A couple of weeks ago, after seeing the new Mad Max movie, I wrote about Furiosa, the character played by Charlize Theron and the similarities to our 22 year-old daughter Valerie. They are both missing their left arm and both have warrior-like determination. That character trait in Valerie was obvious from the moment she was born – unexpectedly in our bathroom – but that’s a story for another time. When I pulled her little four pound body onto my lap, her dark blue eyes met mine with steely intensity. As a youngster, when she decided that she wanted to learn to ride a two-wheel bike, she went into the garage and taught herself to ride a two-wheel bike. Done. Without any help from Steve or me.
Lest I start sounding too much in awe of the wonderfulness of my own child, I would like to add that determination is a double-edge sword. And the flip side is stubbornness. Some of her tantrums almost left me with PTSD. I still can’t go to Coddingtown Mall without a flashback to the absolutely ear-piercing tantrum that she had in the courtyard over not getting a toy that she wanted.
That said, I am very proud of the way that Valerie approaches life. I am also proud of her talent as an artist. So this week, I get to share with you a glimpse of both. Here are Valerie’s thoughts on the Mad Max movie and her illustration of Furisoa.
Mad max really was so darn good, objectively and to me personally; I was born with one arm, congenital below elbow amputee like in the movie and though I have prosthetic arms I wear I tend to go commando, fake-limb wise. And it was so so awesome that that part of Furiosa’s character was never mentioned or acknowledged; it was just something that she deals with and owns, like legitimately disabled people do every day. She didn’t need lauding from able-bodied people to prove how badass she was: she just WAS badass. As an amputee seeing this was awesome, and such a welcome change from the tired trend of being inspirational footage in life insurance commercials. Now I just have to find a sweet metal arm like she has.