I know you probably aren’t living under a rock but in the event you are, I just want to let you know that today is International Women’s Day!! It’s a wonderful day to celebrate the momentous achievement of women all over the world and it has been so inspiring and motivational to read so many stories of women who are real and who have struggled and persevered and lived!
So, in celebration of #IWD, I wanted to share with you someone who has inspired me, left me in awe, and satisfied my philosophical soul because she is AMAZING and I hope she AMAZES you as much as me.
Her name is….
I know, you have probably never heard of her unless you have studied journalism or enjoy HBO movies… Specifically the movie titled Hemingway and Gellhorn. Maybe you’re a Hemingway guru and knew that she was his third wife, although that didn’t last long.
When I first began researching Martha Gellhorn I had formed a mental analysis of her as a person. I pictured a woman who was bigger than everyone around her, a woman who knew her strength, importance and her talent, and she was completely aware of her purpose. I felt that she was the type of person who was positive of what they wanted and was willing to go to great lengths in an attempt to achieve it. I felt that there must be reason and logic to her life, that she used every event advantageously, consistently planning her next moves and consequently, she came out on top as a person to be reckoned with.
In so many ways, the Martha Gellhorn that I conjured up and filled my skull with and the Martha Gellhorn that actually walked this planet are complete polar opposites, yet they share so many similar characteristics. Gellhorn was a woman that contained a passion for writing that was so fierce it left a charred trail behind not only in her mind but also in her personal life. She was determined to the bone. It was an attempt to change the world, to gusher a spark of humanity during in the midst of war. She was married to her aspirations.
I always had it in the back of my head that Martha Gellhorn was a person who was past the frivolities of the average woman. I imagined her to be as logical and serene as the wisest of men. I pictured a woman who had detached herself from the average emotions of the human body in order to overcome the hardships of life that she saw on a regular basis. I was wrong. She was just as frivolous and giggly as a school girl and her emotions ran wild and hot. She was real, and when you read the letters that she has written, it’s proof that she contained a form of humanity that so many people desperately lack. She fell in love just as easily as she fell out of love, she was easily annoyed with those who she deemed as simple or drab. Many described her as the life of the party, mentioning how well she could hold her drink and how she could cuss with the best of them and they always remembered the joy and laughter that she thrived around.
But what no one does mention is the almost constant and ever persistent melancholy that she could never seem to shake. And as so many others, she always felt the need to do better, to improve and achieve perfection.
Gellhorns career and personal life are both immensely interesting and I find it hard to tear myself away from her words. She was a truly amazing person full of flaws and self doubt and strength and courage and so much more.
I have read several of her books and I plan to read more this year. Check out two of my favorites. I LITERALLY keep The Letters of Martha Gellhorn on my phone and read it whenever I need a little soul food.
“But if you have no part in the world, no matter how diseased the world is, you are dead. It is not enough to earn your living, do no actual harm to anyone, tell no lies (so as not to be responsible ever for any treachery however small), help a few people with money or kindness when the occasion presents- and without too great hardship to oneself. It is not enough. It is okay. It is not dirty. But it is dead.” -Martha Gellhorn