A Steel Magnolia is a woman who exemplifies both traditional femininity as well as uncommon fortitude. (Wikionary). The term Steel Magnolia is usually used to describe a woman who has faced adversity full on with grace, poise, and dignity.
I have seen the movie, Steel Magnolias, many times. I originally saw it in the theater when it debuted in 1989 with my mom and my aunts, all Steel Magnolias. When I was a child and young woman, I watched each of them face an assortment of adversities and show me how it was done. They probably had no idea that I was watching them. They didn’t whine about their problems; they just handled their problems. It is such a gift to a girl to have strong female role models.
When my grandmother had a heart attack, I saw them take shifts at the hospital for three weeks. When she passed away early on Christmas morning, I watched my mom leave to meet them at the hospital at 5:00 a.m., come home to open gifts with her family, and later that day go to the funeral home to plan a funeral. I watched my mom and my aunts handle themselves with dignity at the visitation and the funeral. I know my mother was brokenhearted but she pushed on. That’s what a strong woman does. This is only one of the many examples of their grace.
I did a little research on the magnolia tree, which by the way happens to be the state tree of Mississippi and Louisiana. The flower is the state flower of Mississippi. There are magnolia tree fossils dating back 20,000 years. It has had to adapt to different climates and geographical regions in order to survive; that’s why the flower is so tough. The flower represents feminine beauty and perseverance. Just like a Steel Magnolia. A Steel Magnolia adapts, survives, and perseveres with femininity.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can come out of it.” – Maya Angelou
I lost both of my parents in 2008, one of my brothers in 2015, and my son in 2016. It is through the examples set by these women that I have been able to handle adversity with as much grace as I have.
Just for fun, I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from the movie, Steel Magnolias.
Annelle – “Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not affect my ability to do good hair.”
Truvy – “I don’t like her. I don’t trust anyone who does their own hair. I don’t think it’s natural.”
Shelby – “Pink is my signature color.”
Clairee Belcher – “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”
Clairee Belcher – “Ousier, I’d recognize this penmanship anywhere. You have the handwritin’ of a serial killer.”
Go be a Steel Magnolia.
Peace and Love.
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She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.