Story therapy

I am quite overdue on an update.

It’s been such a busy time of transformation.

I used to wonder what it was that had people be “fans” of things. I didn’t have it in me. I couldn’t get excited about celebrities or shows; the closest I came was a deep desire to completely live in the worlds of books I read. As a little girl, I asked Ray Bradbury to autograph “Halloween tree” for me (my favorite book at the time) and he was grumbly and grouchy, and it scared me to death. I was cured of fandom in that moment, I thought.

I loved costume and theatre, and I wished to create rather than be-a-fan-of-things.

Then I had some fans of my own through Star Trek, and I saw that, while they all had different things that drew them and different things they needed, the ones who wrote to me shared a common longing. They didn’t seem to feel whole, and fandom gave them fulfillment. I was honored by their love of my work and also with their trust; they wrote to me sharing the most vulnerable deep and scary truths, and asking for my support. I am glad they landed on me, rather than someone who may not have had time to honor their trust.

Through them, I learned a little more about this “fan gene” that I thought I lacked.

I don’t lack it. I’ve discovered the “fan gene” in myself; all I needed was a little more hardship, and a little less emotional resource to create my own characters and work.

With someone I loved, I discovered characters and stories that kept me going. They inspired me. Loki embodied courage to me; the courage to be himself, even though what he was, his fundamental nature, was disapproved of, even reviled. (I still think Loki would have been a great king. He had the necessary political mind, and he had peace as a goal.)

From there, it was Star Wars. I’ve loved Star Wars since I was a little girl, playing with my action figures and ships in an empty lot near my house, but I didn’t have the “fan” feeling.

I didn’t leap fully off the diving board into the deep end of fandom until something happened that razed the foundations of my world entirely.

Masks can embody things we find it hard to access.

The future I had envisioned was gone, and I had absolutely nothing to stand on, except some friends I delight in, who don’t judge me, family who love me, and a good therapist.

That’s when I went utterly mad, in a way.

Everything my therapist told me I had inside me, every character strength I was working to focus on, every shattered place I was striving to shore up and rebuild,

I found it all in a character someone else wrote: Ahsoka. All of a sudden, I understood “cosplay,” something that had previously puzzled me.

Money that was to have been spent on a wedding was spent building this character with careful accuracy, with the goal of eventually volunteering for events and children’s hospitals. I wanted to do something good while giving my heart a little bit of a shield.

When I put on this armor, I feel happy. I feel I’m putting on her strength, and slowly, each time I paint my face and improve at the makeup, I feel her courage becoming my courage. I don’t need it in the same way I did when I started, but I still feel this way. Capable, joyful, strong.

Creating this character has given me the motivation to exercise every day, and stay extremely consistent with following my gym’s October challenge.

My waist feels like a column of steel now. My body is getting stronger every day.

When we are broken enough, it’s okay to use whatever tools we need to shore ourselves up until we are stronger.

Ahsoka has been my teacher.

Pretty soon, Genevieve Lefoux will be another.

It’s not taking on another identity – it’s finding an outward embodiment of a character that has qualities I need to learn to be proud of, not afraid of.

I had become so afraid to be too big, too strong, too much myself.

I’m seeing now what creates the need for stories. They give us a reminder that we can be better. They give us a handhold on the cliff. They give us a reminder that we can still find joy in the most unlikely of places, and that we can love ourselves.

Underneath it all, if we can love and accept a character who has some of our own qualities and flaws, we can learn to love ourselves. We can learn to see ourselves with a bit more compassion.

And of course, the stories give us play and connection,

and when they have noble qualities we wish to develop, they give us a reminder that we can.

I’m getting stronger now, and while I don’t need Ahsoka in the same way I desperately needed her while I was gathering her costume together, I still feel great strength and joy in getting better at portraying her. I love the idea of crafting all her incarnations as she gets older, so I can someday be the mad old lady who dresses up as elder Ahsoka Tano.

I also have a coat coming that inspired the character of Genevieve Lefoux. It will be a talisman of sorts; now that I feel I’m moving on and moving forward from heartbreak, I can wear the coat of a character who loved, and loved fiercely, was betrayed, and was not broken.

She never lost anything, in my eyes – she is altogether admirable, and the one who betrayed her was a shallow fool who utterly lacked the ability to see what they were throwing away.

She got back to her work, and her work was sheer genius.

It’s time for me to get back into my work intensely. Time’s a-wasting. Wearing a coat and accessories from one of my favorite authors on the planet will help me, now that I’ve learned the power of a piece of armor.

Don’t underestimate talismans, heroes, stories, shields.

What inspires you? What do you wish to embody? Giving yourself a daily reminder of that, whether it’s something to wear or a quote on the wall, can help ignite and re-ignite inspiration daily.

Onward –

(Once again, I’m not editing this. 😬 here is my story, flaws and all!)

6 thoughts on “Story therapy

  1. I have a collection of teeny bits of things people who believe in me more than I believe in myself have given me. A casino coin, a rock, a costume necklace, Etc. They remind me that I am more than I see.

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