Say "Roosevelt". Say "Rae".

Say Raesevelt.

I like the name Rae. The R carries gravitas while the a and the e together sound soothing and warm. It's a hardy name for a woman, but also elegant. Melodic, but not fussy. Women named Rae have work to do, no time to bother with extra syllables or letters. The same might be said of a man named TR.
Many popular legends surround the life of Theodore Roosevelt, but one of the most pervasive also happens to be a fact. The boy was born with a host of afflictions, including, most prominently, severe chronic asthma and what was at the time called "cholera morbus" - chronic and debilitating diarrhea. As a consequence, he grew up sickly and scrawny. 
The reasonable course would have been for him to resign himself to his apparent genetic destiny. His family was wealthy, and he could have embarked on a life of genteel invalidism, becoming instead what Victorian writers liked to call a "valetudinarian." Instead of pursuing his expected route, he resolved to take a radical detour by building up his body in an effort to acquire what he had not been born with: robust health. He therefore embarked on a largely self-designed course of hard physical exercise and intense activity, the formula for living he later dubbed "the strenuous life." 
Building physical strength, transforming skin and bones into muscle, willing himself into a state of physical vigor were key goals of his program. There was however, even more. His naturally frail state had made him something of a fearful lad. Profoundly dissatisfied with living scared, he seems to have approached he acquisition of courage in much the same way as he approached the acquisition of muscle, physical prowess, and good health. Naturally timorous, TR became fearless "by sheer dint of practicing fearlessness." 
Roosevelt emerged in his own time and stands in history as that most American of American archetypes: the self-made man. Most commonly, that phrase refers to someone who achieved financial success without having been born into money. In the case of TR, however, "self-made" needs to be applied as broadly, and deeply, and as literally as possible. He saw what he was born with, he understood where nature was taking him, and finding destiny disagreeable, he took hard, practical steps to alter it. In remaking who he was, he made who he would become. (via)
At its heart, this is a blog about kicking ass. My ass, life's ass . . . any ass, really. TR did this all the time. Despite growing up in New York's high society – and against the advice of leaders in his party – Roosevelt stood down J.P. Morgan in one of his first acts of presidential trust-busting. In 1912, he ran again (on a platform that included women's suffrage) and was nearly assassinated on the campaign trail. "It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!", he declared, showing his bloody shirt to the crowd before continuing with a 90-minute speech. After losing that election, he set off to explore an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River on an expedition wrought with starvation, disease, ambush, and murder. 

TR was a progressive man with unshakeable convictions, boundless ambition, and unflinching optimism. He lived a privileged life, but not one without tragedy and failure: Poor health in his youth, the deaths of his wife and mother on the same day, elections lost by wide margins. Yet amidst those peaks and valleys, "the still point in his worldview was confidence in his own ability to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and lie, value and worthlessness. It was never an absolute faith of anyone outside of himself."

Raesevelt – a union of my middle name and Theodore's last – is the process of taking on the strenuous life. It's about becoming a woman who trusts herself and charges toward frontiers. A self-made woman.

A Bull Moose woman.

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