H Is For Heroine
Anne of Green Gables. Little House on the Prairie. Little Women. To Kill A Mockingbird. The Diviners. Stone Angel. These books contain the heroines of my childhood and teenage years.
I suppose I have a favourite type of heroine, like I have my favourite story troupes. They can have hard or soft edges. Little education or a PhD. Be child-free or buried in babies. Geeky gamers. Rudderless or driven. They don’t have to be likeable 100 percent of the time. They make mistakes.
Fast forward to crafting my own heroines and the characteristics I like to explore.
Confidence: No surprise there. Confidence is incredibly appealing. It affects how we feel, our behaviour towards others, and the outcome of any undertaking. It creates a heroine who is more powerful, more in control, and more satisfied. They expect equality, cooperation, and respect whether they bus tables or run companies. Whether they run a daycare or a country.
Passion: A heroine can be down and out, discouraged beyond belief, have lost hope. But once that fire within has been stoked it allows her to live life, experience it, and claim it. She does not live a life of temperance. When she regales her grandchildren with stories of her past, her tales are met with wide eyes and open mouths.
Determination: There is no superpower greater than determination. She will let nothing stand in her way. There is no obstacle big enough, no danger great enough to keep her from her goal. From winning. Because who can afford to lose if the life of their children is on the line? Their patient’s life? A total stranger’s?
Strength: Often the ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ response is a luxury they can’t afford. Someone has to be around to look after the kids, the dog, the house, the neighbourhood, the community. Women are the fixers. The multi-taskers. The gatherers. They can be the hunters. The thief in the night. They can be whatever they have to be to survive.
Commitment: They know the cost of responsibility and are willing to pay it. When all seems lost they do not allow the feeling of wanting to quit to overpower their commitment. There is no ‘taking your best shot’, there is only try harder.
Purpose: The foundation for all the rest of it. To know what they are to do and why. Not to be confused with wanting power over something or someone else. It does not need to be about conquest and supremacy. It is deeply personal. It is passionate. It is backed up with thoughts, words and deeds. It will be evident in how she feels, heals, creates, and shapes her future.
Have a favourite heroine?