The Way We See Ourselves

My sister visited me last week. We got into a conversation about how we grew up, what our relationships were like with our siblings then, and what they are now. How much we know each other, how much we don’t.

That led to a discussion about how I view myself as an adult. I was an emotional and very sensitive kid, and I think that led me to believe that I would be an emotionally needy adult. But now, looking back on close to twenty years of adulting, it surprises me to realize how comfortable I am being emotionally independent. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I just really need a hug from my husband, but I don’t feel the need to reach out to people very often. I don’t know if that’s an introvert thing, or a social thing, or something else. Regardless, I’ve decided that it’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just different from what I expected I would become.

I wonder how many times we do that to ourselves. How often do we pigeon hole ourselves into a space that we think we fit—or that we think others expect us to occupy—without ever realizing that that isn’t us, at least not anymore.

That’s the way with characters sometimes too. They view themselves one way when anyone looking from the outside would see something very different. Bella from Twilight is a good example of that.

But even more than that, as an author, I sometimes cast a character in a certain roll but then as I write and develop them, they become something different. Something better. I never expected William from Just Ella to be anything more than a mysterious villain. It surprised me as much as anyone when he became a much more intricate part of the narrative.

That’s another reason that I don’t extensively outline my books. I don’t want to limit my characters by assigning them specific character traits that they must adhere to, or certain unbendable objectives. I enjoy being in the middle of a scene and having a character show a new part of their personality that I (or even they) didn’t know they had.

This idea can be highlighted well if an author does a dual point of view story. A reader can see almost simultaneously how a character thinks they are coming off and then how those on the outside actually perceive them. A character can have crippling anxiety and insecurities, but those around them think they are cocky and aloof. Or you could have a Michael Scott character—someone who believes everyone loves them. They think they’re the funniest person in the room and have tons of friends, when really they are simply tolerated.

What is perception? What is reality? Is our view the truth? Is others’?

Is the glass full or half empty?

It’s both. That one of the lessons I seem to learn over and over. It’s hardly ever definitively one way or the other. It’s nearly always both.

Weekly Book Highlights

For those of you interested in finding new sweet romance books and authors, here’s a couple you might want to try. I don’t have time to read all the books that I highlight, but I can say with confidence that they are in the sweet romance genre.

Here’s an oldie, but a goodie. Ok, so this one isn’t that old, but I read it several years ago, and was fascinated by it. Sheralyn Pratt’s Pimpernel is a new take on (you guessed it) the Scarlet Pimpernel. It’s available on KindleUnlimited.

For centuries, the elite of the world have sought the Pimpernel everywhere. Some want to kill him, others want to hire him, but Jack Cavanaugh knows that the love/hate relationship comes with the job title.

If you enjoy mail order bride stories, Cora Leland has a new release. It’s $.99 and available on KindleUnlimited.

Every woman in Larkspur wanted a tall, tough cowboy. Dusty Wade certainly fit that description, but he had plans somewhere else.

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