alternative country singer/songwriter Neko Case won a steadily growing cult audience for her smoky, sophisticated vocals and the downcast beauty of her music. Born in Alexandria, VA, Case moved around often as a child, spending the largest part of her youth in Tacoma, WA. She left her parents at age 15, and three years later she started playing drums for several bands around the Northwest's punk rock scene. Case moved to Vancouver in 1994 to enter art school, and simultaneously joined the punk group Maow, which released a record on the Mint label. She also played with roots rockers the Weasles and eventually formed her own backing band, the Boyfriends, which initially featured alumni of the Softies, Zumpano, and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.
I feel like this part of the post lacks the awesomeness that Neko deserves, but I don't feel I can put it in words at this juncture.
Fellow Spinecrackers...what or who shaped you? Inquiring minds...