In Which I Analyze My Own Character by Means of Fictional Ones

Two orders of business: firstly, if my language sounds stiff it is because for the past week I’ve been studying St. Thomas More for school, and having both read a book by William Roper on the subject and finished watching A Man for All Seasons less than an hour ago, using contractions seems… odd.

Secondly, I am writing this in a notebook on the way to Algebra tutoring, as I have limited my computer time to an hour a day for Lent – because of which the blog has suffered. Suffice to say, it’s Holy Week now, so I should be back in the swing of things post-Easter. (Speaking of, I’m so excited!)

On Saturday I got into a discussion about my favorite characters in books and movies, and how they all tend to be grouchy or unpleasant. It’s not the case 100% of the time, but it seems that more often than not the characters I like the most are the endearingly (I think) cranky ones. I think it’s interesting to contrast the characters I most relate to with the ones I most admire – I think it says something about who I am.

When I was younger, I always loved the fiery characters: the ones with the bright red hair and the sizable tempers – usually in the form of princesses who refuse to marry and go off to be knights or something instead. I admired feistiness. (Still do.)

Aside from this, I’ve always had a love for the snarky and slightly cranky characters: Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh (funnily enough, I was never too fond of Rabbit – I liked Tigger too much, I guess: “T-I-double-guh-errrr…”), Lucy from Peanuts, Miss Piggy from the Muppets, Grumpy from Snow White, Constance, the sleepy, grouchy, hyper-intelligent three-year-old from The Mysterious Benedict Society…

I think I loved them because they were a little like me: sarcastic, a little bit pessimistic, and overly fond of scowling. (I like to pretend I’m more mature now, but as I routinely make displeased groaning noises, roll around on the floor in protest of things, bare all my teeth like an uneasy chimpanzee when someone pulls out a camera, and frequently use the word “Pooh!” as an expletive, well… I perjure myself if I deny the evidence.) As I’ve grown, this affinity for the characters everyone else thought were mean grew with me – I still have it.

I love Artemis Fowl and I have loved him from book 1, even when he was kind of a jerkface who, despite his genius, didn’t quite have any common sense. I love Holden Caulfield, who’s a little annoying. I love these characters not only because they personify my lack of patience with a good 90% of society, but also because they have hearts, and big ones – you just have to look for them. The crankiest people are really the biggest softies…. You just have to crack the shell. (But you knew that, I’m sure you’ve seen Up.) Artemis and Holden are scornful by nature, and big sissies inside. I love them.

Looking to literature, the characters I identify with speak volumes about me, but the characters I idealize speak just as much.

For example, in my favorite Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing, I am very much like Beatrice – a little rude, witty, always looking for a laugh… and sometimes I can be unintentionally mean. However, as dear as Beatrice is to my heart (especially how she melts for Benedick), I long to be more like the Lady Hero. (You’re getting insight into my name, if you haven’t caught onto that yet.) Hero is cheerful, goodnatured, mild, and polite… She is liked by all, laughs a lot, but can pull off a wicked prank when she wants to.

This says nothing about myself that I didn’t already know; when asked what I would change about myself, I always say I wish I wasn’t quite so loud. Gentleness and a cheerful temperament are things with which I was not born, just a desire for them. I am not Snow White, I’m a bit like Alice – tripping over my own feet as I get lost in my insane Wonderland – shouting at things and being clumsy. It’s a bit of divine irony, that I was born as a Beatrice who wants desperately to be a Hero. (Though, if memory serves, the original Beatrice wants to be more like her cousin, too.)

At the same time, I do recognize that while this divine irony exists, God made me as I am for a reason. My mom told me once that when other homeschool moms said they wouldn’t let their daughters do this or that because they wanted them to have a “quiet soul”, she thought it was frankly ridiculous – some people are born with quiet souls, but others are not… After all, becoming a saint takes audacity as well as humility. That being said, let’s keep going with this analysis.

The next character is Jo March, from Little Women. I love Jo – I love how she’s tomboyish and loves to read and isn’t always a little ray of sunshine. She accidentally sets things on fire and isn’t afraid to scowl. She’s got a big heart and an even bigger personality. I relate to Jo very much, but I relate to Meg as well, in her love of pretty things and, well, her vanity. Of the “little women”, I most admire Beth – once again, for her quiet, cheerful gentleness.

