In the comics, Princess Diana of Themyscira—Paradise Island—was sculpted in clay by her mother, Queen Hippolyte, out of a yearning for a child to love. Her maternal hands moved the clay into a human form, shaping it with care, and the goddess Aphrodite breathed life into it. When that child—that Wonder child—grew into womanhood, she earned the mantle of Wonder Woman through training and tournament.
I was brought to life because of my mother and father. But I came to life when I found Diana. It was she who sculpted me through love, compassion, strength, and wisdom. By reading of her adventures, by following her journey, and by learning from her example, I have become my own man.
People don't understand how a fictional character can have such a profound effect on a human being, but aren't we all constructs in a world that existed before we did? Who is to say human, sentient beings are the only things that guide others down life's path? Since 1941, the character known as Wonder Woman has been a part of the world, challenging gender stereotypes and breaking down barriers. That's part of my path, too. As a gay man, I, too, don't conform to what some believe a man should do. But—I am a man as much as any other. And, like Diana, I had more than one mother.
I reached a crossroads in November 2015, when my partner and I split. I was disoriented, unsure of my path, and—like a newborn—needing guidance and direction. At that moment in time, Diana rescued me. I reflected on how she stands strong during adverse moments, how she plants her feet and endures, and how she understands and adapts. When I needed her the most, she was there for me.
Like her, I have endured a tournament of trials. I have walked the gauntlet where my ego and spirit were battered and assaulted by forces beyond my ability to stop them. I was put through my paces. Like Diana, I had to embrace Truth. I fought my inner demons with the grace and splendor of any Amazon warrior. My bruises and scars will forever remind me of my struggle and my victory over the darker moments.
I feel prepared, armed with my own Bracelets of Submission, to deflect the projectiles thrown at me through every day experience. I submit to myself, and my own acceptance of truths. I submit to the fact that I am not like other men (or women, for that matter). I submit to the ideals I have learned from both my birth mother and by sculpting mother. I lovingly submit to both of them.
One of Diana's foes is Ares, god of war. While I don't have a definitive "Ares" against whom I must battle, I do fight through my Doubts and my Inadequacies as if they were personifications of conflict. Those have become by adversaries. I am armed with Truth and shielded by my own virtual bracelets. I have embraced who I am, and I am happy with the man I have become. The path before me is one I walk with confidence and courage. I have no other choice but to do that.
I was born of a woman's womb, and I was sculpted by hands of clay.
I bring Diana's legacy with me every single day.