Quotes from Bad-Ass Women Who Will Help Us Cope with Disaster

Marlene Dietrich BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of theguardian.com

It was a difficult year. Anyone can tell you that. The history books will remember it as a horrible year. I will remember it as bloody awful. 

I celebrated the end of 2020 by thanking all the saints on my bodega candles for its passing, while also recognizing that it taught me a lot. We all lived through what will be a pretty significant chapter in the history books. It has been unpleasant, disconcerting, and maddening.  

So many rites of passage intertwined around 12 months of one year. I could enumerate, but I won’t. Even in these times of trouble and confusion, when even Mother Mary doesn’t understand, I tend to look at the glass half full, rather than half empty. Call it self-preservation or being a Pollyanna or sheer exhaustion with this thing we call life (Prince’s words not mine.) 

The glass half full will be difficult as 2021 started with the storming of the American Bastille – Congress. For me, it’s the day that Captain America died. The day reporters started using the term “Banana Republic” to describe the US. The term was coined by the American writer O.Hara in a fictional description of a country based on Honduras.

We knew Donald Trump would not go quietly, but we didn’t expect an attempted coup by a “mob” sporting horns and strange trousers and talking about radio waves. 

As 2021 begins, I would rather try to find the lesson of 2020 and walk on, wiser, and ready to take on the weirdness of 2021. We have had four years of doom; let’s flip the switch. 

What I find helps me align all those planets is to go back and find quotations of resilient women. I had a friend who used to call me “The Quotation Queen,” because I peppered my emails with them. I collect them in notebooks and scraps of paper. These words of wisdom speak to me. I have used many of them in 2020, and, by the look of things, will be using them again in 2021. 

So, I thought that a nice thing to do for those that have endured my musings here is to share just a few of my favorite quotations. I hope you enjoy them. I hope you find as much solace in their structure as have I. And I promise that, if you keep on reading Be Latina in 2021, there will be more. 

If there is a character in history that I find fascinating, it is Marlene Dietrich. Her look, her aloofness, and her balls. She flowed in life. It is from Dietrich that the first quote comes. She explained the art of quotation perfectly.

“I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.” Ain’t that the truth. 

Amongst my other favorite Dietrich quotes are the following:

“Darling, the legs aren’t so beautiful, I just know how to use them.”  MD (This one is poetry in motion.) 

“I am at heart a gentleman.” MD

“They want you to bring out your intestines.” MD (This one is visually fantastic.)

I also admire Eleanor Roosevelt, again a strong female character in history. For a woman that looked so stern, her words unveil a twinkle in the eye and a wicked sense of humor. Here are but a few of her quotes that got me through horribilus 2020 and will hopefully see me through 2021.

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” ER

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” ER

“I have spent many years of my life in opposition, and I rather like the role.” ER

A number of years ago, we who love words lost a cantankerous yet brilliant writer — Christopher Hitchens. Ah, but he could illustrate contrarian with a quote! (The one male that made the list.)

“To ‘choose’ dogma and faith over doubt and experience is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.” CH

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” CH

And I leave you a quote I have used many times in the past from the American actress Joan Crawford. I think it’s appropriate.

“Don’t f*** with me, fellas. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo.”