This I Believe

Jeffrey - Saint Louis, Missouri
Entered on June 1, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

This year I decided to follow a lifelong dream: I quit my full-time job, took a part-time position, and started spending more time writing. Quitting my day job was the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done and the biggest chance I’ve ever taken, but in making the decision, I asked myself, what would Wonder Woman do?

I’ve believed in Wonder Woman ever since I was five years old, sitting in front of the television, waiting to see Lynda Carter transform from dowdy Diana Prince into an Amazon princess in her satin tights, fighting for our rights. I couldn’t wait until the next episode to see her rescue the downtrodden, vanquish Nazis, and sigh wistfully at the handsome Steve Trevor.

Like a lot of young girls and more than a few questioning boys who hadn’t let go of their belief in magic, I spent my own share of time spinning around, hoping to transform into something larger than life. All I got was dizzy. It was so unfair; even at that age I wanted to be something bigger than real life. I didn’t have a crush on Wonder Woman or want to meet her—I wanted to be her.

It took me years to realize why. Diana was different, and even at that age, I was beginning to understand that I was, too. I didn’t have bullet-deflecting bracelets or an invisible plane, but having a secret identity didn’t seem like such a bad idea to a kid who felt he had something to hide. Eventually, though, I realized I had gotten it all wrong. Diana didn’t hide behind her secret identity: It made Wonder Woman possible. She had lived a larger-than-life life for thousands of years—and she had given all that up in order to help other people who needed someone like her. She sacrificed an idyllic life with her immortal Amazon sisters to become a stranger in a strange land and face the problems that plagued man’s world, not the least of which were ’70s fashions and frequently cardboard villains. She did it because it was the right thing to do. And unlike Batman, who was tormented by his past, or Superman, who wished he could lead a normal life, Wonder Woman sought out the chance to help and never complained or felt oppressed by it.

Wonder Woman taught me not to stick to the safe choices. Staying on the island would have been the safe and easy choice, but safe choices are not the way to truly live life. I didn’t decide to come out solely because of Wonder Woman, and I can’t say I decided to take a chance at writing because of her either, but her example gave me the courage to give it a spin.