I want to be a saint and I want to be meek and ladylike. I’m not – I try, but I’m not predisposed to it – so my track to sainthood looks more like the track of St. Athanasius, who used his stubborn and argumentative nature to debate and defeat heresy, or St. Thomas More, who stood true to the Church in difficult times. A Man for All Seasons portrays St. Thomas as stubborn, resolute, and a little bit of a crank. I am more like him than St. Therese of Liseaux or St. Bernadette – I’m loud, and I think I’m loud for a reason. I need to figure out how to be a saint in my own boisterous fashion.

The rest of this post is devoted to Jane Austen, as she’s been on my mind thanks to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries ending and the fact that I worked a quote from her into my Richard III paper and I am exceeding pleased by it. (“The Character of this Prince has been in general very severely treated by Historians, but as he was York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man.”) There are two Austen characters that I’ve been told I’m quite similar to: Emma, from the novel of the same name, and Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice (specifically in the incarnation of Lizzie from the Diaries –  Frankie once asked me if I’d gotten some of my mannerisms from her; I hadn’t.)

I’m like Emma & Lizzy both in my frequent inability to think before I speak. Emma likes to meddle – I’m kind of meddlesome. My friend Nick calls me a matchmaker: I don’t like to sit and watch things happen if I can help along the process. I am, as D says, a mite “pushy”. I also see a similarity to myself in the way Emma acts rashly and then bitterly regrets it. “It was badly done, Emma.” Boy, do I know the feeling. As for Lizzy, I am predisposed to judge – all too quickly, it seems – only to have my opinions change upon further inspection. Like Lizzy, I am sometimes injured by those of the male race – and have to cope by proclaiming them losers and laughing at them, vowing to become an old maid, like Lizzy does, because there’s not really anything else I can do unless I want to go mad. I also see myself in how Lizzy always has a snappy comeback and isn’t afraid to admit her shortcomings. I wish I was Jane, but I’m not, and that’s okay. In 16 years of life, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s to like who I am. If I don’t, everything becomes grey and miserable. In fact, there’s a St. Catherine of Siena quote that fits the situation quite well: “What is it you want to change? Your hair, your face, your body? Why? For God is in love with all those things and He might weep when they are gone.” Why do I want to change myself? Adopting virtue, growing in grace, those are good things to change about myself. But to throw myself over entirely and become someone else? Would God weep?

So I’m me: Emma/Jo/Lizzy/Meg/Alice/Thomas More/Mr. Frederickson/Holden/Oscar the Grouch. I am loud, stubborn, hardworking, snarky, outgoing, unabashed, meddlesome, clumsy, spirited, and I never shut up. But I have a heart so big it sometimes makes me wish I had otherwise, and like Lizzie, Jo, and Beatrice, I can see when I need to step back and strive for the virtue of Jane, Beth, and Hero.

Well.

I try, at least.

Best wishes and much love to you all,
Hero

Advertisements

Stayin’ Alive

[cue BeeGee’s song]

Stayin’ Alive is rather apt at this point, to be honest, as “stayin’ alive” is basically my life-plan for the next two weeks or so. I have two papers due (one I am probably going to ignore until the stress of my junior-year-thesis-project-essentially-except-not-really goes away), a debate, the SAT, and a chemistry test. Not to mention chair auditions in my orchestra within the month & random, erratic college stress.

Speaking of random, erratic college stress, the reason I didn’t blog on Friday (because let’s be honest, I have zero excuse for the last almost-two-weeks), I was visiting my first college ever! I got to sit in on a literature class in which they discussed Great Expectations – my favorite Dickens that I have actually never read – and I made a semi-intelligent comment about Pip and Estella and infectious scorn and the relationship between their characters and being “poetic in retrospect”… Gah, I love literature.

I also attended a Latin class, an amazing history lecture, and a theology lecture. I also got to meet some of the college faculty (including the philosophy professor who decided to take me under his wing and show me the music department because I happened to be wearing my orchestra sweatshirt & then complimented my name) and witnessed a Harlem Shake.

So yeah. That was interesting.

I had a good time, but I’ve decided that it’s not the college for me. I liked a lot of it, but the lack of a formal orchestra and music major, as well as a lack of some other things made me realize that I’m just not drawn to it. So decisions are being made! We can strike it off the list.

I still bought a t-shirt, though. 😛

Since I’ve been bad about this, I’m just going to go ahead and say – I’m going to leave the commenting/liking the 1 year blogiversary post open for another week, after which I’ll run the comments through random.org to find a winner! So leave a comment/like the post if you haven’t already!

