There she weaves by night and day,
A magic web with colors gay,
For she has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down on Camelot.
(The Lady of Shalott - Tennyson)
That quote comes from one of my favorite movies, and very favorite heroine's of all time - Anne of Green Gables. It's the part in the movie when Anne convinces her friends to reenact The Lady of Shalott and while reciting the ballad finds herself in a leaky boat sinking to the bottom of a river. Perhaps not the best thought out plan - but that's why I love her. Anne and I couldn't be more different, she is impulsive, and gets herself into trouble, she's passionate and brave - where I am cautious, overly so, I avoid conflict and I rarely speak my mind. In fact, when trying to settle on a "girl" name before the birth of my daughter, I think that was why I was so attracted to using Anne (with an E of course) as a part of her name. Though I could do without the impulsiveness, I wanted my daughter to be brave, confident and good, like Anne Shirley.
I love reading and writing about female characters with guts. You know what I mean, women who aren't afraid to stand up for what's right, who don't let people push them around, or believe it when people tell them they are ugly or worthless. Ladies who stand up and do what's right, regardless of the consequences. The only problem I've found, is that it's easier to be brave while reading a book, or writing a character. Real life sort of sneaks up on you, and it's harder to block out those taunting little voices that tell you, you're no good, or you aren't pretty - like her, or you're not strong enough, or you're not smart enough. But, I've started to think, us ladies have been misinformed. Why aren't we more like Anne Shirley? Elizabeth Bennet? Gwendolyn Fairfax? Scout Finch?
I've decided not to let anyone hold me back anymore. I've decided to believe I am beautiful and strong, that I can love people, and be kind without letting people's words dictate how I look at myself. You only get one chance to write your own story - be the heroine you want to read about.
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