Whenever I feel down, or upset, there are two books I usually turn to. One of them is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and the other is Penelope by Marilyn Kaye.
Not only do I love the story of someone breaking free of negativity and low self esteem, I love the fact that the character breaks their own curse and rises above their misery.
Resse Witherspoon has a powerful introduction to this story. She says, "I've been all over the world and met so many people, and I've come to discover that each and every one of us has insecurities. Young or old, short or tall, we all have something we wish we could change about ourselves. Sometimes we let those insecurities define who we are and get in the way of all the great things we could accomplish. Penelope teaches us to rise above our fears, to embrace the things that make us unique, and to celebrate our individuality."
Long before I read Penelope, I already knew that I had a curse. My negative attitude haunted me, and yes it still does at times. I have this curse of being terrified when anything good happens. I always expect something horrible to follow, and I literally wait until it does. I have never been an optimist on so many levels.
Just like going to Disney, I feel so thankful that I decided to pick up this book, just before Borders went out of business, and give it a try. Even though I had long given up on the possibility of things actually working out in real life.
This book opened my eyes, and I read it as a reminder to hope and believe in something more. Something happy, real and true. Penelope was the story that finally convinced me to pursue my dreams, and it taught me that breaking free from the past is not a bad thing.
Penelope does the unthinkable in her own fairytale. She breaks her own curse! She doesn't wait around for Prince Charming. She stops listening to the negative words that surround her and decides to go out into the world and discover who she wants to be. She becomes her own hero, and once she breaks away from the curse, nothing can stop her from living the life she's always wanted!
So whenever I feel down, depressed, angry or frustrated with life, I read this book to remind myself that the only one preventing me from my own happiness is me.
If I take the leap, brave the unknown and start to actually believe I'm capable of good things, maybe even that I do deserve to be happy, I can become the hero in my own story. I can, and will break my own curse.