Archive for December 15th, 2010

Fire and Water

Here, have a blog post!

When I was a freshman in high school, the new kid in town, before I’d made any friends or distinguished myself as a decent singer, I made up a character named Cassi.

Cassi was everything that I thought I wanted to be at that point in my life. She was dazzlingly beautiful, with long, black hair, golden eyes, and a lovely figure (which in my mind meant “skinny but with big boobs”). She was smarter and more clever than anyone, deadly with magic or her trusty sword, and very mature and wordly. She seduced men with one glance, and left a string of broken hearts in her wake. She had a tragic past, just tragic enough to make her interesting without giving her debilitating emotional baggage (a lover who sacrificed himself for her and a father who died heroically). She had all kinds of magical artifacts, like a ring that chose its wearer that allowed her to travel to other dimensions, and a sword that could detect evil and cut through anything. She was the only living person who knew a spell that, if spoken at the right time, would save the world, but at any other time would destroy it.

In short, she was a ridiculous Mary Sue,  but to my lonely teenage soul, she was perfect. The only thing she lacked was a group of loyal friends, who I had always imagined her with but been unable or unwilling to expend any imagination on creating them. I used Cassi and her friendless plight as an excuse to approach two girls who I had noticed in anime club (which I joined because hey, I thought DBZ was cool and my older brother was there and I didn’t know anyone in the entire school) and talked to once or twice. Sharing my grand visions of epic adventures chronicled in anime fanfics written jointly by us, I enlisted their willing aid in creating characters to serve as Cassi’s friends. We spent the next few years writing stories about that group, and became pretty good friends in the process (one of them is the person who became my best friend in the whole world who I love very much, the other ended up cutting ties with me near the end of high school).

Cassi was a study in contradictions. She was a lone wolf character, a rebel, and yet she spent almost all of her time with her friends and her endless string of lovers. She spend most of her time in other dimensions, doing fantastic things, and yet all her time at home was spent solving everyone’s problems and going clubbing/whatever else my teenage mind thought “cool adults” did. In hindsight, it really wasn’t humanly possible for anyone to maintain such a lifestyle, even if they mainlined Red Bull and amphetamines, but Cassi was my fantasy, and I never let reality intrude on how I saw her.

Later on, near the end of the fanfic writing times, I began to resent Cassi. As my parents’ marriage fell apart, I began to realize just how perfect and easy I’d made her life, barring extremely minor troubles like two of her paramours fighting over her or a semi-annoying villain every so often. So I stepped away from her, moving on to new characters who spent most of their time bemoaning how unbearably tragic their lives had become and dying in horribly dramatic ways.

Years later, when I felt more capable of analyzing that time in my life without it being entirely clouded by the emotions I’d felt, I realized that I never really aspired to be Cassi. What her real role in my life had been was as my imaginary older sister. I’d wanted an older sister since I was very small (my brothers, while great guys, were usually too busy with video games or comic books to give me any attention, and they didn’t know how to deal with girl problems anyway), someone who could do all the things I wanted to do, but didn’t have the courage to try. Someone who I could dream of being, without the risk of failure. Even when I resented her, it was with the feeling of a younger sister who is outshone (and that feeling reflected itself in my main character at that time).

The truth is, I wouldn’t really want to be Cassi. While part of me is intrigued by the life she leads, I want very different things. A string of lovers sounds nice in theory, but I’d really much rather have a steady relationship with one person, preferably long-term. Even though I’ve always been fascinated by swords and magic, I’m really a pacifist at heart, and I don’t think I could bring myself to hurt anyone except in self defense, and then only enough to disable them so I and whoever I’m with can get away (think pepper spray). Cassi is a fighter, but if I had anything like her abilities, I would rather be a healer. In essence, Cassi and I are like fire and water. We can be similar when you really look closely, but for the most part, we’re entirely different people. You could say (if you were feeling poetic) that we’re like two sides of the same coin. I certainly learned a lot from Cassi, and I don’t regret the role she played in my teenage life. But I remain happy that the various wishes I made to become her never actually came true.


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