The more I write of it, the more I realize how closely it mirrors my life. Maybe not my life exactly, but certain aspects of it. Mel, especially, reminds me of myself, and I didn’t even notice how much of myself I wrote into her until this scene:
[ . . . ] She still felt that static nestled behind her eyes, burrowing into her brain, when she thought about how many people she would come in contact with during her work shift and at the college. She could feel the elephant sitting on her chest, heavy and hurting.
That was when she crawled into her apartment closet and curled up on the floor, fighting to focus on breathing. In, hold for five. Out for five. In, again, hold for five. Out. In. Out.
Her breathing would go back to normal. The ache in her chest would round out, hard edges softened. The static would stay, though, clouding her thoughts until she had a chance to clear them completely. Until she had a chance to shut down her thoughts and emotions so she could scatter her perpetual sunshine to everyone around her again.
It was difficult sometimes to balance everything.
I didn’t notice until this moment that Mel is so much like me because I never intentionally write myself into stories. That’s a big rule for me, mostly a result of the years I spent on FanFiction, reading story after story in which the author created a main character that looked and acted exactly as they did, and every Mary Sue was exactly the same.
I’m hoping Mel isn’t a Mary Sue. I’m hoping that she reads as a vibrant, dreaming, breathing being you couldn’t and wouldn’t want to clump in with an entire stereotype of character.
I don’t know why I’m writing this. Maybe because Mel is special. I love all of my stories and all of my characters, but this one feels different. This one feels raw and real and it hurts to write like the others haven’t.
Writing for Patrick and Mel leaves me exhausted. It leaves me slumped against the back of the chair or stretched out on the floor or curled up on the couch, usually crying or on the verge of. It shreds my heart and wrecks my soul and I can’t help but think that this is what writing is supposed to feel like, but it hasn’t in so long.
Before, I wrote because I had to, but I had to because my soul is made of written words, of blacker than black ink and creamy parchment. I had to write because there were too many words in my mind, spinning fragments in dizzying circles until I wrote them out into complete sentences.
After, I wrote because it felt like something I had to do, because it’s what my friends and family expected me to do. Because I had set a precedent, a pattern.
Now, I don’t know why I write. I carry my journal in my purse. I feel incomplete if it isn’t nearby. I pull it out of my bag and write any number of pages any time I have a thought or an idea that I want to write down. I have a spiral specifically for creative writing that goes most places I go. A steno pad for poetry. There are so many documents saved on my three USBs that I worry sometimes about running out of storage space, although I know I won’t with a total of 16 gigabytes of storage, not including my external hard drive, emails sent to friends, and handwritten copies.
I don’t know what I’m get at with this. I think maybe I’m sick of only being partially honest, and so’s Mel. We’re tired of being honest only when things are good, when the sun is shining and the words are flowing and the static isn’t buzzing around like a bumblebee.
I’m craving honesty, I think. Total honesty. Vulnerability. From myself and from those around me.
I crave people who are real and raw, like the people at CFNI, like my core group of Dragon Slayers, like the people I met in New York.
I’m craving deep relationships and roaring laughter and Emergency Dance Parties that threaten to blow the speakers, tea shared late at night and again in the early mornings.
I’m especially craving to be rid of the toxic relationships in my life. I crave the ability to differentiate between friends and acquaintances, because there’s a distinct difference.
Most of all, I crave the courage and wisdom to deal with these toxic relationships without tearing the other person down.
I want to rid my life of fake and of excess without harming anyone else, and that’s a feat that feels impossible of late.