I’ve been reading for a long time. I cannot remember the first book I read to myself, but I do know that I’m drawn to a certain type of lead character. The leads I connect best with are loud, brash, independent females who are trying to find their way in their world wherever (and whenever) that might be. I’m drawn to these type of fictional characters because that is who I want to be in the real world.
Many times, in the real world, this type of female is perceived as a bitch, a troublemaker, a rabble rouser. As a reader, I admire these women. I sit back in my reading nook and think, “I can do that. I can stand up to so-and-so and get what I want.” or “I can walk away from so-and-so because they are not completing me as a person.” But then reality hits. The moment you stand up and walk away, your friends and family walk the other way and don’t look back. You are alone. In the workplace, standing up and getting what you need, like a raise or fighting to get the right level of customer service for a client, there are whispers behind your back that you always get what you want. Suddenly, you are alone, whether that is the reality or just a perceived notion, because you see no one else fighting the same way you are.
When you are standing alone, it’s comforting to take refuge in a book where the lead character mirrors your life. It brings comfort. It brings solace. A feeling of solidarity. The words, “I am not alone.” ring loud in your head and your heart. Sometimes in these books, the character has a trusty sidekick—a best girlfriend, the boy next door that they are in denial of loving, the adult figure who coaxes the character to realize their full potential. Other times, the character is able to pull herself up by her bootstraps and move on all on her own. The problem is, unless you are reading non-fiction, none of it is real. And sometimes you need it to be real.
It’s important to remember at times when it feels like hope is lost and you feel you are alone that like your favorite fictional character, you need to stop, look around and take stock of what’s around you. What hasn’t changed since you made that important decision to fight for what was right or walk away from a toxic relationship? Whatever is remaining be—whether its a single thing or a single person—that is what you can count on. Those are the things that matter. And it’s not silly if it is your beloved pet or if it’s the fact you have a roof over you head. Some of our favorite characters have had far less when the dust settled.