It’s okay to be me

This post was inspired by WordPress’ Daily Prompt ‘It Builds Character’.

I have already accidentally deleted this entire post twice because of strange things that the new interface does. I am unimpressed to say the least. So I will now write this in Word and copy paste 🙂

When I think back on characters that have had an effect on me, there is one in particular which stands out as being integral to the person I have become.

When I was young (prepubescent young), I was already aware that I was different from most of the other girls in the class. Whilst they were obsessed with ‘The Baby Sitters Club’ and ‘Sweet Valley High’ (both of which I read and enjoyed, but mainly they just gave me numbers for the read-a-thon each year) I was off reading ‘Matilda’ and authors like R.L Stine (not the Goosebumps books, the advanced stuff) and Tamora Pierce. I had great access to YA novels because my Mum was a Teacher Librarian at a High School.

Other girls my age wanted to play makeovers and weddings and I wanted to ride bikes and run through the bush. The girls I knew made games of imagining their weddings to a member of the Backstreet Boys or Hanson whilst I danced about the house singing to the score of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.

Jo March from ‘Little Women’ was a trailblazer, in a time where it wasn’t proper for women to run through the woods, traipse about through brooks without shoes, yell out to or play with boys or write epic novels she did it all and everyone who mattered accepted her and loved her for who she was. Everything about this girl/woman appealed to me. It would be fair to say that as a young girl my biggest dream was to grow up to be Jo March. She was a hero to me. To this day she remains one of my favourite literary characters. In fact Jo March is probably the reason I have the guts to write online.

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Jo also appealed to me because of her love of the written word and her strength of character and independence. You have probably noticed from my reviews of my books for 52 Books in 52 Weeks that I have a thing for strong female characters that shuck the norm and stereotypes. I still believe that this love of certain qualities in this character made me try to develop those characteristics in myself. As soon as I was old enough to work (14) I got an after school job. This made me feel amazing because I didn’t have to ask my mother to buy me things like deodorant and tampons (you have no idea how amazing it was as a 14 year old to not rely on someone else for your tampon stash!), this was my first step to real independence and I liked it. I saved my money from my job and when I graduated I paid my own way on a holiday with my friends, that is a pretty huge thing for an 18 year old to be able to do. Then when I was 19 I moved interstate to the desert, yup I moved to Ayers Rock, it was arid, hot, confronting and I was pretty innocent at the time (I hardened up quick though – read more about that here), I had no safety net there. I knew no one. It was the bravest and most awesome thing I think I have done. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad I did it to this day!

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I believe I have a lot to thank Jo March for. I have previously written about my love of both the book and movie and after reading back over this post I realise how big an impact my love of this character has had on me. As far as role models go I am pretty proud that she has been and continues to be mine.

 

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About DitchTheBun

I have a new job and now work in a Public Library full time as the Reference & Information Services Librarian. It is a full on, busy role with much variety and many challenges and I love it! I have strange sometimes very outside the box ideas that I want to try at work, I just need to convince others of how awesome my ideas are. Saving the Library, one awesome plan at a time. Hmm... I need a cape - all the awesome super heroes have a cape! View all posts by DitchTheBun

21 responses to “It’s okay to be me

  • Amy M.

    I have a few comments on this one. What is the WordPress daily prompt? Am I missing out on something good? And how old are you? I read all of the same books you did, and while I loved the teeny-bopper ones you mentioned, I also tried to read “The Hobbit” (but I had a hard time with that one), and loved reading my mom’s Stephen King and John Saul books as far back as I remember. I never quite found a hero or heroine like you did, though. I did love Jo as well. I’m glad you were able to find a heroine to help shape you in your youth and teach you to be independent!

  • thebarrenlibrarian

    We basically had the same childhood. Tamara Pierce, Roald Dahl, and Louisa May Alcott basically raised me. The BFG was my first picture book. And I feel the same away about Jo. I wanted to BE her, but I’m so much more a Meg, and I’m okay with that.

  • thebarrenlibrarian

    Also I think we’ve talked about this before maybe, but have you read this: Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393333590/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_uyvuwbSREDXCF

    I did a lot of research work on Alcott in college (lit majors for the win) and found this to be so interesting. Also have you read March by Geraldine Brooks? It’s told from the perspective of the March family father.

    • DitchTheBun

      Yes we did, but no I haven’t. I looked it up when we talked about it last time and did a bunch of Googling about it. Very interesting 🙂
      No I haven’t read ‘March’ either – that sounds really interesting. So many books 🙂

  • EmilyMaine

    A great role model! I’m off to read your red centre adventure post x

  • Library Heather

    My childhood literary heroines were Betsy (from Betsy-Tacy), Jo March, and Jane Eyre (which I read when I was 10.) They helped me embrace my differences and were the fictional friends I turned to for solace when I was bullied.

    P.S. I’m glad I wasn’t the only young girl who preferred Gilbert & Sullivan to popular music of the time.

    • DitchTheBun

      Yay Gilbert & Sullivan hahaha. I was brought up on that stuff, my Dad is a massive music/record lover. I was singing Funny Girl songs before I could put together complex sentences hahaha.

  • Atomic Words

    Thank you so much and did I mention I am jealous of your job and book list? That said I loved little women good wives and the movie. Read it in secondary school while my friends hung out I was in the library. A lot of people said I was mistaken to choose science and technical class since I am a book worm! Lol. But Jo was a strong character and I liked her for that.

  • handikwani02

    Thank you first for mentioning the strange things the new interface was doing. I failed to publish two posts and had put it down to my lack of computer skills which I struggle with. it was a relief to know it was not only me. for that thank you once again. Second thank you for a brilliant post I had decided not to respond to this prompt after reading yours I have decided to write a post.

    • DitchTheBun

      Thank you 🙂 Yes, the new interface takes a little getting used to, sorry you have had issues with it too.
      I am glad you decided to respond to the prompt, I don’t always, but this subject was really interesting to me 🙂 I will have to check it out.

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