BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Trying On Personalities

 

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I’ve been having a little fun with fiction. I’ve been trying on different personalities in the form of characters I’m writing. First person narratives are so different from third person. Getting into the character makes me feel like I really know him or her. Well, her. So far I’ve been working with female characters, probably because they’re what I know best.

Maybe it’s time to get a little bolder. I’ve written a few women, and they’ve been young. Far younger than I am. I suppose it’s because in my head I’m far younger than I am in my body. Teenage me is still alive and well, but fortunately she’s not in charge. Can you imagine? That would be a disaster.

Can I write older? I suppose I can try it, but it will be quite a bit more difficult. After all, I’ve been younger than I am now, but I’ve never been older. Of course I know older people, and I have my entire life, but it’s not the same as having that first-hand experience. Still, I think I’m going to give it a go.

Then there’s gender. At the moment I’m thinking in terms of simple binary, that is male and female. Again, these are the ones I’m most familiar with. Yes, I have met transgender people, and yes, the people I’ve met have been lovely, but I don’t know nearly enough about their experiences in the world to pretend to be able to write a convincing character at this point.

I’ve written characters from different backgrounds, from a former child soldier in South Sudan to an undocumented Mexican man full of machismo to a little girl living in foster care unsure of her future. None of these characters have been in first person, though. I think it would be enlightening to go back to some of these people (yes, I know they’re imaginary, but they’re still people) and write from their points of view. What is that scared little girl seeing and hearing in the dark in a strange bedroom far away from her family? How does his past haunt the Sudanese “Lost Boy” and does he feel survivor’s guilt? What, and who, did the Mexican man leave behind when he crossed the border? Was it worth it? Will he ever voluntarily go back?

It’s a fascinating exercise in empathy and creativity. At our core we share undeniable similarities. How these manifest, and how our differences separate us, are topics of unending wonder. I’m so lucky I can write my way into whatever personality I feel like choosing.


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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Full Moon.”

When the full moon happens, you turn into a person who’s the opposite of who you normally are. Describe this new you.full-moon-on-cloudy-night-wide

Here it is, the full moon again. I both love and loathe this celestial ritual. I love that I transform into the slim, svelte, sleek, and gorgeous woman who the lunar cycle unleashes. I love that she is powerful and confident and has no trouble demanding, and getting, exactly what she wants. I love that she is strong, healthy, and fit. I love that she listens to her inner voice and makes her decisions based on her innermost desires. But there is a downside, too.

Although she has always been a part of me, this woman is still a stranger to me. We are opposites in every way imaginable. That’s why I despise her every bit as much as I admire her. She shuns my family and leaves on her own, following her whims without regard for anyone’s feelings. She is unreliable, but her confidence and overall competence generally make people forget her slights. Frankly, she doesn’t care if they do or not. She is so self-absorbed that it makes no difference what anyone thinks of her.

Still, she takes time and care with her appearance, and it pays off. People notice her, and she enjoys every minute of their attention. She thrives in the spotlight and hates to share it with anyone. She over-extends her credit cards to buy the newest shoes and clothes. Paying the bills isn’t her job, so why should she worry about it? She is a trend-setter, a crowd-pleaser, and a woman-about-town.  She is exhausting, and I’m glad she doesn’t stay long, but in the end I cannot deny her, after all, she is me.