No one is chosen. Not ever. Not in the real world. You chose to climb out of your window and ride on a leopard. You chose to get a witch’s Spoon back, and to make friends with a wyvern. You chose to trade your shadow for a child’s life. You chose not to let the Marquess hurt your friend--you chose to smash her cages! You chose to face your own Death, not to balk at a great sea to cross and no ship to cross it in. And twice now you have chosen not to go home when you might have, if only you abandoned your friends. You are not the chosen one, September. Fairyland did not choose you--you chose yourself.
It's been a minute, I know. Schedules have pretty much gone out the window, and I make no claim to reasonable excuses except that sometimes I have weeks or months where I need a break to replenish my well.
In that effort, I've been reading a lot. Since the first of the month I've read more than 4,000 pages of fantasy novels, full of chosen heroes and destinies, heirs to great kingdoms and bearers of great burdens. There's something comforting in the idea of chosen heroes and the hero's journey plot, I think: the idea that the people who will make things better have special gifts, talents, or bloodlines that infuse them with the responsibility to make a difference. It takes the weight off the rest of us, when we haven't yet been called to greatness. It's not our job, because if it were, someone would have told us and given us a sword.
We also saw Wonder Woman last week, which stood in surprising contrast to all those chosen heroes. Diana, of course, believes she is one; believes that good and evil wear recognizable faces and have conquerable sources. But the whole point of the story is that they don't, and that people carry goodness and badness in them all the time, carrying out the whispered wills of gods and generals and friends and lovers all the time. We don't always know who our friends and enemies are, and sometimes (in real life, more often than not) the hero that saves the day isn't the one who was given the sword.
I was invited to my friend's family celebration for Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, but couldn't, in the end, get there until Monday (where the leftovers from their Eid meal were abundant and fantastic). I am friendly with her whole family, but it was the first time I'd seen them since we'd made my pregnancy public, and their well-wishes were a warm embrace. There are times when prayers and religious culture grate on me (like when concrete actions are both possible and necessary), but in these circumstances, I'll take all the good wishes I can get, both for the sake of my unique, anxious brain and for the tiny person I'm creating, who I hope will grow up in a community of people where they never doubt they are beloved. I am doing my best to build that for them, because we can't wait for someone with a special calling and a magic sword to make the world better; the light and the darkness are in all of us, and we choose every day which will be the foundation we build from.
A newsletter on life, current events, media & culture, and living in wonder amidst it all.