It's week 2 of 52 Lists! And this week is one of my very very favorites. I filled out this list when I was writing the journal and it was so inspiring and interesting to contemplate. It definitely took me a lot longer than other lists but I found myself getting giddy just thinking about my favorite stories and characters and why I love them.
One of the most interesting things I found was that I don't always have characters that I love in every book that I love. For example, I love Snow Falling on Cedars but I don't particularly like any of the characters. The story is powerful to me but the arc of the story is what makes the book compelling to me, not the characters as individuals.
The most interesting thing I found that continues through both books and movies for me is that I deeply connect to children as main characters in stories rather than adults. My favorite books of all time usually have a young boy as their lead character on some sort of quest, coming of age stories that involve a touch of mystery and magic. I can't tell if I love so many books with boys as main characters because there are simply not enough books with girls as main characters on similar quests that also have a bit of magic, or maybe because I just don't usually like any stories that have a lot of romance (which more girl focused coming of age stories have) or maybe it's because in a lot of ways, I feel like I was raised in a very non-traditional way. I was praised for my creativity and goal focused attitude, I was very intimidated by girls in my peer group as a kid and still now as an adult. I got along better with boys when I was a little girl even though I myself dressed really girly and was very bashful, timid and shy. Girls just scared me.
The ONE book with a female main character in it that I deeply connected to and still adore is Mathilda. I experienced a lot of trauma as a child; loss, death, moving from one side of the world to the other, lots of varying hardships that hit me very very hard and still haunt me today. And I think Mathilda was that one character who really made me feel like I had someone to relate to and admire that was also a girl. She had a shy and gentle spirit, but when she believed in something, she pursued it wholeheartedly. And that was definitely me as a child and I guess still me today. At my core, I'm actually a very shy and bashful person, but because I understand as an adult that everyone copes in lots of ways, I make a serious effort to be really outgoing and enthusiastic when I meet people because I want everyone to feel comfortable.
Ms Honeycut in Mathilda is also such an important character to me and a role model. She too was a shy and gentle spirit, someone who endured so much loss as a child but used her understanding of pain and suffering as a positive tool in her life, one that made her passionate to teach and love children well. Her understanding and intuition along with the courage and strength she found through Mathilda really turned her into an incredible champion and idol for me as a child. And Mathilda's belief in herself and in doing good for others and herself in the face of really scary things and scary women, like Mrs Trunchbull, made me believe I could make things I believed in happen in my life too, despite any fears I had.
I'll tell ya what, that ALL plays into who I am today, not only in my best qualities but my flaws and fears too! I'm still a very sensitive, bashful, and gentle spirit. But I believe in things with a lot of passion, and I pursue what I love with fervor and a trust in myself that I WILL accomplish and get things done. In that sense, I have massive confidence that I can prevail, overcome, and succeed. The struggle I do still see in myself though is confidence in social situations where I am really intimidated by women who I admire or who women who I don't know and am afraid will judge me. I play the game of "I think that they think this about me" way too much. I want to be a mind reader and navigate every nerve wracking situation by trying to guess what other people are thinking. But guess what, I don't have that magic power. And all I can do is CHOOSE confidence when I am afraid, just like every other character I admire and just like how I choose confidence in difficult projects in work.
What I relate to and admire the most about all of the characters I love is that they all start as really unassuming kids. But they overcome adversity, they discover their value on their terms, and they push through anything that is scary or overwhelming in every element of their lives to do something good for themselves and others. I believe in their pursuits and I want to be just like that. I'm someone who had a very short childhood and had to grow up fast just to feel like I was surviving. And in many ways it has helped me become the person that I am for the better. I care deeply about the well being of children because I can relate and tap into my inner child quickly. Reading stories of young kids overcoming adversity I think brings me healing and gives me the chance to experience things that I was too scared to do as a child. It also helps me trust in the power that kids truly have. I really don't like it when adults underestimate kids. The raw wisdom that kids have, to me, can so many times be so much more powerful than the knowledge that adults work so hard to find.
I could go on and on guys, I love talking about the characters I love and I really only tapped on one here haha. But I want to hear about YOUR favorite characters! Tell me tell me! This week, I'm working on being confident in my personal life, in new interactions with people. I want to pursue personal adventure the way all of my characters do. What do your favorite characters inspire in you?