I’m sure every other story about an inspirational figure starts out with some extravagant description of the likely less-than-breathtaking setting. The weather was wonderfully mild and the sun was shining upon a sea of emerald green grass. Or perhaps, if the person wanted to express a major change in their life, it was gloomy and rainy and it seemed as if all hope was lost. Then, out of the brightly shining sun or silver lining in the dark clouds came – voila! – a hero.
Let’s be honest, though. We’re either rabid young writers with hopelessly vivid imaginations or we’re desperately trying to make mountains out of molehills in order to make an impact, because I can safely assure you that our inspirational figures did not, in fact, walk down from the sky. Glowing, nonetheless, like an angel. Have you ever met an actual angel? Neither have I.
Normally, I would do the same thing as them: take a molehill and labor at it relentlessly until I’ve created the Himalayas – Dominique-style. I’ve realized, however, that as much as we try to disguise our pathetic, little molehills, as much as we try and convince ourselves and others that it is a mountain, a molehill is still a molehill.
We achieve nothing if we lie about what we’ve accomplished or what we’ve learned, because in the end, if we have to lie about it, what have we actually learned?
So, I’m going to start out with the truth.
I can’t tell you that I remember exactly when this inspiration figure came to me, but I do remember that it was sometime in 7th grade. Not long before, I had started watching an animated show called Naruto. It didn't take long before I was thoroughly obsessed with everything involving Naruto, to the point where I was even dreaming about it.
Whether it was a cloudless sky or not that night, I don't remember. Weather was a trivial matter at the time. I only recall lying in my bed, thinking about the latest Naruto episode, when suddenly, she came to me. No, not out of sky or out of my computer or, god forbid, through my wall. She came to me in my head, a fictional character that my imagination concocted out of every trait, feature, and quirk that I wished I had myself. I sat there, probably for hours, maybe only minutes, molding this idea into a real character. I gave her a body. I gave her a story. I gave her a name. “Kaori."
Thus, Kaori was born.
At first, her only purpose was to play a major part within my personal Naruto story, one that I created myself. I played the entire story in my head from beginning to end several times, stopping to consider her reactions and emotions to every situation. I created other supporting characters, too. I made her fit within a previously-existing world, shaping that world to fit my own personal tastes until I had finally created my own world.
But eventually, she became more than that. She became the me that I wanted to be.
That was my first.
Since then, I’ve created many characters. I’ve rarely finished writing any stories, but in my head, each and ever tale has a set beginning, middle and end, complete with well-rounded, real characters. Well, real to me, anyway.
But the one thing I’ve discovered is this:
All of my main characters are the same.
It’s true. I even envision their appearances as eerily similar. Something along the lines of how I actually look, but with hair that actually listens and eyes that glisten with confidence. Personality-wise? Definitely a more charismatic version of myself.
And then I realize who these characters are. They’re me. They’re the me that I want to be, the me that I know I can be; heck, the me that I know I am on the inside. What I’ve done subconsciously is create world upon world for a version of me to explore and interact with. I’ve given myself adventures and quests beyond my wildest dreams, and I’ve succeeded in my ventures – and failed in others. I’ve lived lives that I could only dream of ever having.
Subconsciously, I’ve done all of this. Looking back on all of these stories, I know it’s true because the main character in each of them is essentially the same person. It started with Kaori. Now, others have joined her: Rai, Torin, Aurea, Adrienne, Skye, Truly, Mavis. Each in a different world. Each with a similar overarching quest: To discover who they are.
My quest in life is the same thing. To discover who I really am. I thought I was creating characters that I wanted to be, but I was wrong. I merely recreated myself in different situations.
So I’m no different than any of them.
I just live in a world where it’s more difficult to measure success, because success can come in small victories rather than the grand battles and extravagant, impossible adventures I’ve concocted for my different selves. Success can come in smaller packages; making a friend happy or being part of a sports team, for example.
Even so, I want adventure. I crave it. That’s why I write, after all. I’m creating the impossible, and more importantly, defeating the impossible. Living the impossible dream. Doing the impossible, which may not actually be so impossible after all. Sometimes I fail; sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I cry and whine and lie and cheat; sometimes I’m wise and thoughtful and brave. In each of these stories, I’m the heroine. Maybe to the other characters in the story, that’s not so, but to me, I’m important. And even more importantly, my friends are special to me.
It’s ironic that I’m so thirsty for love in real life, but I can’t write about it at all. It’s weird, because the romance in my stories isn’t what you normally see. It’s more…real. It’s about the relationship, not love. It’s about talking and taking care of each other and showing, not telling. “I love you” means nothing in my stories, except on occasion. My romantic relationships are more like friendships, and my friendships and familial relationships are the most important part of the story.
Maybe that’s my subconscious trying to tell me something. Maybe, deep down, I really do know what’s important in life. Maybe I’m just bad at showing it.
It’s hard to say, though. My stories have always been a reflection of me and my desires, my thirst for adventure and to be someone I’m not, but I can’t say that I’m fully aware of everything I write about. Sometimes, it just comes to me. Subconsciously, I’m probably the person I’ve always wanted to be. In real life, I’m just…me. Or so it seems.
But then again, I realized that I’m more confident and determined than I thought. I never give up. When I like someone, I’m always pretty confident and – I hate to say it – somewhat manipulative. I rarely worry about the future because somehow I know it’ll all work out. Maybe that’s because I won’t settle for anything less than what I want: the chance to do the things I love.
Then I look at the characters I’ve created, and I realize that they’re exactly like that. They’re confident and determined, but they don’t realize it. They have worries too, but they’re always so trivial in the grand scheme of things, until an adventure helps them become better, stronger people.
So who is my inspirational figure? Not someone who came down from the sky, glowing like an angel. Not someone who does awe-inspiring things, although those people are inspirational. No, nothing like that.
My inspirational figure is myself.
I created these characters to be inspirations to anyone who reads their stories. Now that I recognize the fact that these characters are, in fact me, I realize that I’m putting myself out there as an inspirational figure. I want to be an inspiration. And I want to inspire myself.
So remember this:
You are the inspiration of your own life.
You may not realize it, but who else can truly spur you into action? It’s you and you alone who makes the decision in the end. You’re the catalyst. You’re the driver. You’re the fuel.
You’re everything to yourself, and you should never forget that.
Who's the main character in your stories? Let me know!