In the interests of having something to blog about without necessarily having to think too much about it, I’m taking on the challenge of Reverb Broads (available at http://reverbbroads.blogspot.com/) to write this summer. Today’s blogpost, “With what fictional character (book, movie, TV, etc.) do you most identify? Why?”
To be truthful, as I looked through the first few blog post suggestions, this was the one that frightened me most. Not sharing my nightmares, my role models, or my aspirations, but the fictional character with which I identify. I suppose it has something to do with feeling like I’m not all that creative and that, here on day 1, I might disappoint. I’m also struggling with this because I’m fairly certain that in reality I connect with too many fictional characters in pieces, but none wholeheartedly. I could give you my favorite fictional characters — Atticus Finch, Ponyboy Curtis, Edna Pontellier, Offred of Handmaid’s Tale or Old Major of Animal Farm, but none of these are really “me.” I’d like to go “classic,” but I can’t. So, I made a choice, and I’m sticking with it.
Those who know me know that to love me is to love to hear Aaron Sorkin quotes. Primarily but not exclusively from the West Wing. And so, my fictional character is CJ Cregg, press secretary to President Bartlet. She is smart, but often afraid that she doesn’t quite measure up to her peers. 99% of the time, she is right on the ball but the other 1% she makes a complete mess of things. She is one of the boys, certainly a feminist, and self assured, but also wants to be told that she’s good enough, that she’s pretty, that she’s more than a brain in a suit. She is certainly more comfortable being in front of the camera than I am, but she displays an awkwardness too, one that makes me suggest that she and I would understand each other. Sometimes I want to shake her and remind her that she’s in her job because she’s supposed to be — that she’s earned it. I feel the same way about myself sometimes. I see those who have been in the field or even at the institution longer and I suspect that they don’t doubt me nearly as much as I doubt myself.
But here’s the thing: CJ gets it. She’s in the inner circle. She’s part of the decision making. When the “boys” ignore her, they usually do so at their own peril. She is not holier than thou, she is not superior, but she is more often than not right — not because she knows more but because she thinks through every possibility and can serve as the voice of reason. She questions, she wonders, she ponders, but she makes good decisions that serve their shared mission well. On my better days, I see that in myself as well.