(As I've said before, I'm a sucker for debut authors and creative promotions. So I was all over this.)
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time alone. While I had people I looked up to, I didn't really take enough notice of anyone (or no one took enough of an interest in me), to spark the kind of hero worship Kirsten Hubbard is talking about.
What I did have though, were stories. And what I wanted more than anything was to be the kind of person I found in my books. Brave, confident powerful people.
I wanted to be a secret agent or a professional dancer or an assassin. (Better yet, all three at once!) I wanted magical powers and great combat skills. I wanted to turn heads and inspire rabid devotion. I wanted to be graceful and beautiful and always in control.
And I would have given anything to be at least a little dangerous.
I know why I wanted those things. I was scared and overwhelmed a lot of the time, and imagining myself as someone who could handle anything was comforting. At least for a while.
But dreaming such things can be a double-edged sword. I think David Sedaris said it best.
"My epic fantasies offer the illusion of generosity, but never the real thing... In imagining myself as modest, mysterious and fiercely intelligent, I'm forced to realize that, in real life, I have none of those qualities. Nobody dreams of the things he already has.
(From Me Talk Pretty One Day)
It's true. I am not a dangerous person, or a powerful one. I'm not even particularly brave.
My first instinct when confronted with a tense situation is to freeze. I've never been in a physical altercation in my life, not even with my sisters. I prefer to go around people instead of fighting with them. As much as I'd love to think of myself as bold and sassy, I've never administered a verbal smackdown. The word most often used to describe me by friends and family over the years is sensitive, which is always followed by the phrase "Not that that's a bad thing."
Right. Uh huh.
In many ways I'm still the same clumsy, socially awkward marshmallow I've always been. And to be honest, that still scares me. The world is an unpredictable and jagged place. It's full of people who are mean, broken, misguided or just plain selfish. And while I'm a pretty resilient person, I'm not that tough.
It is a frighting thing to be a marshmallow in a world of pointy sticks. Even though I like myself much better now than I did back then, and even though I know there are other ways to be strong than kicking ass, sometimes...
Well, sometimes I still wish I were a ninja.
What about you? Who would you have given anything to be like?