Friday Media Prep: My Dad is Still the Greatest Hero

Happy Friday, kids! Today’s post is in honor of the person who was my first hero and the baddest guy on the block, my father. This weekend we’re supposed to be exalting his name, buying expensive and shiny cards, and eating whatever he wants, because Sunday is Father’s Day, but I wouldn’t have a problem bragging about my Pop any day of the week.

My father was 26-years-old when I was born – a kid himself – yet, I think he was born ready to raise babies into halfway decent people. We spent our days together while my mother completed nursing school, playing with Barbies, going to the park, and exploring the world. In fact, most of my traits are mirrors of the behaviors I picked up from him in those early imprinting years; from the way I walk, to how I look, his DNA is ever-present.

My dad’s – and most heroes – greatest strength is his capacity for caring and the bravery to do what is difficult yet right. Over the years I have watched my dad inspire children in his classroom to be whomever the want to be. I’ve seen them return after graduation to hug him, thank him for his ability to make school fun, then go off and achieve their dreams. He’s coached athletes (including my brother) to championships. He’s made young people without an ally feel seen. Then, at the end of his long days, he goes home to be a regular guy and cook for the family he loves.

There’s surely no greater hero than my dad, but I’ve prepared a list of some characters who come mighty close to his standard. Below you’ll find my weekend media recommendations if you’re feeling like you need to get a heroic boost for the upcoming week. Enjoy!

 

Incredibles 2

Image via the Hollywood Reporter

It’s an exciting time to be alive, because the stars aligned for us to (finally) get the sequel I’ve personally been dying for – Incredibles 2. Since we might have to accept that a third one won’t be on the horizon for another 300 years, I highly recommend clearing time on your schedule to go see it. We went as a family of adults last night, and it was quite the event. I can safely say 90% of the audience was over 21, yet no one was too caught up in adulthood to sit silently at the best moments. The sequel begins where The Incredibles left us with the family battling the Underminer. From there on it’s a family adventure that the world needs right now. I couldn’t help but laugh at Mr. Incredible’s struggle to maintain the home while his wife, Elastigirl, moves to the fore to fight crime. My dad never let on that being the daytime caregiver was difficult, beyond how much he hated cutting the crust off all my sandwiches. (Honestly? I still hate the crust.) However, in Mr. Incredible’s devotion to be above all things a good father I saw my own. Rest assured that both succeeded.

 

Origin (Wolverine)

 

Via Marvel

When my dad was a kid he collected comics like candy. He only had to pay 25 cents to read about Spider-Man’s exploits, or to imagine he was one of the X-Men. Growing up in small town Western Kansas only offers so much entertainment, but with his comicbooks he could imagine he was anywhere else. Sadly, after college he gave away or threw out most of his originals. However, by the time my brother and I came along he’d amassed quite the impressive collection. Let me put it like this: Kevin Smith was able to finance his first film with the proceeds of his comic collection. My dad calculated that he has more. His is a treasure trove of tales that formed many of my favorite childhood memories. I’m quite certain my brother and I can thank the afternoons of reading with my dad for our love of storytelling and adventure. The above comic is Origin, the tale of Wolverine’s life that was unknown to his comrades in the X-Men. I remember when this 6-part series came out, because we were dying to know more about our favorite member of the team. Wolverine was gruff around the edges, yet always seemed loving and misunderstood to me. I got a little of that tough love in my younger years. I highly recommend checking up on this story in your free time.

 

Castelvania

Image result for castlevania

Last, but certainly not least, is the Netflix show Castlevania! We all just discovered this series on the streaming service, and I had no idea it was a video game back in the day. My brother and husband played it when they were kids, but I was too busy being cool and having friends. Luckily, it’s been revived in the form of an animated powerhouse that seriously delivers on the fights and gore. My brother and I were early lovers of anime and East Asian cinema, thanks to my Dad. We regularly snatched up Studio Ghibli films from Blockbuster, tried to imitate Bruce Lee, and desperately waned to be like the Samurai of Kurosawa’s films. Watching Castlevania takes me back to those days of my youth in a delightfully ridiculous way. The show is all about the fight to stop Dracula from destroying Wallachia through his horde of demons. Enter a drunken badass named Trevor, and you’ve got yourself the kind of show anyone could eat up. Season 1 of Castlevania is available to watch in its entirety and it’s only 4 episodes long. You have no excuse to avoid it!

 

There you have it! I wish I could list more, but then you would be here all day, instead of celebrating the heroes in your life. One of the many things I love about my dad is how he tried to show my brother and I that heroes aren’t one thing. It’s not about your size, gender, sexuality, race, or ability, but about calling on the strength to be good in the face of hardship. My dad isn’t the kind of man who will gravitate naturally to the limelight, but he’s exactly the kind of person who deserves it. Above all things, I hope my dad knows I’ve survived this wild life with a smile due to being imbued with the confidence of his love.

Stay strong out there. Be the hero of your story today.

 

 

Friday Media Prep: Mermaids, Moms and Movement

Every Friday I will feature the books, movies, TV shows, and other works of art that have been inspiring me, or that I’m looking forward to experiencing. Please share your suggestions below!

Hello, hello, you beautiful people! To round out this wonderful week, I want to send you of with some programming and reading that just might inspire you to get moving, get creating, or get up from a funk. Below you’ll find my selections for the weekend. Saturdays and Sundays are my time to settle back into what I need for a happier life, and these suggestions have got me thinking deeper than before. Enjoy! And as always, stay strong.

Siren

Image via Freeform

This show on Freeform honestly had me at the diverse cast and black mermaid. I remember flopping around the lake near my childhood home, dreaming I was a beautiful lady of the sea – I even have the video footage to prove it! But, this show isn’t your average damsel in distress romp. The mermaids are powerful and ferocious in their own right and striking beyond comparison. Throw in commentary on conservationism, the autonomy of the female body and gender stereotypes, and you have the perfect show for a chick like me. You can stream the first season of Sirenon Hulu before season 2 premiers next year. I also recommend reading this article on Black Girl Nerds for a deeper dive (*wink wink) into the symbolism of the show.

Motherhood

Image result for motherhood book sheila heti
Elena Scotti for Amazon

As a newlywed who is constantly being pressured to have a popping belly, this title instantly stood out to me. However, after reading Stassa Edwards’ wonderful review of Motherhood Sheila Heti, I’m now dying to cop it. The book focuses on a creative woman’s ambivalence about having a child. Can you remain true to yourself while also being a good mom? Do you have to sacrifice everything or is there middle ground? Does one choice make you a bad person? This topic is rarely presented through the lens of a woman on the cusp of a decision so life-altering, which I truly appreciate in my current state.

Serena Williams all over the place

Serena Williams Harper's Bazaar July issue cover
Image via Harper’s Bazaar

I have been a fan – dare I say obsessively – of Serena and Venus Williams since Venus jumped onto the scene as a young, lanky teen. To see a girl with braids, beads, brown skin and muscles playing a sport I considered off-limits for people like me was life-changing. When Serena hit the courts it was basically game over. Serena didn’t have the type of body people wanted to accept as feminine, which truly affected me deeply. I can’t even count the number of times she was called some variation of ugly in an attempt to rob her of her glory. Yet, she stood tall and continued to kick that booty. Now, she’s a wife and mother who refuses to slow down or be defeated. You can catch Serena in the newest issue of Harper’s Bazaar, playing in the French Open (3 AM EST) or over at her new clothing line. I’m trying to grab a few of her lovely pieces.