Photos: The CW
Head cheerleader turned bloodthirsty vampire, Caroline Forbes (played by Candice Accola), is by far my favorite character on The Vampire Diaries (aka the best show on television). When we are first introduced to Caroline, she is a boy crazy, gossip hungry, perfectionist, on a constant hunt for the approval of others. This makes her easy prey for a manipulative yet attractive vampire villain, Daemon, as she believes she is worthless without a cute boyfriend. As the show progresses, however, and Caroline is accidentally turned into a Vampire, she is forced for the first time to turn inward and undergo some painful introspection and self-exploration. As she experiences hardship she’s never previously faced, her strength is put to the test. Slowly she becomes more assertive and powerful, transforming from a weak victim into a vital force in the show’s ongoing struggle against evil vampires.
I think there is a little bit of Caroline Forbes in all of us. As women, society teaches us early on that we need to be perfect and popular in order to feel good about ourselves. Most of us, however, eventually hit a point (perhaps less dramatic than becoming a vampire) where we come face to face with the fact that this confining, empty, and dis-empowering stereotype of what a woman should be doesn’t quite fit. And that’s when the (often uncomfortable) introspection begins. As trite as it might sound, the process of discovering who you are and getting in touch with your individuality and inner strength is one of the hardest, scariest, and most important things you will ever do.
I believe my inner journey began during my junior year of college when, feeling unhappy and stifled by my “sorority girl” image, I decided study in South Africa for a semester. At the time, traveling by myself half way around the world felt like a very big deal, and decidedly outside my comfort zone. But I did it anyway, feeling I owed it to myself to test just how strong, independent, and (hopefully) happy I could be. Though I had no idea at the time, going turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made, starting a ripple effect of self-discovery and growth that continues today.
So while I began this post with every intention of discussing Caroline’s many adorable hairstyles and penchant for floral accessories (which are lovely to say the least ;)), I guess it has morphed into something else altogether. Much like Caroline’s character, my own personal journey, and probably many of yours. I just want to say, whether you feel like you are in a strong confident place right now, or are just starting to come face to face with tough stuff, I urge you to stay strong and not compromise. I’ve been there and believe with all of my heart that you are worth every bit of effort you put into to finding yourself, whatever that means to you. So take chances, stay positive and as the great Winston Churchill famously stated, “never, never, never, never give up”!
PS. If you haven’t already, watch Vampire Diaries! You won’t regret it 🙂