An Emotional Striptease with Anne of Green Gables

So, after the crazy exhilaration of my last post I’ve been vacillating between maintaining that joy (Wah! I’m blogging! 709 hits! 9 subscribers, not all of whom are my mother!) and feeling like I’ve done some sort of terrible emotional striptease. And not even an elegant, up market one but a kind of drunken, pull of your clothes and chuck your knickers at the nearest head manoeuvre.

(Wah! I’ve opened up myself and my sad little desires to the world. I’ve put pictures of my family including my child on THE INTERNET. I don’t know what to do when I get a troll. I didn’t even know about trolls. I’m useless. Why did I ever think this was a good idea? Repeat with variations, drone on, dull, dull, dull, get to point where I am boring myself beyond belief.)

Confidence, again I think, which may or may not be related to being a woman (Yes, I’m still obsessed with Caitlin.) Anyway, after lying in bed last might fretting about all this I have decided that I need to toughen up. I’m going to be yet more revealing and admit what the problem is. I always want people to like me and find it difficult to cope when they don’t. And I need to stop being so pathetic about it.

‘You actually are like Anne of Green Gables,’ someone once said to me, ‘though less ginger.’

I got the boxed set of Anne of Green Gables (there are several books and the last few are about her children) for Christmas when I was…I don’t know. I can remember the joy of the green covers against the red and white of my duvet cover in my bedroom at Almond Tree Avenue but I can’t remember how old I was. I was instantly in love with Anne, an orphan who begs that if people won’t call her Cordelia, a much better name, they at least call her ‘Anne with an E’ because she can hear the difference. (In one of my abandoned novels there is a character called Ann who thinks her mother deprived her of the ‘e’ on purpose.)

Every single Anne book makes me cry. From the death of Matthew in the first book to the death of Walter in the last. And I love the way the characters try to do the right thing, take responsibility for themselves, love each other.

But from now on I’m going to be less like Anne of Green Gables and more like….Who? Where is the role model I’m looking for? I don’t want to become a total shit, just develop a thicker skin. Because if I’m going to be in the space, then there will be people who don’t like me. If I ever finish a novel, then there will be people who don’t like it. If I want to get on at work then there will be people who don’t agree with me. And I doubt important men sit around worrying because not everyone totally understands what they are trying to do.

So, suggestions for literary role models, please. Or even real life. I want someone confident, articulate and who has a purpose. I want someone with a good dollop of compassion but also resilience who doesn’t run off and cry in a corner if people are mean. I want someone who has a spring in her step, a glint in her eye and can tell jokes. And laugh at other people’s.

That will do to be going on with.

4 responses to “An Emotional Striptease with Anne of Green Gables”

  1. Caroline Blood Avatar
    Caroline Blood

    Well, whatever your spirit, it’s certainly kindred – I too fell in love with Anne at an early age. I’m not sure how tough you should go – I think those who want people to like them generally make an effort to ensure they will. But I’ll rise to the challenge and see who I can come up with for your literary role model.

    And to perpetuate the Caitlin theme, did you see her on Newsnight? I’m sure her striptease would be equally “drunken, pull off your clothes and chuck your knickers at the nearest head” – whereas Belle’s would be the elegant, up-market one. I know which I’d prefer.

  2. Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents, grumbled Jo. I wanted to be Jo, on her settle (whatever that was) in her attic, scribbling away, eating apples and taking the hard road every time. Keep going Cathy! Hugs, Kate x

  3. I was watching ‘The Merchant of Venice’ on TV and started musing on how different I might have turned out if my parents had christened me Portia instead of Juliet. Instead of a silly, emotional teenager who is really only an ‘and’ to some bloke and is dead at fifteen, I’d be self confident, brazen enough, and with enough sense of humour to dress up as a man, and smart enough to beat the buggers standing. Not to mention beautiful, playful, headstrong, determined and respected. As my namesake said, What IS in a name?

  4. Caroline, we are clearly kindred spirits. Yes, after taking everyone’s thoughts into consideration I have decided that I am staying as is with a bit more confidence and conviction. Anne of Green Gables with a pinch of Jo from Little Women (I want a school for lost boys!) and a dash of Caitlin’s attitude.

    Speaking of whom, my lovely friend Alison (a role model and partner in crime in one feisty package) was sporting the most fabulous yellow shoes yesterday on the basis that they go with everything. Yellow nail varnish, too.

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