Sorry this is such a short post – hopefully I’ll have something to write about on Friday. Probably not.

Best wishes!
Hero

P.S. Send help! I’m being murdered by Richard III! He is determined to prove a villain!

I Sorted My Cello into a Hogwarts House

For the record, I am aware that it’s Wednesday. If you’re worried that I’ve given up the interwebs for Lent again and will once again take a forty-five day hiatus, don’t be. This year I’m just banning tumblr – as well as a few other things I find myself entirely too dependent on (coffee, for one). I don’t really have any excuse for not blogging yesterday except that I hit an emotional speedbump and decided to moan about it instead. [cue rolling about on the floor and whining and being a general Richard II]

This post is sort of a general status update, seeing as I’ve been sort of scattered recently.

Books Challenge

I’m actually ahead of schedule – I’ve read 6 so far. Unfortunately Les Misérables is still on hold until I finish Richard III (the biography not the tragedy) and all these Shakespeare plays I’ve decided to undertake. I have been picking up one of Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals every now & again over the past couple days… attempting to cope… failing…

Got this email from Tatiana:

WobblesSo that’s basically what we’ve been reduced to.

Orchestra

We got new music on Sunday. I hated it at first, but it’s growing on me. I’ll just tell you that sight-reading Colas Breugnon by Kabalevsky WITH A SUBSTITUTE CONDUCTOR when you’re already in a foul mood does not endear you to a piece. It really doesn’t.

[Let’s just go ahead and say flat out that I have been in a pretty terrible state over the past couple of days & it’s only getting worse. Gah.]

Anyway, on the subject of orchestra/cello/etc, I’ve decided that Evvy is a Gryffindor. (My last cello was Ravenclaw, and I’ll explain this in a moment…)

DSCN0378

So where the strings of a cello connect to the fine tuners, there’s a covering of thread, most likely so the tuners can grip well enough. My last cello had dark blue and copper-y/gold thread – but Evvy’s scarlet & gold. Gryffindor.

Which explains a lot, actually. Like why she’s so stubborn and temperamental. […okay, I’m… crazy… I know…]

Other Orchestra Stuff

Went to see a friend of mine perform in a Brahms concert with the senior group of my youth orchestra: she was only in a couple of them & I proceeded to feel guilty about enjoying the symphony much more than the chorus. 😛 (I can’t help it! They played Hungarian Dances – three of them!)

I was going to see another Brahms performance tomorrow night, but it fell through. C’est la vie. I’ll probably stay in and spend the evening watching movies instead.

Which reminds me…

Random Stuff I’m Getting Kind of Obsessed With (Running Out of Names for This)

Kaylee’s my favorite so far.

1. Firefly! The classic one-season space-western from Joss Whedon that my friends have been nagging me to watch since the dawn of time. I was originally put off from the show because the pilot episode is kind of… iffy… but I’ve given it another go and am definitely enjoying it so far.

The whole space-western thing confuses me, though: at this point the only things wester about it are the fact that sometimes Zoë says ‘ain’t’ and all the music is very Lone Ranger. I’ve been told it’ll make sense to me later (that and a lot of things), but the stuff I do understand outweighs the stuff I don’t, so I’m okay. (The reverse of that statement is true for Homestuck, by the way. I just… Confused. All the time.)

DSCN0387

Currently…

2. Sudoku. I’ve always liked sudoku – my aunt even gave me an electronic sudoku gizmo (that I have since lost, but it was a while ago) – but I recently found my old barely touched sudoku book and have been obsessively solving puzzles. On the day I found it I tore through eight puzzles in one afternoon. It’s gotten to the point where I can actually walk around the house/have conversations with people while working on a puzzle. (I thought I was so clever at Marian Group for holding it under the table during the meeting… turns out everybody could tell, but nobody cared enough to tell me off about it.)

