Have I Got what it Takes?

11 November 2018

Sometimes I think I would make a good fantasy novel heroine, the person whose life is turned upside down when she is sucked into an elaborate underworld of outsiders, or discovers she is the changeling heir of the dying faerie queen. It’s a big job being thrust into a totally new situation and maybe saving the world from alien invasion in the process, but I think I’m well equipped.

The first thing any heroine should know is how to handle herself in a fight. I’m a black belt in taekwondo, and while I’m not a fantastic fighter, I could surprise an average enemy lackey. More importantly, taekwondo has taught me self-confidence, discipline, and ancient wisdom in the form of three rules: obey your parents, do well in school, and ALWAYS do your best. The first rule reminds me that I will always have support and wisdom from the people who love me most. I don’t need a rule to remind me that my education is important, but the second rule still reminds me to be a balanced person intellectually, physically, and emotionally. The last rule can be the hardest to follow, but effort always matters.

Another convention of fantasy novels involves the heroine falling into a hidden world of mythological creatures and their cultures. She has to adapt her worldview to understand her new surroundings. I enjoy surprising discoveries about the people around me, even if those things are directly counter to what I previously thought. The primary reason I joined my school’s Students Against Prejudice club was to meet others with different backgrounds to discuss issues of diversity and prejudice in the school and beyond. I became co-leader of my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance in order to champion civil rights. I’ve had hundreds of opportunities to lean about culture at a school as diverse as my high school. Wherever I find new people and ideas, I want to teach others to understand rather than merely to accept people’s differences. I hope I’ll never stop being surprised and delighted by the diversity around me.

Finally, as any fantasy heroine knows, knowledge truly is power. That’s why librarians make excellent demon hunters. So it’s a good thing I read everything I get my hands on. I love discovering what parts of a science fiction novel are wild speculation and what parts are based in soon-to-be technology. Learning the Babylonian number system after reading about it in a novel may not seem like the most useful thing ever, but as it happens, ancient numbering systems came up in class the next day and I was able to sketch some cuneiform on the board. Base 60 still has uses today in timekeeping and measurements of longitude as well as in clarifying ideas in ancient demonology tomes. No idea in a book, no matter how small, is ever completely useless.

Now, with a pencil behind my ear and a book under my arm, this geek-heroine is ready and waiting for life’s next adventure in whatever form it might take.

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