I struggle, wondering if I should even tell this story. For some of you, it may completely disenchant you from my heroine, Arianwyn. I hope that for most of you, it draws you closer. I want you to see that YOU are enough. That YOU are amazing, even if you would describe yourself as “ordinary.”
There have been a few questions about Arianwyn (I pronounce it “Are-ee-an-win”). Some people are convinced that something from her past is going to prove pivotal or enlightening about her. And that’s okay that you think that. Just know that you’re wrong.
Arianwyn is an orphan. Her mother died giving birth to her. Her father was driven to drink by grief. Eventually he died from exposure in a ditch while passed out drunk. The villagers took Arianwyn in as the community charity project.
She is from a poor village. The men and women had children of their own they had to feed. Arianwyn was an extra burden that they didn’t need and they slowly grew to resent her. As she grew older, the predators of the village began to notice her. Like a wolf pack that has separated the weak and sick from the herd, Arianwyn became a target.
Arianwyn could have stayed. It is possible that someone in the village would have believed her and protected her. She chose to run away, to a future with far less certainty. Her one act of surviving a leap from a cliff was what she based her ability to survive later. And because she believed she would, she did. And she learned from her circumstances.
There are no prophecies or great secrets to her past. She is an ordinary person struggling to survive in ordinary circumstances (until she meets Parvati, but even then her circumstances become ordinary when she meets Rael). Can you honestly say that any of us are any different?
I grew up reading fantasy and science fiction. They honestly helped shape the way that I view the world. I wanted to be that special person who would one day make a difference in the world. As I got older, I realized there was something separating me from the majorities of heroes and heroines I read about: a prophecy or some other fantastic gift that was unique or better than everyone else’s. I was just an ordinary person living in a non-magical and non-technologically advanced world.
So perhaps my heroes and heroines are wish fulfillment. Or perhaps they are a prophecy for each of us. You see, I believe that you and me, the ordinary, are extraordinary. Heroes come about because ordinary people do what they think needs to be done, not because of any special gifts they are born with or prophecies predicting their greatness.
Think about it. Here’s our situation. We’re a single income family in an area where the cost of living is high (on a social worker's income, I should add). We are constantly told that families today cannot survive on a single income. But we have done it without going into debt (we just paid off our student debt this year!). I don’t tell you to brag, but to make you think about your situation. What are you doing that everyone says is impossible? What's your extraordinary ordinary?
You don’t need magical powers or a prophecy to make you great (although either would be kind of cool, right?). You need to be you, the extraordinary ordinary. I would love to hear your ordinary story in the comments section!