I really enjoy my female architypes. I love the idea of the fictional characters who embody all that it is to be the kick ass solder, the seductress, the guy’s gal, the heroine.
Growing up I was very judgmental of fictional characters. I wanted straight forward characters that where golden. They had to make the right decision, morally at least, every time or I thought they weren’t worth rooting for. I remember reading Frankenstein with such disgust for the main characters. I would scream “What the hell is wrong with you Frankenstein!?! Own up to your mistakes! Stop whining!” The problem was that I wanted all the characters to fit into a box. I wanted them to own the archetype.
I wanted the people in my life to be that way too. I wanted friends to fit into that BFF image that I saw on TV. I wanted my mom and dad to be that loving but strict type of parents that I read about. I wanted teachers to be like Robin Williams in the Dead Poets Society. I wanted boys to be the romantic heroes from the pages of a fairytale. But what happens when your friends say something unkind when you are quarrelling? What happens when your parents make mistakes? What happens when your teachers have their own lives to worry about and boys don’t see you as that special princess? What happens when they don’t see you at all?
Obviously it’s because they are not real friends or real teachers. They are inferior, or so I thought. They were the antagonist in the story of my life, and should be pushed away to make room for the genuine article. But nobody is perfect. Everyone screws up now and then, and so they all got pushed away.
Then I started failing. I started screwing up and I judged myself hardest of all. I began to see myself not as the heroine of my own story but instead as a weak sniveling character that I wanted to skip over. It wasn’t Dr. Frankenstein now. It was me. “What the hell is wrong with me!?! Why don’t I own up to my mistakes and move on? Why can’t I stop whining?”
Why? Because I was so invested in being a character. I was the typ A hard working smart girl. I was so intent on being that girl that I crumbled when I did something human. When I did something lazy or half assed, when I ran out of answers and goals, I broke down. If I’m not the type A girl than I must be the lazy girl. I must be the useless girl.
Obviously that is not the case. Real people are not one thing or the other. Real people are flawed. Real people don’t always make the best decision morally. We as humans don’t always make the right choice and many of us fide it difficult to admit when we are wrong. Fictional characters like Harmione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, or Mercy Thomson are admirable, entertaining, and certainly something to aspire to, but they are not real. We humans must be kind to ourselves for our failures. We must not fall into the trap of seeing others or ourselves as either the hero or the villain.
I struggle every day to just be me. I am not the perfect type A girl. I am not the lazy burden on my family. The perky housewife. The loving mother. The depressed chick. The Whovian. The athlete. I am not any one of these people and I am all of them. I can be the seductress, the guy’s gal, and the kick ass solder only when I accept when I am not any one of those people. I am me.