As history teaches us throughout the ages; there are a few exceptional individuals within each generation of human beings born in this world. One of these, for me at least, is that of the extraordinary Eleanor Roosevelt. She changed the way we looked at the 1st Lady in America and also how we as a nation should perceive a well-educated and knowledgeable woman.
What inspired me to write this post was this documentary.
Eleanor Roosevelt grew up with harsh beginnings. Her mother died when Eleanor was 8 years old; but the few years Eleanor really had a chance to bond with her mother; her mother was very critical of her. She was displeased with the fact that Eleanor wasn’t a “natural beauty”. She feared that Eleanor wouldn’t amount to anything, in terms of making it into high-society as a socialite. Of course, Eleanor as a child was affected immensely by her mother’s words.
Eleanor was also changed by her father’s alcoholism.
She absolutely adored her father. Even if her father was a very horrible drinker, he was the parent which provided Eleanor a sense of security and love. He was attentive to her whenever he would come and visit the family after his many business trips around America and also around the world. He even promised Eleanor that one day he would take her to see all of the wonders to the world (including the Taj Mahal among other prominent global locations). Of course, he was never around in Eleanor’s life for long, so his promises were broken promises.
But Eleanor, against all the odds in her life growing up, and also after a series of very narrow yet lucky events; was able to grow into the powerfully political woman she would one day become famous for as the 1st Lady to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Eleanor was an activist at a very young age for civil rights and also for worker’s rights. In fact, signs of her future activism shows in her teen years, when she would volunteer to help the less fortunate in New York City. Something about her work-ethic has always inspired me to some degree throughout my life as well. It never fails to amaze me just how much energy that woman had in her time living on Earth. She was incredibly well-learned and also knew what she was talking about at social events (especially later on during FDR’s reign). What I admire the most about her is her ability to connect with other human beings so easily and effortlessly.
Admittedly, Eleanor Roosevelt was shy as a little girl. But as she grew older and more mature, she had become more confident as a woman who knew what she wanted and knew who she was at the core of her being. It’s fascinating to know just how much Eleanor did during FDR’s presidency. She had completely redefined what it meant to be a 1st Lady, and she had also proved to the world, that anyone who is willing and determined enough, could achieve anything, no matter their race, gender, or creed. She had a passion to help those who were less fortunate, and I admire that the most in her as a human being.
Even though Eleanor Roosevelt is a part of America’s history; I still feel as though she is with us in presence. The examples she set forth by her actions only furthers this feeling more; as it becomes more and more apparent that America is faced with dark times very similar to when FDR had become President (FDR became President of the United States in 1933). There’s an omnipotent sense of dread in America’s future, and it feels as though the days are becoming darker and darker with each passing hour.
But that’s another reason why I admire Eleanor Roosevelt. She had this undeniable tack to make things happen one way or another.
She never gave up, and she always tried her best to prove wrong her detractors and naysayers.
Eleanor Roosevelt was confident even when she wasn’t particularly sure what the outcome of her actions would be at times. She spent a lot of her time helping people in some way or form. Eleanor hardly ever rested; especially since her and FDR had many children. She was constantly moving and doing things; never taking the time to properly rest. And in her case, many historians believe that was a good decision on her part.
Because truth be told, Eleanor Roosevelt was suspected to have suffered from severe depression throughout her life.
If she didn’t keep herself occupied with certainly important duties throughout her days, weeks, months, and years; Eleanor had a habit of steadily slipping away down the rabbit hole of dark thoughts and feelings. I completely see why this would be the case; after all, not only did she have a rough time growing up when she was a child, but she also had a difficult time with her husband. She had found out that FDR had an affair with one of their assistance. She also had an overbearing mother-in-law who made all of the decisions for Eleanor and FDR. Her mother-in-law had a lot of money; thus that easily equated to having more power than Eleanor in the beginning of Eleanor and FDR’s marriage and family-building years.
Again though, Eleanor never let life’s hardships and obstacles get in her way for too long. She always found a way around such nuisances and novelties. This kind of iron-willpower is incredibly inspiring to me, and often times in recent days, I find myself gathering strength from the simple fact that Eleanor had accomplished so much in her not-so-glamorous but certainly amazing, life.
Not only did she accomplish a lot for women in general in the political and social spheres of American life, she also inspired a whole generation of young people to go after their dreams no matter the adversity. Eleanor Roosevelt will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll never forget what I’ve learned through history. She is not only one of the greatest women of all-time; but she is also one of the most amazing human beings of human history.
Forever in Your Debt,