Arms Akimbo

Today I was Wonder Woman.

I woke up early and stood, arms akimbo, fists on my hips, next to my bed.

My chest was out, my chin was up.  I was ready.

I went to the grocery store.  I bought a cantaloupe and some rhubarb.


Best day of the week, so far.

Last night L told me the story of a woman whose life presented such significant challenges that in order to keep up her own spirits she would adopt the Wonder Woman stance, fists on her hips, chest out, chin up and arms akimbo — before she proceeded with various parts of her day.

According to the story, this amazing young woman found that her ability to function – even at the most basic level – and eventually excel, was directly proportional to her adopting this stance.    The Wonder Woman stance adjusted her attitude significantly.   In time she internalized this change in attitude and no longer needed to stand arms akimbo.

Anyone, you know, can adopt this stance.  You can pretend that you are Wonder Woman — or you can pretend you are Thor or Captain America or Superman — or Ironman.   Any super hero will do.

But today I did it.   I stood in that way, in the early morning light.

Today I was the super hero.    I needed to feel more heroic.

The image of me standing with arms akimbo next to my bed may seem ridiculous to you — but I promise that it is not the most ridiculous thing I have ever done in my life.

I promise that it is not the most ridiculous thing I have done this week.

We do what we have to do.   We always do.

There will be days and weeks and months where we are not funny, when we are not ourselves, when we cannot do the crossword puzzle and when we don’t feel like cooking the broccoli.

Sometimes we don’t even feel like eating dessert.

Yeah, like that would ever happen to me.

I remember years ago I was in the driver’s seat of my van — six other people in my car were all under the age of ten.   There was lots of chatter, lots of excitement.

Also a fair amount of chaos.

Before I started the car I reached into my bag, pulled out a lipstick and, checking my reflection in the rear-view mirror, touched up a bit.    I turned to my brother-in-law in the passenger seat and said, ‘you know, lipstick is what a woman wears to remind herself that everything is going to be okay’.

Although I no longer live in the South and it is fifteen years later, that all still holds true.

Today I feel like wearing orange lipstick.

My arms may or may not be akimbo.   But I am still standing.

And here is the story of the Wonder Woman….







  1. I grew up in NY and was raised to believe that lipstick rule. When my mother was in the hospital, lipstick was one of her necessities.

  2. The expression has always made me smile, but more in clumsy / slapstick way. I see arms flailiing and legs sprawling when I hear it — guess I never really knew what it meant! (Can legs be akimbo too?) Anyway, it’s another thoughtful gem from you.

Submit a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.