My Favourite Stories: Project Introduction

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. As you can probably tell from my posts, I’ve mentioned several fictional stories that have inspired and shaped me to become a better person. With this project, I’m going to take each story and write a post (or two or seven) on my relationship with that story and why it’s one of my favourites.

Here’s a list of what I’m going to write about:

  • Harry Potter
  • Parks and Recreation (I kind of already did this, but there’s so much to add that it won’t be like a double post.)
  • Naruto
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • The Legend of Korra
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Lord of the Rings

I’m going to start with Harry Potter – be on the lookout for that post within the next couple of weeks!

Note: You can also hold me accountable and send me reminders about this project, since, well, I need the push. 🙂

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My Leading Ladies

I’ve been highly influenced by important women in my life. Today, on International Women’s Day, I want to highlight the fictional ones. These ladies have helped me come to love and accept myself, and to strive for success and improvement.

1. Matilda Wormwood

From Roald Dahl’s beloved book, Matilda was one of my first childhood heroes, simply because she loved books. I had thought that my love for reading set me apart from my classmates in a bad way, but Matilda showed me how you can be yourself and take charge of your life to make it better.

2. Hermione Granger

I saw a lot of myself in Hermione from the Harry Potter series. When I was 9 years old, my grade four teacher read to us Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (still not sure why she didn’t choose the first book), and I was instantly hooked. Yes, the story was engaging and magical and all kinds of amazing, but what stood out to me was Hermione’s book smarts, her bushy hair, her large teeth, and her confidence in being the top of her class. I had the first three characteristics, and I struggled with the fourth. I secretly wanted to be more like Hermione, to save the boys, save world, and occasionally give people a literal/verbal/intellectual smackdown.

3. Anne Shirley

I discovered Anne before Hermione and after Matilda. You can sense a recurring theme here of heroines who love to read books and aren’t afraid of being smart. With Anne, though, she went through a lot of charming mishaps and her mouth got her into trouble – which I loved. She wasn’t perfect, but that wouldn’t stop her from exclaiming about her emotions or sharing the importance of creativity. And it certainly didn’t stop her from working hard to get to the top of her class (although her rivalry with Gilbert Blythe might have helped).

4. Mulan Fa

The one Disney princess/heroine (I know she’s not technically a princess but she deserves to be one) I really identified with. Belle from Beauty and the Beast might have loved books and shown great compassion, but Mulan showed so much bravery that I can’t help but want to be more like her. Well, maybe I won’t use a sword to cut off my hair, join the army, be able to climb a pole, or defeat an evil villain. But Mulan does motivate me to fight for my values and remember what is most important in life.

5. Katniss Everdeen

We’re definitely straying from bookworms here. There’s not much Katniss and I share with each other, but The Hunger Games heroine has motivated me to be more resourceful and brave. And yes, I did start to like braids and archery more, and wondered about taking wilderness survival classes. But the one thing that I admire most about Katniss is how her love for the people in her life fuels her sense of justice and her contribution to the fight for equality. That is definitely something that I want to remember as I make my way through this life.

6. Korra

It took me a while to warm up to her, probably from the not-so-smooth transitions between seasons. Ultimately, though, I came to love how a woman of colour with noticeable muscles could be so compassionate and just, flawed and fiery, and accomplish so much for the good of the world. Korra just feels so real, and she represented a group of people we don’t really get to see on television. A lot of the show’s audience appreciated and identified with that. I know I did, and I especially found solace in her quest to find balance within herself.

7. Leslie Knope

As you can tell from my previous post, I definitely want to be more like Leslie Knope. She’s incredibly passionate and hard-working, and this extends beyond her career into her personal life (or vice versa, depending on what you think defines her more). The lessons I learned from her really confirmed what I had gathered from the previous ladies: it’s okay to be smart. It’s okay to be passionate. It’s okay to care. It’s more than okay to be yourself; in fact, it’s necessary. I learned that you really need to follow your dreams and work your butt off to make them happen. And if you fail, you get up and keep going. Because who knows what else life has in store for you.

There are the big 7 for me. Which female characters have inspired or influenced you?

2014 Again

I’m definitely in a better mood and more positive mindset to talk about what was good things happened this year. Here we go!

– I worked my first job out of university (12 months after last exam, 9 months after graduation and after I started actively looking) and learned a lot (and got paid well)
– I’ve volunteered at two organizations I’ve wanted to work for since 2012. And I’ve been promoted twice in one of those organizations!
– I saw We Will Rock You
– I started watching Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine
– I found out my Style Statement is Graceful Legend
– I found out my Element is writing and helping others
– I submitted some of my work for publication
– I developed a short story
– I read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo, and Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, which I believe are equally great and will make me a better person
– I read more in general
– I developed my career and career goals through research and networking. I also bought a program in November called Zero to Network to help with my career, and it’s been helping a lot so far
– I’ve been to several interviews and getting more confident in selling myself
– I started to practice yoga in November and it’s been so great to find a form of exercise that I actually like and will want to continue with
– I met a lot of wonderful people through work, volunteering, and just going out
– How I Met Your Mother ended – While I may not want to watch the entire series again, I do really value what I have learned from the show. I learned that it was okay to struggle with finding a job and finding love. I learned that there is a reason why it takes years for someone to find the love of their life. I may not know what the reason for my situation is, but the show did help me be more patient and understanding.
– Naruto ended – thank goodness it did! Because I thought that the story was dragging along. It was bittersweet to read the final chapters, though. The manga and the anime motivated me to be more courageous and frankly to exercise more (those ninjas were freakishly strong).
– Legend of Korra ended – the finale wasn’t as epic as the one for Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I did appreciate the show overall. If you’re looking for a show with strong, empowered women of colour, this is it.
– The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies capped the end of the Middle Earth movies by Peter Jackson and company. Another end of an era. I’m so glad that my dad introduced me to these movies; I remember him renting The Fellowship of the Ring from Rogers and me becoming totally engrossed in the story.
– And I watched for the first time: Dead Poets Society, The Godfather, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Pulp Fiction, Love Actually, and Spirited Away

I’m glad that I took the time and made the head- and heart-space for remembering the good things that have happened to me this year. It goes to show that once we realize just how much the positive outweighs the negative, our lives are richer and more fulfilling.

Thank you, 2014, and here’s to a better 2015!

2014

I just want this year to end. Personal and fandom-related things have made 2014 pretty awful:

– My grandfather died – I have never cried so much in my entire life
– I was unemployed, got a cushy job that was not meant for me, quit the cushy job, became unemployed again and am now wondering what comes next
– How I Met Your Mother ended – the finale kind of killed my romantic optimism
– Naruto ended – bittersweet, since it was a big chunk of my adolescence
– Legend of Korra is going to end soon – an amazing show that was not treated well by Nickelodeon

The first two things are enough to make me want to fast-forward to next year. The fandom stuff didn’t make 2014 truly awful, but since those shows/stories meant a lot to me, I’m sad to see them go.

Hopefully by the end of December I’ll have something more optimistic to say about 2014.