I’ve just finished The Reluctant Goddess, the second book in a delightful trilogy by Karen Ranney. I found this author via a list of funny vampire books with plucky heroines on Facebook a little while ago and decided to give it a try. Let’s hear it for Facebook. This series is a winner. I suspect I’ve hit a mother load because this author is wonderfully prolific. Yippe! This series, “The Montgomery Chronicles,” tells the story of Marcie Montgomery, a onetime insurance adjuster, who becomes a one-of-a-kind paranormal creature who saves the world, more or less. I don’t want to give too much away, as the majority of the plot revolves around Marcie’s journey of self-discovery as she embraces her transformation and what it means to be a goddess.
Marcie’s evolutionary trajectory is entertaining and instructive. At one point, she tells us poignantly that the problem with her life is that there are no roadmaps and she has no idea where she is going or how she is going to get there. At the same time, she doesn’t feel any (or much) desire to go back to her old self, but she doesn’t know what her new self will look, act or feel like. I can relate, having let go of my old life while struggling to embrace a new one with nary a roadmap in sight. It’s frightening, confusing and anxiety producing. But it’s also filled with endless possibilities for adventure, creativity and the expression of my authentic self. If becoming a goddess were easy, everyone would do it.
I’ve been given a respite from the workaday world. In other words, I’m unemployed—for the first time since I was 15 years old. For the past 35 years, I’ve worked for other people, always contributing to someone else’s dreams or visions. And now, through circumstances largely beyond my control, I have the chance to build my own field of dreams without any guilt or stress. What a gift! And while I absolutely understand how blessed I am to be in this position, I’m almost—but not quite—paralyzed with ambiguity, terror and confusion. At the same time, I am in constant motion with feeling elated, inspired and hopeful. I am living life fully, maybe for the first time ever. Unfortunately, a life lived fully comes with the double-edged sword of feeling all my feelings, good and bad.
In many ways, life is easier when someone tells us what to do or when we behave within the confines of the roles and responsibilities we assume and which structure the rhythms of our lives. When Marcie was an insurance adjuster, she got up every morning and went to work, dated boring men, saw her friends and counted herself lucky to have a job and a social life, such as they were. Once she began her transformation to becoming a goddess, she wasn’t quite sure where she would end up or what she would look like when she got there. Similarly, my life was also defined by the work that I did and the parts that I played. I’ve been a lot of things over the years, including paralegal, private investigator, teacher, nuclear weapons analyst, nutritional consultant, business manager, etc. Now, when people ask me what I do, I’m not quite sure what to say. I’m still in the process of becoming, and I don’t know what I’ll be when I find the wherewithal to break out of the cocoon in which I’ve been experiencing my metamorphosis. Will I be a beautiful butterfly or an ugly moth? The jury is still out. I do know that the uncertainty is killing me. I’m not good with suspense—I sometimes ahead in books if I’m overly nervous about a particular outcome, just to relieve my anxiety. Sadly for me, we can’t do that in life. How will it all turn out? Stay tuned. Personally, I’m on the edge of my seat.
I think this is what it means to be a goddess like Marcie. It means to be the master of my own destiny, to rise or fall on my own merits with no one to blame for failure or credit with success. It seems to me, after reading about Marcie, that being a goddess is to take the road less traveled, making footprints of our own for others to follow, while having few to guide our own path forward. This is not for the fainthearted, let me tell you. It requires finding reservoirs of grit and determination I’m still not sure exist, and taking leap after leap off endless cliffs with nothing but the abyss yawning below. And, just like Marcie, it means exploring the limits of my superpowers, and determining that I are capable of so much more than I thought possible. It’s a heady thing, this goddess business, and not a path I thought to take, but life is like that sometimes.
Thankfully, I can find inspiration and instructions in the pages of my beloved books. In Karen Ranney’s trilogy, Marcie teaches us what it means to be human in the best sense of the word, and what it means to become a goddess, tolerating confusion and discomfort, fear and anxiety along the way. It’s difficult, yes, and it may or may not end well, but all told, it’s good to be a goddess, even a reluctant one.