Monday, August 19, 2013

Challenge 4 - Reflections

She stares at me, curious. Her fine, mousy-brown hair a frizzy halo about her round face. Some of those spots are freckles, others are red and sore from where she’s been squeezing pimples. When she smiles, her eyes crinkle at the corners. Her teeth are mostly straight, except for the big canine on the left which stands out crooked and ruins the whole effect.
No, she isn’t beautiful, not in a traditional way.
I stare back, confused. Is this really how people see me? She looks nothing like the girl I imagine - slim and sexy, with an infectious smile and great hair.
“I don’t like you,” I say to the mirror girl.
Her eyes narrow, throwing the words back at me even as I say them.
“Why can’t you be pretty?” I murmur.
A dark part of me wants to erase her; replace her with someone else. For a moment I understand how the evil Queen felt.
Mirror, mirror, lie to me please.
Nothing changes. Nothing ever will. She’s me and I’m her.
I reach out, our fingers separated by nothing more than a thin sliver of glass. Is it compassion or sadness in her big blue eyes as I whisper, “I’m such a hypocrite, aren’t I?”
She nods, knowing exactly what I mean. There’s so much love in my life, crazy, generous, wonderful people I'm honoured to call friends and family. Who have I ever disowned for failing to be pretty?
No-one, of course. What a stupid question. I don’t care what they look like.
“Then why am I so mean to you?”
The corners of her mouth twitch up; the beginnings of a knowing smile. Perhaps I’ll never be a movie star or a celebrity, but I could strike ‘symmetrical teeth’ and ‘silky locks’ off the list of prerequisites to loving and accepting myself.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Challenge 2 - Scolding My Social Anxiety

It occurred to me that this exercise can be combined with the literary technique of apostrophe, in which the author talks directly to non-human objects or abstract concepts, in this case speaking directly to social anxiety. The technique is rarely used anymore and lends itself better to poetry and prose than to fiction. Still, I thought it was an interesting way to approach the exercise. I might attempt this exercise again to create a story with a plot, setting and characters.


Leave me alone! Stop bothering me. Go away, damn you! And take all of your childhood bullies with you.

Don't try to convince me that people are making fun of me anymore. Allow me to go to the occasional party without feeling like an outcast. Stop haunting my workplaces and social interactions. Cease and desist!

Grow up and be a real human emotion for a change, and graduate from being the pathetic loser of a neurosis that you have chosen to become. Reflect on your own insecurities and give up your cowardly strategy of intimidating others. Have a little self-respect for a change, and then spread that respect around instead of the negativity you thrive on so much. Feel the shame you have brought upon yourself and others. Change your wicked ways.

Taunt me if you must. Continue to be that way as long as you have to. Don't try to rush it, but work toward getting it out of your system. Know that I have learned to defend myself against your ways. Realize that I am no longer afraid of you. Fear me even. But fear yourself even more. And reiterate that to yourself so you never forget.

Think of all the people you treat with such personal contempt. Consider the social consequences you bring into the world. Ask yourself why you feel it is so necessary to use such tactics. Think of your parents. Remember your mother, Humbleness, and your father, Timidity. Reflect on how you came to adopt the worst traits from each of them. Allow their most beautiful qualities to influence you instead. Take your time.

Choose a new path for yourself. Pave your own road. Eradicate the parts of yourself that make you so condescending. Represent yourself with dignity, and utilize the more pleasurable neurotransmitters in the brains you occupy. Educate yourself on the differences between a brain and a mind, and learn about mind over matter. Stop trying to be the mean street kid that you wish you could be. Don't bask in the misconception of your own over-glorified bad-ass reputation. Soften yourself. Mature. Age gracefully.

Exorcise your own demons so that you might stop being a demon to others. Or persist as you have been all along, but be aware that it is a dead end. Make that choice right here and right now. Continue to be a neurological parasite, and be driven to extinction by human evolution. Don't delude yourself into thinking that you can go viral forever. Take into account the history of more than a quarter of a million years of human social change.

Prove to yourself that you have nothing to prove to all the more gentle and friendly human feelings and emotions. Allow yourself to join them. Stop fighting against them. Don't be such a problem child. Be likable, like you always knew you could. Play on people's sensitivities in all the beautiful ways that sensitivities can be felt. Know that you can do that. Know that I know that you can do that as well.

Listen to me. Take my warnings seriously. Snap out of it already, or ostracize yourself. Make that decision in your own way. But at least try to realize your own weaknesses and lack of power over people. Dare me to expel you from my consciousness. See what happens. Just wait and see.