On the way home from the store tonight, I was thinking about how most characters in books have certain virtues and talents that get them through life and hard times, such as being courageous or have a great voice (like in the book Fairest), or how many fairy tales the princess has to be beautiful and that’s what helps her, while the men are strong and brave, and don’t back down, they don’t give up. Steadfast.
So I was thinking about my characters. Since I started my writing exercises last year, I’ve focused mainly on one character, and though I do have others, they’re pretty similar. And, well, they’re similar to me, because I have a hard time writing outside of my personal experience. I can write characters that already exist, or base a character off a real person, but since my writing exercises are for me alone as a form of therapy, my characters take on traits I either see in myself or wish I had. When I write these characters down, and look at the story from afar, I can see things so much clearer than when they’re in my head, when I’m examining myself. I have to step outside of myself in order to see me better.
Claire is definitely not perfect. She has anxiety and depression, feelings of worthlessness and the strong overwhelming desire to be worth something. And in her desire to help in any way she can, she’s also afraid of messing things up, which in turn can mess things up. I noticed she has a strong maternal instinct, she has the desire to protect and to care for others, even if she doesn’t know them. She’s a nurse and a fighter, tending to the wounded after fighting a battle. She’s also practical to a fault, one some might call a “stick in the mud.” I don’t get to test out my prowess on a battlefield (and I’m sure I’d be bad at it), but I do know I’m good at taking care of people. It’s like some sort of auto-pilot comes on and I just go…
I do have a strong urge to protect people, and to help them, and to make their lives better in any way I can. I don’t know why, it’s just how I am, despite that I pretty much don’t trust anyone and am constantly on my guard. And as strange as it is, I’m loyal to a fault as well. Those people who have hurt me over the years, the people who have backstabbed me and betrayed me… I have continued to keep whatever secrets they may have told me, and I refuse to go on my public scenes to complain about them, and even here, I don’t mention names. I guess in a way, I don’t even hold it against them, really. I can still be civil with them, even if I can never trust them again. If someone else is fine with them, who am I to besmirch their name? What happened was between them and myself, no one else. I think there are maybe two or three people who I have told anything to over the years, and I’ve told them because I know they won’t say anything to anyone else and they won’t seek out any sort of payback for me. I do not need anyone attacking anyone else because I said something.
And as weird as it is, I would still help those who have hurt me. If I had the means and they needed my help, I would help them. That’s just how my family is. I can’t imagine being any different. And it shows in my characters a lot. They’re lonely, protective, desperate to be worth something, and willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of others. They are not heroes, they are in the background helping the heroes. They don’t want attention and if they can help anonymously, they will, because just the knowledge that someone might be happier, even just for a moment, because of something they did, it’s worth it. Even if it’s just smiling at someone who looks like they’re having a bad day or buying someone a coffee, or even just leaving a piece of artwork for someone to pick up.
I want to make the world a better place, I want to help people in any way that I can, and what better way than to go out into the world and touch people’s lives? It would be better if I wasn’t so… anti-social and socially awkward, and an outsider. Even if society deems me to be a freak and unfit to join their ranks, even if they bully me, and people like me, I will continue to do what I can to help others. I think that because there is so much pain even here in the states, that’s more reason for me to go do things to help out. I know the states has it easy compared to many, many other countries, but this is where I am, and where I can do the most good for now.