For Rachel, who devastates me

In the midst of all their questing, Heroes usually encounter a Love Interest. Today is Valentine’s Day, so I’m celebrating mine.

My Wife and I have been together for almost eight years. Rachel is the Leading Lady of my Story, but she is so much more. For those of you that don’t know her, she is a force of nature.

Traditionally, in Tales of Heroic Adventure, female Love Interest characters are depicted as passive, benign creatures. There is a literary term, Princesse lointaine, a French term meaning “distant princess”, which refers to a beautiful woman with admirable character and good pedigree. Old school Knights-Errant were drawn to such women, and were inspired by Love to perform Heroic acts in their honor. Often these princesses embodied the “damsel-in-distress” archetype, frequently finding themselves in peril with no plan, other than to wait for a Brave Knight to rescue them.

Then, a strange thing happened. Women realized how badass they can be. Women’s sufferage. Feminism. Billie Jean King. Maybe not the sexiest progression I could have conjured. But they made girl power a thing. So by the time I was a kid, as an alternative to Disney princesses, girls could instead emulate Princess Leia, grabbing a blaster and leading an Intergalactic Rebellion. Or, wear a gold bikini slave girl ensemble and chill with a morbidly obese space gangster. You know, either/or.

Anyhow, these days, strong female Heroes are pervasive, from Xena to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Alias and beyond. Even Disney has caught on, with Brave and others. Today, a princess has to have spirit.

Rachel definitely fits in the latter category. But she’s so much more than that. No fictional princess or heroine are a match for my Wife. Our daughters don’t need any two-dimensional role models, she is all they will ever need.

She is the most Authentic person I have ever met. She is outspoken, and often brutally honest. She can be abrasive, she steps on toes. By contrast, she is a born caretaker, a nurturing mother and empathetic to a fault.

She is courageous, and rages against the unjust. She is a fighter and a leader, and has a clear Moral Code. People have often expressed amazement at her strength. By contrast, she is beautiful and feminine and has moments of absolute fragility.

To paraphrase Walt Whitman, does she contradict herself? Very well, then she contradicts herself. She is large, she contains multitudes.

Over the past eight years, we have shared tragic loss and transcendent joy and frustration and success and failure. And through it all, she has maintained a Grace that I can hardly comprehend.

When we first met, she devastated me. She devastates me still.

And like a true Knight-Errant, I am inspired by her. To embark on Adventures, to seek Treasures, to slay Dragons. Together.

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8 Responses to For Rachel, who devastates me

  1. Donna says:

    this is so awesome. First cudos to you Dan. To express your feelings in public & to do it so well. I think that is great. seems to be a writer in there.
    And second to you Rachel for being the women you are. For inspiring those around you. I miss you guys hope you are well. Would love to get togathe!!

  2. Treta says:

    You are both so lucky to have each other! :)

  3. Rachel says:

    You had me at “women realized how badass they can be”…I’m so lucky that you are my biggest fan. I love taking this journey with you.

  4. Sarah says:

    She’s probably going to be upset that she’s referred to as “large” though. :) What a great gift your daughters have… to see a man who is not frieghtened or intimidated by such a woman!! Being accepted for who you are… that is (sing it like Whitney) the greatest love of all.

    • Our Hero says:

      It’s probably not the best analogy, but John Lennon said that when he met Paul McCartney, he had to make a choice: surround himself with lesser musicians and be the top dog, or team up with someone equally talented, someone who would push him, and create something bigger than them both.

      Lots of guys like to do their own thing, and not be challenged. I always wanted to be with someone who could hold their own, someone who would challenge me and push me to grow and improve. She is the best choice I’ve ever made.

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