You Are the Sun

May 11, 2016 § 1 Comment

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Elly writes,

Recently reality hit me right on the head. I realized that all of my favorite characters aren’t real. Even though I’ve been there for them my entire life, they’ll never really been there. I now feel like I’m broken. 

Hi Elly,

It’s a common fangirl struggle to realize that you’re dedicating a lot of time and energy to someone who can never love you back. Fictional characters can do a lot for you. They can help you see what needs fixing. They can illuminate, and inspire, and energize. But fiction is not a code that tells your brain what do to. It cannot lift your arms and legs like a marionette and lead you forward. Only you can do that for yourself.

In her book Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes talks about how for almost a decade, Grey’s Anatomy character Cristina Yang said the words she could never say herself. The character she created was her model for living the kind of life she wanted to have. Eventually, however, Shonda realized that she didn’t need Cristina to do those things for her. She could do them herself. She could be the Yang she wished to see in the world.

Elly, my question for you is this. What can a fictional character give you that you cannot give yourself? Courage? Compassion? Motivation? Wisdom? They might not be real, but you are, and all of these things are within your reach.

Maybe you’re not broken. Maybe you’re just unfinished. A work in progress. So try giving yourself something a fictional person can’t give you today. Maybe it’s a bold move. Maybe it’s practicing kindness, and comforting the uncomforted. Maybe it’s just taking a deep breath and eating a cookie.

Remember the words that Cristina told Meredith about her husband. Because they apply to us and how we think about fictional characters. “He is very dreamy, but he’s not the sun. You are.”

 

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