on the need for heroes

They say, don't they, that we should rescue ourselves from trouble and emotional turmoil. Be our own heroines. And I agree that its helpful that we can do so if necessary.

But I also don't believe there's anything wrong with being rescued.

When I think of the story girls who are rescued by kings' sons, I realise that in most cases it's not so much that they are carried out of great peril, but that they are rescued from aloneness. They are recognised, found, and brought out of sadness and neglect, into love.

Surely we all want that - and deserve it. Why is it so terribly valuable to drag ourselves out of difficulty, alone, knee-scraped, heart-sore, exhausted? Why must we not ask for help, accept an offered hand, open ourselves to love, companionship, assistance?
I've known women who have floated in the mire, increasing its level with their sorrowful tears, and failing to rescue themselves. Many other, stronger women scorn them for their helplessness. But have you seen someone drowning? All too often, they don't wave, nor do they scramble and desperately swim. They are eerily silent, still, as every fibre of their being focusses on just trying to breathe. We would not expect them to rescue themselves. We would call upon a hero.

And yet, we scorn those who are silently drowning in a mire of emotions, or tricky situations, or whatever it is that has them finally defeated - just trying, so hard, so hard, to breathe.

Let's not condemn each other to drown because of the modern cult of cold self-reliance and individuality at all costs. We can be heroes for each other. We can be a community that cares. Every woman deserves to be seen at her tower window, behind her briars, half-submerged in the mire. Seen, named, loved, saved.

Art by Kaarina Kaila


  1. I think it's ok to be rescued. The darkest times in my life were those when I didn't ask for help. And I also love that your gentle women gets rescued, that a knight finds them. I can't quite put it into words, but there is something very lovely about it. But the knight also is rescued, because he finds beauty and is transformed by it.

  2. Very thoughtful post. I love the way that you look at things. My experiences have been a mix of both being rescued and being my own heroine. So I guess different circumstances call for different responses. Regardless, I agree on taking a non-judgemental position with ourself and with others too. At the end of the day, we each do the best we can with the situations we find ourselves in.

  3. This is beautifully said and interesting. I think that we sometimes do need people to rescue us, but I also think that only people who want to be rescued may be helped. As you can do so well, you'll have me thinking about your words all day.

  4. that is probably why we like those rescue stories so much. I mean does cinderella really needs saving? not really, she's alone and that's reason enough to seek others, if not for help, than for the companionship. it's not that hard to suffer by ourselves so I suppose that is why we like that other people care enough to come and save us.

    those illustrations are so wonderful.

    hope you have a lovely day.

  5. Elizabeth WaggonerJanuary 15, 2016 at 5:40 AM

    There's nothing wrong with being alone, but for those of us who are, the harshest judgment seems to come from within. The voice that reprimands, saying "you should be able to do/handle/get through this...". Or perhaps the voice was so loud without, that it reverberated down to the very core and we think it is our own. I don't know - but you're right. I think it's a gift to allow oneself to accept help when it's needed. It's just as much of a gift to see when someone else needs the help - especially, as you say - in their silent desperation.

  6. "Seen, named, loved, saved." Yes, this is what we all need and what we all need to do for each other. And, yet, too often we ignore--or scorn--the letters sent to us in the wind from tower windows.

    Beautiful, beautiful post and pictures.♥

  7. It is hard to ask for help - to be seen as waving not drowning - but sometimes it becomes necessary - especially as we get older. I love the illustrations you have picked for this post. Beautiful.

  8. This is a very interesting perspective. xoxo

  9. This is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful and true things I have ever read. x