When You Don’t Always Recognize Yourself

Perhaps it means nothing to you. You’ve learned to be okay with it and you no longer fight. You were never an outwardly passionate person to begin with, but you did believe in stuff. It made you who you are. Your mother called you a fairytale baby; a firm believer in faeries and magic and bubbles. But at the same time you knew where the stories ended and where reality began. You also understood that reality was a fluid concept; everyone was entitled to their own version of it. Perhaps that is what made you so good at weaving stories. Grand sentences and beautiful tales conjured up late at night to help your younger sister sleep. You saw the sparkle in her eye, the excited questions, that satisfied drowsy smile at the end of it. And the next day you could do it all over again.

People thought you were a bubbly person, you knew otherwise. Your mother feared you lived in a land of fairytales and would end up being hurt by the Big Bad World. Again, you knew otherwise. You weaved stories and so knew it wasn’t real. You told of happy endings and castles while being painfully aware of suicides and abrupt ends. You were rooted in reality while still having the privilege of floating away from it from time to time. You knew all the ways things could go wrong but believed in all the times they won’t. You had beliefs and ideals and the occasional pretty bubble. You fought for people, for those beliefs. Fought against the concept of evil and its incidence. You believed people to be fundamentally good, no matter how naive others thought that made you.

Nowadays you tell friends that people are selfish. You don’t truly believe that, you know you don’t, but you say it anyway. Because it’s the smart thing to do. Terrible things happen in the world making it a terrible place filled with terrible people. You’ve met a few. You’ve met truly evil people who made your blood crawl and your eyes fill up in despair because you couldn’t bear the level of hatred you felt for that human being. You never believed in the concept of hate. And for a while, after meeting them and finding out the horrible things they’ve thought, you forgave them. Or you simply didn’t believe anybody capable of such thoughts. You’ve accepted it now. And so you tell your friends that people are selfish and mean. You don’t believe that. But you’re okay with saying it, because that is who you are now. You have fewer beliefs than you did before. You haven’t made up a bedtime story for your younger sister for a long while now. Her eyes still sparkle and you look at it and pray to God that never goes away. Your mother says she’s a fairytale baby too, just like her oldest sister. And you see it. You see it in the way she looks up at the night sky with you on the days you come out of your room, in the way she flips her pretend hair this way and that and talks in a strange language, in the way she treats her toys like they’re actual living beings—in the way she believes them to be actual living beings. In the way she believes in magic while still being able to question the absurd. You’ve gotten rusty at telling her about fairies and you realize she doesn’t believe in half the things she used to. When you told her stories. You look at that and think maybe it’s a good thing.

Perhaps it meant nothing to you. The stories and the belief and the magic. Maybe you feel silly talking about spells and fantasies. And maybe that’s what’s killing you. You can’t write stories anymore. You haven’t in a long while. Not happy ones anyway. You write of sick mothers and poetic deaths. You tell yourself that’s what you should be writing anyway because it’s the best kind of beautiful there is: tragic and grown up. You’re a sham.

You believe in people being fundamentally good and you believe in fairies in the garden. Or maybe you actually don’t. Maybe it truly means nothing to you and you’ve actually changed. Its why you can’t write stories. Not ones you love.

Magic never denies its evil side. There are witches and hags and greedy giants. You fight it with the good. You’ve learned to simply be. And you hate yourself for it.

Yours Truly,

sign-off

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12 thoughts on “When You Don’t Always Recognize Yourself

  1. Well written. Hard to believe you’re 16, except for the fact that you’re challenging your own belief system.

    I will pull out the old truism that life is hard, and ask you to read both Nora Roberts and JD Robb (the same author). While they are contained within the “Romance” section of the bookstore (JD Robb may be in a bookstore advanced enough to put her in “Mystery”), you get to decide where your belief system resides.

    If you can write like Nora, Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, et al, and remain true to yourself? Then that’s what you’re driving toward. Doing something because you “should” is a short-cut which will impact your writing negatively.

    Go take a look at Stephen King and Dean Koontz. They, too, write happy stories, but with a very dark side. At the end, it’s about writing a believable tale, and that’s not always something that’s either 100% happy or 100% depressing, but something that has shades.

    Good luck !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes I realized that writing along the guidelines of someone else will just slowly eat me up, I guess I just sort of lost track for a while, it hadn’t initially been intentional but eventually I’d look at something and think it was too immature or wrong and then what was deemed appropriate I absolutely hated. I’ve promised myself not to do that. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors and I did always marvel at his humor. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for Nora Roberts on my next bookstore visit. Thank you so much, this really meant a lot to me

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