Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Miss Scarlett

So, in keeping with January's theme of "looking back", there's something to be said for the past- for after all, it did shape the future. I'm sure it's pretty obvious by now that my mother is one of my heroes- if not my best hero. There's no one like her- I can't think of a single person who embodies more positive qualities than she does so effortlessly. She's kind, intelligent, has unbelievable amounts of determination and survival skills, and she knows how to be a friend- which is something you can't say about most people.
But, I've had other heroes, too. When I was two, the mini series of Gone With the Wind came on TNT (yes, I remember it in that much detail). My mother was never one to censor me, and so I got to watch it with her every night for a week. I knew that as soon as dinner was over, it was time to go sit in the living room and watch Scarlett, which was something I eagerly awaited every single day. My mother taped it, and I quickly swiped it. I knew how to work the VCR, and I watched it everyday literally. Scarlett O'Hara became my hero. She wasn't anywhere near perfection, really, but she was tough and smart. She knew how to get what she needed, what she wanted, and she worked her ass off. She was hellbent on surviving, and she pulled her family through with her. She left no one of importance to her behind. She was also a feminist, in a sense- she did what she wanted, to hell with society's rules. And I fell in love with her. I emulated her. I would dress up in my mother's old cocktail dresses and her formal gowns, make a stage out of my play table, and I would act out the entire movie, with the movie, as best as one little girl could. I stopped just short of setting things on fire (I knew that was a no-no) to set the tone for Atlanta burning. Instead, I painted a big piece of paper with flames. It was that important. I quit acting it all out when I was about five, but I still watched it everyday until I was nine, and the tape wore out. When it came out on DVD, I was thirteen, and my mother bought it for me for Valentine's Day. When I was 21, my life fell apart and I ended up homeless, and I drew on her. I was talking to my high school best friend, in fact, during that time and she was asking me how I was going to handle this, that, and the other. I would tell her what I had figured out thus so far, and then tell her I'd worry about something else later. And she giggled, and replied in a fake Southern drawl: "Well Miss Scahlett, whatcha gonna do now?" And it was then that I realized how far, really, that she had gotten into my soul.

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