September 17, 2015
I started writing in sixth grade, after I met a classmate who wrote her own stories. Up to that point, my classmates made me nervous, so I would rather fold into myself and hide in my books than converse with my peers. People often mistook me for being plain, boring, without much opinion to speak of as a result. But upon meeting my writer classmate—Emma—I wondered what it would be like to express the daydreams I experienced. The dreams I ended up in trouble for on an hourly basis in class, at home. People wanted to know what was in my head, so I would show them.
My first story was about a girl my age, which at that time was around eleven, who discovered she was adopted and was truly an orphan who had extraordinary powers. But she was not alone, as there were many others like her. Fast forward to my next story, a girl my age—Around twelve that time—who, yes, discovered she had extraordinary powers, but they would not be activated until she accepted them. Fast forward again, and you can probably guess what the story was about. Each draft had different characters, but the stories were remarkably similar.
Fast forward a few more years, and my character was now fourteen. Not only was she an orphan, but she had no memories, and she was an alien. But she didn’t belong with her own people either, as she was a forbidden mix of two feuding races. Yet and still, she found love and others like her, and would have lived happily ever after, eventually… Had I finished the story. But after eight or nine years essentially writing the same story with different characters, I found myself unable to continue.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering why in the world I just told you all of this.
I stopped writing that story this year, a month or two ago, and since then I have not written a single word. This piece is the first jumble of words I’ve thrown together in a long, long time. I think it’s because I finally realized the pattern in my work. A girl (me) discovers her life is not what it seems, she’s not what she believed she was, and it’s discovered that she has amazing powers, and goes on further to find that she isn’t the only one, and there is in fact a special someone out there who can and does love her for exactly who she is.
Fiction mimics life, does it not? Without even thinking about it, I have been writing myself into fictional worlds, trying to fix my problems there. Confused? Let me explain. Firstly no, I’m not an alien. But two years ago in June, I went to the doctor and complained about not being able to sleep, gaining weight, knee problems, etc etc. My GP felt around on my neck and noted it was relatively large. Suggested an ultrasound. No big deal. Well, turns out it was a very big deal. Long story short, after multiple tests, biopsies and ultrasounds and fancy doctor visits (spanning about a year), I found out I had Thyroid Cancer. My life was no longer normal, as I had always thought it was.
June of last year I had my final surgery, removing the rest of my Thyroid. I went through treatments and things, and it took about a year after I started my medication to find the right dosage. During that time I began to see a psychologist, because I was experiencing depression and severe anxiety. Well, most of my characters suffer from that as well. According to my therapist, I had anxiety and depressive disorder. And a social phobia. But, she wanted to wait until my thyroid levels were normal to make sure it wasn’t that, causing the symptoms.
Well, now they’re normal. But I’m still anxious, and my depression surely hasn’t lifted. On my last visit, we scheduled an appointment with the psychiatrist, so I can receive medication. I broke down in tears, expressing how I felt broken, incompetent, abnormal. But I was assured that this is very, very common. I’m not the only one.
Now all that’s left is for me to find that special someone who will love me for exactly who I am, right? But… no. I think I skipped a step. I always skip a step.
Don’t I have to love myself first?
The reason why I hate most YA fiction is based on this. The girl falls for the guy, even though she hates herself, and his presence somehow makes up for the fact that she can’t stand her own reflection. But that’s wrong. She has to love herself first. She has to be confident. I’m not, so my characters aren’t. And I can’t finish the story, because my characters aren’t complete. I’m not complete. I don’t know who I am.
I’ll be twenty next month, and I thought I would have myself figured out by then. Then again, I thought I’d have myself figured out by eighteen. So I shouldn’t be surprised. But maybe… Just maybe… It’s time I write a character who takes the time to learn who she is before accepting a man into her life.
Maybe that will help me. If I can help my fictional selves, maybe they can help me too. If that isn’t too strange. Then again, looking deeper, my characters are pretty powerful too, even though they don’t realize it. Others are drawn to them without thinking, and they’re all fiercely loyal and protective of their own. Maybe I see myself for the good more than I realize. I’m not starting from zero.
If fiction mimics life, why can’t life mimic fiction? Mimic until the fiction becomes reality. It’s worth a try.
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