Strong Enough to Say I Need You

I overheard a conversation in a bookstore about how someone was “so sick of those stories about girls who are just waiting to be rescued.” (Side Note: Seriously, when was the last time you read one of those stories? I’m pretty sure they’ve died out over the last thirty years or so. But I digress…) So, the woman at the desk recommended a book with a strong, female character who is a real inspiration. And when she announced the title, I nearly gagged.

Why? Because I read the book, and the only thing the main character inspired in me was a few negative feelings. So why did I bother finishing the book? Now, that’s a fair question I’ve even asked myself a few times. I guess I was hoping this bitter, sadistic character would transform into the heroine the reviews promised me.

There was enough back story for me to understand her lone ranger mentality, so I was waiting for her to overcome it. And I waited and waited and waited for nearly 500 pages. What a letdown. It reminded me of the humorous quote from the movie Picture Perfect:  “Her character never grows, Alan. I need growth!”

I have a hard time understanding why anyone would sing the praises of a character who is broken and bitter and trusts no one but herself. That’s not strength; that’s arrogance.

Want to meet a strong character? Watch a wallflower become a queen in Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns. Follow her through The Crown of Embers where our once-timid, uncertain heroine makes the strongest declaration of all. There comes a scene when she looks into the eyes of the man who has been her strength while she has yet to find her own and says, “What I did was weak. Cowardly. Unqueenly… and you were right. About everything. I do have power. Enough that I don’t need you. But I will miss you awfully.”

And. My. Heart. Melts.

Because strength is not believing you can take on the world by yourself; strength is realizing you are capable, but admitting your dependence on someone else.

I believe there’s a lot to be learned in the crafting of novels (because if I didn’t, the last year of my life would be a total waste). As I read and research and discover what creates a strong, female character—as I mold my Genevieve into someone whom I hope is both believable and inspiring—I’m learning to become that kind of character myself. I’m learning to say, “Hey, you know, I was wrong and, um, I need you.”

Yeah, I’m still working on the delivery. Because it’s amazing how such simple words can be your undoing.

But I want to be strong enough to say that I need you. Strong enough to admit that I was wrong. Strong enough to know what I am capable of on my own… and choose not to do it on my own after all.

I want to be strong enough to depend on someone other than myself. Strong enough to trust another human being with the fragile pieces of my heart.

I want to be strong enough to grow—because we all need growth—no matter how painful and difficult and terrifying that growth may be.

I want to be strong enough. Just strong enough…

And so I set out on this journey of becoming.

Strong Enough

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4 thoughts on “Strong Enough to Say I Need You

  1. loved. Loved. LOVED this blog! Such an important and difficult lesson to learn!

    “Because strength is not believing you can take on the world by yourself; strength is realizing you are capable, but admitting your dependence on someone else.”

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13

  2. Pingback: Ruined, Wrecked, Undone: A Tribute to 2013 | Beyond Waiting

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