Photo on 2-13-13 at 3.42 PM

I’ve sticky-tabbed the life out of the blue book…

3. Prayer. 😛 (This is cheating, but I don’t care.) This is your Ash Wednesday reminder that Lent isn’t just about giving up chocolate and waiting for the Easter Bunny. This is one of the first few years that I’ve actually been mature enough to go deeper during Lent, and I’m actually excited to take advantage of this prayer-intensive time. I’ve bookmarked all my favorite prayers in With Mary in Prayer (blue for rough times/things going wrong, pink for prayers for the journey onward, yellow asking for help and guidance, and orange for the night prayer) and I’m going to try and keep it on me and take a few minutes every now and again throughout the day to ask for that guidance and that grace that I so desperately need. Also, the Divine Mercy Chaplet is my new best friend. I started saying it daily for Morgann because I offered it to her for her spiritual bouquet on her birthday – we said it together at the silent retreat we went on, so it holds special meaning in our heart. After the week of the chaplet I’d promised was over, I found myself gravitating back to it. It’s short enough that I always have time to fit it in somewhere and literally can’t make any excuses not to pray it, yet it’s still profound and deeply calming in its rhythm.

4. Shakespeare Uncovered on PBS.  As I mentioned a couple posts ago, some of the girls in my history class are reading the Henriad & Richard III to supplement our history texts this session. As much as I love Shakespeare, sometimes it can be hard for me to get into the plays – a lot of times I don’t understand who relates to who and it takes me ages to understand what the heck is going on. At the same time, I abjectly refuse to watch the movie before I read the play: that’s cheating. 😉 So the other day while searching around online for Ben Whishaw’s rendition of Richard II (very good, by the way, I’d put The Hollow Crown on my list of new obsessions, except it just ties into this), I found PBS’s Shakespeare Uncovered. What they do is go deeper into the plays, find the history and the meaning in it, and give you a broad understanding of the play. Watching this gave me ground to stand on when I went back to the play, and made the reading infinitely easier. If I finish my history work tonight, this is my reward. 🙂

5. Oh my goodness this post goes on forever… Okay… Last one: pictures! I spent a good chunk of time today picking out pictures of me and my friends to fill this plethora of picture frames I found. I’m hoping to hang them around my room so I can remind myself of the people who care about me and make me smile, even when I’m feeling grumpy. (Though usually they’re the ones who’re making me grumpy, so… *smacked*)

Okay, this is far enough – I need to wrap up and go back to my history work. If you read thus far, give yourself a pat on the back. You earned it.

Best wishes,
Hero

P.S. Remind me on Friday to tell you guys about the ‘things I’m freaking out about’ category that I decided to cut. 😛

February Resolutions

*fights urge to start post with a comment about how she can’t believe it’s February already*

But it is, by the way. February, I mean. And we all know that that means…

Despite the looming reminder of my forever alone state, I am resolved to be resolved this month. Let’s roll out the resolutions!

1. Do something worthwhile. 

This is one of my New Year’s Resolutions, but what I mean with this is to find better things to do with my time than sitting on tumblr. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the amount of time I spend on the internet is embarrassing. Especially considering the other great things I could be doing, and how much better and more satisfied I feel when I spend my time on those things instead of online. I’ve set the background of my computer to this:

Untitled copy

It’s there to remind me every time I open the computer that I have better things I could be doing. (Also, to get back into the swing of writing again, my deal with myself is that in order to spend any time on tumblr or my forums, etc, I have to write something. A sentence of a novel – if not more, this blog post, a college letter, a D&D adventure… just write something. Something I should be writing but have been putting off.)

2. Be more charitable.

This is really tough for me, but this resolution is to basically quit the gossip and quit speaking unkindly about people. There are a few select people who drive me up the wall, and so I complain about them and make them seem like terrible people. It needs to stop. Instead of judging others, I’m going to try and focus on the positive aspects of people.

For example, instead of internally grumping about a woman wearing a miniskirt at mass, instead I should find something nice – like how she’s done her hair in a really neat way.

3. Get more sleep.

I’ve been staying up too late, and that means I put off my prayers until I’m too tired to do them, and then try to catch up on my sleep deprivation by ignoring my alarm clock – but then I get behind on my day, and for what? An extra half hour of sleep at most. This month I’m setting a schedule and sticking to it.

As always, resolutions from She Learns as She Goes. I’m going to hit some Shakespeare before I crash for the night; I’m absolutely exhausted.

Best wishes,
Hero

Shakespeare and Sparks

One of my favorite things in life to do is make up excuses to read Shakespeare. Such an opportunity has arisen in the form of my 11th grade history course. After spending entirely way too much time on the Government of Spanish Aragon and Castile-Leon (respectively) (also, snooze), we’re finally moving to a topic that I really, really like.

THE WAR OF THE ROSES! YORKS! LANCASTERS! PEOPLE GET KILLED! BETRAYAL! GOOD MEN IN ENGLAND WHO DO NO WORK TODAY! AND THE LIKE!

