Wonder Woman: Feminism and Addiction
Dear Wonder Woman:
Notes on the autopsy of Carrie Fisher
The recent news that Carrie Fisher’s autopsy revealed cocaine, heroin and ecstasy was heartbreaking because it is sad when our heroes fail. Though we know that addiction is a chronic disease, it can make us shaky in our resolve to navigate the world without leaning on drugs to make it through. Carrie could not take the chain that bound her and put it around the neck of drug addiction and choke the life out of it, like Princess Leia did to evil Jabba the Hut in “The Empire Strikes Back”.
She still leaves an indelible mark on the world. I was in my twenties when the first Star Wars movies came out. We were in the throes of early feminism and Princess Leia was the first lead female character to be strong, courageous and not just a “damsel in distress” saved by the male hero. Early in her “rescue” by the men, she grabs a rifle in frustration, steps in front to face the stormtroopers and tells Han Solo, “Somebody’s has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute flyboy”. She eventually led the rebellion against the evil empire and was my first feminist movie heroine. This past March 8th, her face was on placards as a representative of women protesting today’s evil overlords.
I loved all of Carrie’s books with her sharp wit, wisdom, and authenticity. She was a strong advocate for mental illness treatment and recovery from addiction. Relapse does not negate all she accomplished.
Now we have a new blockbuster movie on Wonder Woman, as portrayed by actress Gal Gadot. My teenage niece loved it. Wonder Woman bursts onto the screen full of strength and courage, focused on saving humanity from evil. She believes in teamwork, and has fearless empathy for others. Among all the fight scenes, she also goes on a spiritual quest where she learns that people are capable of great evil but also of great love. In the final scene, she looks to the skies with a face accepting loss of love with wonder and serenity.
So here is the deal Wonder Woman: Like the rest of us, you will sometimes wonder where the wonder went and plunge into unhappiness. Well, do not dwell so long in that land so that it becomes fertile soil for inner demons.
Never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. AA uses this acronym (HALT) to sound an alarm, especially if we have 2 or more (H, A, L, T) at the same time. These strains on the body and psyche make us crave our drug of choice. If one or more of these are occurring in the body, then HALT, bring awareness and get the natural antidote rather than your drug. Let us examine this in relation to your life, Wonder Woman.
Your past may mess with your present. You grew up without a father, so you may have what we call, “father hunger”. Men are either idealized or devalued, making it hard to have a satisfying relationship with a mere mortal. Or in a simpler vein, you may just need food. Go get something to eat.
Angry at your Mom for not letting you join in Amazon warrior training as a girl? But you snuck out and Aunt Princess Bride (Robin Wright) trained you anyway. So your anger was expressed through combat training. However, bows and arrows are not always appropriate in polite society. Learn to verbalize, “I am angry at you for…” as a social skill.
You grew up living on a remote island, cut off from the broader world. You were the only child on the island and your mother, though loving, was overprotective and secretive. Community is the antidote for loneliness. Search for safe connections (maybe the horses you ride), and communicate honestly. Maybe write a blog on Facebook and hope to be “liked”.
Well, after a long day of fending off the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune by crossing your silver cuffed wrists, you might feel tired. But the battle goes on and you fight tiredness. Or the battle of the day is over but you are too hyped up to sleep. You are tempted to take a downer. Don't do it. Try something natural to wind down. What calms you? Ride your horse, pet your dog, do a calming, deep breathing meditation. Do some evening yoga with your sister Amazons. Tell someone (or write in your journal) about your day in order to let it go on the wings of the Gods.
Final note: I wish my heroine never took heroin, but she did and did not hide in denial or minimization. Take her honesty as a gift of truth. That people have both good and bad aspects and when we are bad (suffering and fearful), we seek soothing. Be vigilant to the lure of soothing that can enslave. Then be humble and get help, Princess.