The most significant thing that happened to me this week was getting the chance to listen to, meet and briefly speak with the Queen of BAD ASS, Pam Grier. She was at the Tivoli Turnhalle in Denver for the”Bridges” talk program sponsored by Metropolitan State College of Denver. I honestly have no idea what the program is, but Pam Grier and her movies helped me reconnect with my inner “bad ass” as I recovered from the trauma of my pregnancy, and the events that led to my divorce, as well as the actions that happened once the judge signed the papers. Her constant portrayal of strong women who simply can not be held down, or in some cases even knocked down by anything a man does, were very therapeutic for me.
Before my pregnancy, I was very much a bad ass, or so I thought. Men didn’t tell me what to do, nor hold any sway over me. I even thought I had my husband in check. Once the reality of the pregnancy set in, and I started having to adjust my life entirely, (I was working in a highly dangerous, outside job and had to switch to driving a desk. Plus I was sick nearly the entire term so I couldn’t even enjoy the simplest things for fun,) my husband was able to begin exerting the control he had always been trying to do before. It was easier for him. For survival, I eventually became pretty submissive and calculated. As he got more aggressive, I grew more submissive, until the day he acted against my daughter. That aggressive nature came back in one quick moment, but I was unable to fight him and protect my six month old daughter at the same time. I opted to protect her and took the brunt of his anger and frustration before he left to spend the night with his mistress.
Before my daughter was a year old, the divorce was final and I had full physical and legal custody after giving up all my liquid assets. But it was another seven months before I was able to leave the sphere of influence and move half way across the country to be truly free. Still yet, I was not able to shake the submissive nature easily and it annoyed me.
But through cinema and reading my favorite books with strong, independent women characters, (i.e. Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’dell, Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Haydon) I slowly was able to regain my “self.” Pam Grier’s movies were a great part of my “Girl Power” play list.
It was a highlight to get to tell her “Thank you, for being a strong woman on and off the screen. You’ll never know how much your characters and your life story helped me find my way out of Hell. Thank you.” It was the best celebrity encounter I’ve ever had.
Makes me feel pretty BAD ASS.
Ms. Grier considers herself a Colorado Native. Her father was in the Air Force and her mother was from Wyoming. Her family were homesteaders, so she grew up with a gun in each hand, shooting food to eat. Originally she wanted to be a Doctor and attended Metropolitan State College of Denver. A professor pointed her towards her other passion: Film. Being bi-racial in the seventies, different doors were open to her, partially because Hollywood really had no idea how to categorize her. She paid for her education through her film and modeling career, but her irrepressible nature to literally “take the bull by the horns” has made her a Hollywood staple. She was diagnosed with cancer back in 1988 and told she had 18 months to live. In true Bad ASS form, she ignored the rules and set out to prove them wrong. Now over two decades later, she’s still working and proving to the world that she is not to be taken lightly, ignored or knocked down.