Also, Richard III. Yessssss.

Anyway, as I was doing my reading assignment last week and come across all these historical figures that are featured so prominently in Shakespeare’s plays, I got a really strong urge to read the corresponding plays to our history text.

I mentioned this idea in my class, and I got a couple of the other girls on board. So we’re going to do it. I am crazy excited, and making this post in case any of you wanted to read along with us!

Over the month of February, we’ll be reading the Henriad (Richard II, Henry IV [parts 1 & 2], and Henry V), and then concluding with Richard III, as he is going to be a main discussion point in our history class. We’ll be doing Skype calls while we have class off to read this beautiful beast and discussing the various plays, comparing Shakespeare’s portrayals of the characters to the versions in our history text, going over our favorite parts, theorizing about subtext…

EEP! Is it okay for me to fangirl a little? I’m crazy excited.

Of course, I have to do something silly to counteract my intellectual spree… Unintentionally, I assure, but I realized that there is something funny in the fact that I’m reading a plethora of Shakespeare at the same time as a… Nicholas… Sparks… novel…

Please don’t kill me. It’s A Walk to Remember and it was recommended to me by Frankie and Lauren so if it is terrible and brings shame upon me IT IS THEIR FAULT. 

As you may have guessed, I’m having to put aside Les Misérables until I get all this school reading done. The one reason I’m reading the Sparks novel is because I nabbed it from the library and have a deadline for that.

Speaking of, the stack of books is calling my name. If you want to read along with us, we’re reading a play a week, starting today with Richard II. 🙂

Happy reading!
Hero

A Very Merry Tuesday to You (and You)

Writing up a quick post to get back in the swing of things — I may have to dash off, a friend of mine is coming over to bum our washing machine because his is broken…

In the meantime, some quick updates:

  • I finished reading my first book of 2013! Fahrenheit 451 – number 1 of 50 (hopefully). I’m trying the 50 books in a year challenge again… I tried last year but lost track and while I may have read 50 books I didn’t keep a count or make a list or anything. I’m going to keep a list going on the blog, so a new page should be up with this post that I’ll be updating throughout the year.
  • I’m working on a meal plan that I hope to finish by the end of this week — lots of yummy & interesting (aka: freaky hippy) dishes that I think will be fun. 🙂
  • My brother bought a Wii U with his Christmas money. I’ve only played once, and I’m such a failure at video games. It’s mildly hilarious.
  • School is back up & I actually missed it. I’m glad to be back – even if I did drown in Latin today.
  • Even better than school: we’re back at orchestra! My director has missed the last couple practices because of performances and we really really miss him… I got to go to one of those performances with Frankie and my director spotted me in the audience (I have a bright red coat so I’m kind of impossible to miss) and I may have guilt tripped him about abandoning us… *cough* I’m in love with our music, though, and he’ll be back next week. 😀
  • Season 3 of Downton Abbey. That is all.
  • Frankie & Lauren got me this for Christmas and it’s embarrassingly accurate.

Image

They also got me a DVD of Hamlet, portayed by David Tennant – they know me too well. It is literally the perfect gift.

  • I went to see Les Mis and cried for 80% of the movie. It’s the greatest. Seriously – if you’re even slightly considering going to see it, go see it. Just go. I enjoyed it more than the Hobbit, but I do have a bias.

That’s all for me right now! I’ve got some fun posts planned for this month: thoughts on turning sixteen, recap of my December goals – maybe a lit post or two if you’re lucky. 😛 I’m hoping to go over testing out my new recipes… And other fun things. In the meantime, I’m off to get ready for bed and pray my rosary before snuggling under my huge duvet with Little Women.

A very merry Tuesday to you! I’ll catch you sometime later this week.

~Hero

P.S. Fiddling with a new theme… What do you think?

Things That Make Me Very Happy

No words. Just. Look.

Which means I’m breaking this out:

 

Which is basically one of my favorite things to do.

Also, I found this:

Link to sweater

It’s just too perfect. I’m too broke to buy it, but I want it soooo baaaadlyyyyy…

I’ve also picked up my writing again, thanks from some encouragement from my history teacher… So we’ll see what happens! I don’t have access to my old novels right now, but I’m slowly outlining a book I’ve had an idea for for ages. I’m excited. 🙂

That’s all for me! My brother has a voice recital today and I’m off to read Romeo and Juliet instead of The Cid. My work ethic is so good.

~Hero