I am currently re-reading Anne of Green Gables right now; I think the last time I read it was middle school, or maybe early high school. Nevertheless, it's been since I was a lot nearer Anne's age than mine that I've visited her.
And it feels oddly like visiting myself at that age. I never thought that Anne and I had much in common, she the plucky, redheaded heroine and I, the dull-blonde haired girl. But rereading, I see so much of myself in her, and it makes me love my younger self a little bit more. I see in her the genuine desire to achieve something, to have close friends, and the wildly creative imagination that marked my own path when I was eleven. It's better than a acquaintance with an old friend, I feel like I have met my younger self along the road, and been able to walk with her awhile.
It's amazing how characters, and even other actual people, can teach me to love myself a little better, to be myself a little more, when I see my qualities reflected in them. For example, when I watch Julie and Julia, and I fall into Meryl's performance, mesmerized, I see that her love of food and cooking is so admirable and beautiful. She is so unselfconscious, she just loves what she loves, unabashedly. When I watch her, I don't want to be more like her, I want to be more like me. To step into my own shoes with total abandonment of what anyone else thinks I should be or look like, and with total love of my own loves.
It's one of my greatest hopes, by the way, to pass on this kind of appreciation of oneself to my gorgeous daughter. I mean, she does it now without even thinking about it, the little Narcissus, but eventually the world will teach her that she is rejectable and undesirable, and I want her to have a bright core of flame inside her that shines with the truth, that she herself is valuable, interesting, and amazing.
Do you have people like that in your life, real or imaginary, that make you just want to be more yourself? That show you, mirror-like, that you yourself are worthy and interesting and a joy to know? If not, my advice is, find some. Fiction is just as good for this as reality, you just have to have your heart open enough to see it.
|Me, at Anne's age.|