I just saw Wonder Woman for the first time.
I know; it’s been out for months.
It seems crazy that I would wait. I mean, I watched those trailers over and over. I went to the store in April looking to buy a Lasso of Truth. I even crossed the Hell Mouth into Hot Topic. I came home with a Wonder Woman jacket.
Guys, I have been waiting for this movie since I was a little kid.
So, why did I wait? Why wasn’t I the first one in line — jacket on despite the heat — chewing on my Milk Duds?
Simple: I was waiting on Wonder Woman.
You see, I was supposed to go see Wonder Woman with my neighbor. She’s a teenager, and she’s all kinds of awesome. She’s smart and funny and looks at the world with optimism and possibility. I’ve been lucky to watch her grow up right across the street.
But she was leaving on a school trip for the whole month of July. We weren’t going to see it in time.
So I waited. And I waited.
She hiked across Italy for a month. I was full of envy. Waiting at home, I read her blog, and thought about how much this was going to change her. How different the world would look when she got to the other side of this trip. How things would seem unreasonably big, or impossibly small.
This week, we finally got to go. I got my Milk Duds, she got her M&Ms, and we sat down to watch Wonder Woman.
And there is so much cultural commentary I could make here, but the thing I want to focus on — the thing that matters to me — happens in the opening of the movie.
“Princess Buttercup,” she whispered.
I smiled. Yes, that was Princess Buttercup. Only now she was a general.
I’m sure there are some that argue that General Antiope is a new story, in a new multiverse. But we can’t look at the General without considering the Princess.
I always wondered how Buttercup’s story would end. When they road off into the sunset, what if Buttercup’s love for Wesley turned into love for herself? What if she changed her story? Instead of The Princess Bride, what if she became Buttercup? Still a woman, still strong, still a princess, still a bride, and still something more — all at the same time?
That’s what I saw in the General. I saw a glimpse of what is possible if we let our characters outside of their boxes — if we let them fight and train and live. And yes — if we let them love. Wholly, bigly, and entirely.
If we let them love themselves.
I saw a glimpse of that at Wonder Woman. I saw the possibility and the power. And that’s what I want to pass on to all the women in my life. That you can be the general and the princess, the fighter and lover. You can be yourself, whomever that is. You can be Wonder Woman.
And that’s what I want my neighbor to know. That wherever Wonder Woman or the General or the Princess fails, it doesn’t matter. You are wonder yourself. You are a woman.