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Catwoman's redemption an example to follow

By Matthew Jacobsen
On December 7, 2010

When the word "hero" comes up in conversation, the average person may conjure up images of firefighters, police officers, doctors and such. If you add "super" before "hero" then the mind switches to caped crusaders who thwart bad guys in comic books, television and movies. But in either case, the mind summons an image of a selfless person out to do good.

In the real world, however, there are few who have lived lives completely dedicated to others with no regard for their own gratifications and material possessions. But despite the ever-growing population of people who are only out to satisfy themselves, there are still people who are willing to be heroes, and some of those heroes actually started out as villains.

Once upon a time I was an avid comic book collector. I had literally thousands of titles, some of them dating back to the early '60s. I've since grown out of my geekdom persona, but I actually learned a life lesson from a particular character who was a constant in my comic book collection: Catwoman.

A typical person may not consider Catwoman to be a hero. But I think she has the best hero qualities a person can have, specifically because she started out as a villain.

Catwoman first made an appearance in the comic book "Batman No. 1" in 1940. In that story she was a dress-wearing socialite who would attend swanky parties without a disguise. She would then disappear from view and return shortly thereafter with a cat mask on and proceed to swipe all the rich folks' jewelry and money.

For years after that she was a cat burglar who stole anything she could. Batman was constantly on the prowl to nab that devious feline.

As time progressed, she became more skilled as well as super-sexy. Before you knew it she was sporting a skin-tight catsuit and toting a 12-foot-long bull whip to aid her in criminal activities. The suit in question may have served the purpose of agility, but something tells me she also wanted to show off that smoking hot body.

Of course, that proved to be a weapon in and of itself. I'm sure Batman found it hard to focus when looking upon a woman clad in body-hugging black vinyl. 

Catwoman became a staple in DC comics (and eventually the Batman movie franchise) and slowly evolved into a person with good intentions.

She's the perfect example of someone who led a corrupt past but actively chose to become a woman with scruples. It's an inspiring story of turning over a new leaf.

It's true that Selina Kyle (that's Catwoman's real name) still has bouts of criminal urges, but she always has a noble goal. She uses her femininity to her advantage, and believe it or not, I think we could all take a lesson from her.

All of us have done things we're not particularly proud of. I believe some of us do things that are not admirable, and we might even be proud of those naughty deeds.

But we can all look at the bad things we've done and say to ourselves, "That was a horrible thing to do, and I want to change."

Catwoman is a fictitious character, but I think we can take a page from her comic book.

You don't have to have lived a perfect existence. In fact, even the most hardened criminal has the ability to look at his or her past and say, "I'm going to make the effort to change."

It may take practice, but we can all identify our greatest strengths and use them for good, whether to better our own lives or the lives of others.

Catwoman once used her greatest assets to steal and swindle. She would dress in tight vinyl and seduce Batman as well as any other male she encountered. That seduction would be used to distract her opponent, thus enabling her to complete whatever dastardly deed she had in mind.

However, now she uses her sexuality and small arsenal of creative gadgets to thwart the bad people she encounters.

We can all do the same. Well, not necessarily with sexuality, but with whatever unique talent we all have.

Each one of us possesses a forte we can use in various ways to positively enhance our lives and the lives of people around us. Just as Catwoman has proven, we don't need super powers to achieve greatness. We only need our own super talents, and I know every person has at least one. 

Catwoman uses her feminine wiles and the ability to move undetected through the shadows to help people. I use my words and different forums like the Dixie Sun website and my blog to share my opinions with people all over the world. I hope every article I write inspires at least one person. 

I believe the biggest parallel between Catwoman and myself is the change I made in my personal life, and I hope this article can reach at least one person who might consider changing the way I did.

I was once a very lost person. Several years ago I was on a path to self-destruction. I was associated with people who had no goals except to party as hard as they could. I had no respect for anyone, especially myself.

But like Catwoman, I had an awakening. I realized I didn't have to be a horrible person. By eliminating my pursuit of self-gratification, I actually made myself happier.

So now, like Catwoman, I look around me and find the tools I need to succeed in an honest way. By changing from a selfish person who did illegal things into a person who earns things honestly, I have become someone who is loved by others and most importantly loved by myself.

Catwoman has shown me that I don't need to be able to fly, have super strength, have a genius brain, or shoot spider webs out of my wrists to be a superhero. She has shown me that the most powerful ability a superhero can have is the power to change for the better. Redemption is the greatest ability a hero can possess.

So be like Catwoman. Think of your own personal talent. Figure out how you can use it not only to better yourself, but also to better the lives of others. Be willing to change. It's never too late to stop being a villain and start being a hero. 

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