In some ways, I was never a teenager, and am still a teenager. There are tons of "necessary evils" of adolescences that never bothered me, like breaking up with a boyfriend, zits or rebellion to an authority figure. However, I still do those "were you even thinking at all?" things, like dumping syrup on my computer keyboard.
I'm tutoring a fourteen year-old French girl in English. I enjoy spending time with her and each time we have a time of conversation I get to know more about her. She's a fabulous jumble of seeming oxymorons.
In our first conversation, she said that films with a love story didn't interest her. Her mother said she is on a rugby team and has equestrian lessons. The next time, when I asked what she likes to do with her free time, she showed me the manga characters she draws hair and makeup on. As they left another day, the teen's love of shoes and high heels came up. At their house, she showed me her pet ferrets and beloved dogs. Yesterday, her magnificent curly black hair was pulled into a messy bun, highlighting her single marigold feather earring. She told me she'd like to be a mounted police officer when she grows up. For Christmas, she asked her mother to paint the Dune de Pyla, a giant sand bar on the Atlantic coast with sea on one side and pine trees on the other.
I love it. She can't be classified, can't be stereotyped: a beautiful young woman, strong and brave. This is the kind of character, the kind of girl I want to see in Young Adult and Middle Grade books. Not lashing out rebelliously against all things feminine, not putting down males as inferior. Just a young girl living and growing up in her own special way.
It makes me think of this song, WildFlower by The Jane Dear Girls. Do you know a marvelous young woman? Who's your favorite female character?