Artemis Reckons with Risk – March 2017

Gretchen was the consummate Artemis. Gutsy, supernaturally strong, adventurous and a champion of children and animals – throw her a challenge and she was off and running.

Working as an EMT in a rural New England area, Gretchen felt she’d found her calling. She was one of the unsung heroes of emergency response. Taking control in situations that involved angry, drunk, and violent people didn’t faze her.

Her supervisor and coworkers marveled at her alacrity. A few months into the job, Gretchen began training as a paramedic where she could give shots or start intravenous lifelines. She even thought of becoming a doctor.

One night while tearing through a winding, treacherous road piloting the ambulance at a speed that was too fast for even an EMT, a fawn leapt out in front of her and was killed instantly.

A crewmember who sat next to her in the ambulance reported Gretchen’s reckless driving to their boss. “ You’re a cowboy. grow up,” he fumed, placing her on suspension.

Crestfallen, Gretchen slunk home to Phyllis, her partner of six months. Practical, cautious and organized, Phyllis was the soul of support, taking a backseat in their relationship. But after hearing the story, she showed her disappointment and turned cold.

Finally Phyllis said: “This incident brings to light concerns I have about being with you. You see yourself as a heroine, talking about how you love children and want to have some. Yet you drive like a bat out of hell, even when you aren’t on the job. That fawn could have been a child. You are too busy playing Wonder Woman to understand the implications of your actions.”

  • Gretchen/Artemis gets stung – she knows there is a grain of truth in what Phyllis is saying. She values their relationship.
  • She takes a step back to think about other experiences she’s had – close calls under the guise of knowing what’s best for others.
  • She’s a ‘right-fighter’. Can she soften that aspect? Take on some humility and make amends?

Phew! For the next two weeks, Gretchen and Phyllis barely talked. Finally, as excruciatingly hard as it was for her, Gretchen sat down with Phyllis and said: “I’d like a do-over. I heard what you’ve said and agree. Wonder Woman will scale it back. I need you. You possess qualities I don’t have. You balance me. And I love you.”

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