Uncomfortable. Out of place. It doesn't feel right yet, because I'm always chasing satisfaction like it's going to turn up in a rearing “Aha!” moment. I grew up inhaling film tropes and memorizing fictional stories like they were the homework I always neglected. I didn’t just consume them, I believed in them. I was going to embody these stories and live them happily ever after… But somewhere between innocence and metamorphosis I found out that life isn't fantastical like fiction. Reality doesn't play out in three acts. There is no climactic moment where everything comes together after hardship. Growing up is a constant state of discovery. But there is no swelling dramatic music or surrounding smiles and tears of joy to celebrate certainty each time a lesson is learned. I’ve witnessed this discovery about a hundred times already. It happens so often that learning feels banal in comparison to the feeling of excitement that makes my hair stand up when the heroine overcomes her obstacles. When I came to the conclusion that life is not fantasy it felt bittersweet because on one hand, I could release myself from the tethers of unreachable, unrealistic standards, written for princesses and palaces that don't exist. On the other hand, it’s no easy task to part with the comfort of escaping reality. But, I didn’t escape all the way. I leaned on fiction to cope with the traumas of real life. I tried to force fiction — carve it, mix it, blend it — into my timeline. I grew to anticipate it. Then I grew to expect it in places where it couldn’t exist. I was blind to the beauty of the real as I pouted over what story thought I should be living. But the moral of my favorite lesson so far has been that- just as fiction has elements of reality- everyday life can be as romantic and dramatic and embellished as I want it to be. These uncomfortably ugly phases of grief and acceptance can be fantastical. One day, I raised my pen like a magic wand, and suddenly, this turbulence transformed into a blur of mystifying mystery, a beautiful swirl of sorrow, a dreary dream rainstorm I can't help but dance in, then drowning in a self-actualizing tsunami of my deepest desires. Every scene I wrote made way for another harsh truth: Even as the protagonist of my own life, I am not the Queen, or the princess, or the fairy, or the mermaid. I was blessed with the opportunity to learn that I am multitudes more than any trope. The most prolific author screenwriter, director, poet could never pin down a character like me, although I'd love to see them try. That's why it's never actually worked out between fiction and I. I misused it as a crutch to avoid my problems, instead of allowing it to soothe and guide me towards recovery, which I believe can be done. But now I can write, film, dance and direct my way through it all and win- or lose- the game of life on my own terms instead of hiding away in a tower built on the excuses I once fabricated as a damsel in distress.
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