A reluctant heroine

Recently I took a short personality test: Which literary character are you?

I’m a reluctant heroine.

Businesswoman and strong shadow 3

Those tests usually are soon forgotten but the result I got from the quiz stuck with me.

A reluctant heroine, that’s exactly how I would describe Sloane Harper, my main character, although I’d never thought of her in these terms before.

She isn’t a superhero. She has no special powers except that of packing a neat diaper bag and making awesome waffles. She had no ambition to become a heroine till life threw a challenge her way.

Much like most moms around me.

The challenges can be small. Make sure the house is running flawlessly, nursing your child back to health while meeting up deadlines for work and feeding a starving husband when he comes home after a long day at the office. Remembering to post that birthday card to your great great aunt on your way to yet another PTA meeting, laundry from the dry cleaner balanced deftly on the top of your head, six inches heels making you sway with each step. Kissing tears from your child’s beloved face in the morning, him clinging at your leg, saying goodbye when you only want to snuggle with him a while longer but work is awaiting and bills won’t get paid magically by themselves.

Tiny challenges, heartbreaking challenges sometimes. Challenges you take on reluctantly because there is no other choice.

Women care, too much sometimes, about everything and everyone, and very rare are those that will shy away from a new challenge if it means improving the lives of those they love. Through all my female characters, I try to capture their selflessness and courage.

Kind, caring, bright, superficial, tough as nails, no matter the sort of women they were before, women tend to be transcended by love and motherhood.

We become life jugglers.

work life balance & managing responsibilities: working mother ju

Anyone who’s observed a mother up close can attest to her acrobatic skills.

A husband, the kids, a job, hobbies, a household to run, school clubs, our insecurities, our hopes, time for our loved ones, time for ourselves – They are so many balls we strive to keep up in the air. We fall asleep worried that we’ll drop one, or worst, all.

We wake up each morning with checklists swirling in our mind, breakfast to be cooked, groceries to be bought and doctor appointments. The lists usually run a few decades, sometimes all the way to buying a condo for retirement.

I mean, just two days ago I was planning my daughter’s Bat Mitzva while waiting at the cashier. She’s one, eleven more years to go – no time to waste obviously. Tomorrow I’ll probably pick a dress for her wedding.

Oddly enough, the more we multitask, the better we fare. As superheroes, we need a challenge, we strive on adrenaline and the fear that we’ll let our charges down.

Our life often resemble a circus act.

Took On Too Much

As reluctant heroines, we never hoped for such responsibilities, we often fear we took on too much. Fortunately, between shear stubbornness and endless love, we manage somehow. Plus, life as a way to work itself out, lending us a much needed hand at times.

This is why I love woman fiction and above all, reluctant heroines’ fiction. They are so much like us. They are us. And amidst the mistakes and clumsiness, these heroines manage to save the day. And start again the next day.

They are real women, lovers, mothers, kick-ass everyday wonder women.

Read all comments
  • Yes.

    I think most men could do a heck of a lot more.

    Just look at the list of all the things your reluctant heroine is managing – each one is a full time job in its own right. And the hubby? 9-5. End of.

    Seems too many men feel they’ve executed the full extent of their responsibilities just by turning in the 9-5. I’m not convinced!

    So much of women’s potential creativity is ploughed into the daily routine of sustaining the household and family. If only men would be re-educated (and women) to realize this ain’t the stone age anymore! Perhaps when childbirth and rearing was the only option for women and dinner had to be hunted down in the form of a woolly mammoth, these gender roles made sense.

    But hello? Today in the modern west, there is just no reason why all of this can’t be re-imagined more equitably and creatively.

    There should at least be choice.

    So, I salute these reluctant heroines.

    But at the same time, I say, re-imagine yourselves! There’s another kind of heroism awaits. Helping free us all from this gender-stereotyping oppression. The main responsibility for this may lie with men. But my guess is some serious heroines are going to have to kick some male butt to get them to realize that.

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