Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What happens when you open the Chamber of Secrets?

I believe it's important to have a handful of positive and purposeful role models in order to identify characteristics to aspire to and possibly emulate. Positive role models can make big dreams seem tangible - often enough they have put their own big dreams into reality. They provide a great way to truly know that big dreams are achievable. I believe they can also help you figure out how you want to present yourself to the world and your purpose in life. However, positive role models don't have to be larger-than-life, colossal beings of mankind...they can be as simple as your mum, your teacher, your friend. Keep in mind though, all role models come with a disclaimer that echoes Judy Garland: always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of someone else.

I have many positive role models for different aspects of my life, and I hope to pay tribute to them in this blog from time to time. Today, though, I want to mention a role model whom I believe embodies the spirit of a strong, confident, and against-all-odds type of woman: JK Rowling.

I first "met" JK Rowling in my Year 7 English class, when Ben gave a book report presentation on "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". I had heard about Harry Potter and had already decided that I would not enjoy those kind of books - under no circumstances was I going to read them. One day though, my dad came back from a trip to England and brought with him the first two books of the series. Generally we got new books, I would grab them and devour them - since I was a much faster reader than my sister. This time though, she was having none of it, and claimed the first book. I hadn't yet mastered any semblance of patience, so I started reading the second book (which is heavily dependent on the plot line of the first book), was pretty much confused throughout the whole thing, but still loved it! I finally just took the first book from Leanne, and born was another believer in Harry Potter. I cannot even tell you the number of times I have read the Harry Potter books. I cried so much during the 7th book, because I grew up with those characters...they were my friends and it hurt so much when some of them died.

There are very few books and authors that can make you feel the way that JK Rowling does. The feeling of being completley lost in a book is something that I've experienced less and less as I've grown older - I think it's partially because I have less belief in the fantasy world, and the authors these days are just not cutting it. Take a look at Twilight! I love reading, and that automatically makes JK Rowling a heroine of mine. She's right up there with Louisa May Alcott!

However, JK Rowling is so much more than an author. She has a story of true perserverance and that showcases how far the belief in one little idea can take you. She faced tragedy through her mother's death, and the disintegration of her first marriage; when Harry Potter waltzed into her life she was poor. Under those circumstances to have the courage to write a book is truly admirable.

I remember one time she wrote a post for girls on her website. She had gone to a party, and an acquaintance that she hadn't seen for some time commented on how much weight she had lost. This completely baffled JK Rowling because she felt that it was so superficial - she had published books in that time, gotten married, and all the other woman could see was the weight loss. JK Rowling wrote in her post how she wanted more than that for her daughters - she wanted them to not be focused on their weight, but instead to focus on having accomplishments, and being creative. I think that's something that should be emphasised more in today's society.

I also love how down-to-earth JK Rowling still is, even though she's one of the richest people in Europe. She is truly inspiring, and I wish that there were many more strong women out there like her!

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