Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Inside the Mind
I went to a friend's birthday party the other night. And she was with a guy that I have been in love with since I was 15. The friend knew full well I've had feelings for this guy for all these years, yet she loves to rub him in my face, anyway.
I understand why she does it. I've always understood her.
People don't understand why I let her get away with those things. And I won't for long. I'll get sick of it again and cut her off, just as I have in the past. But the reason I put up with her, the reason I let her get away with it is that I understand.
She really does like me. But she also hates me.
As long as other people aren't in the picture, she and I get along fine. But as soon as another person enters the scene, suddenly we're competing to be the best and the center of attention. Only I don't fight. I just smile and be myself, and oh well if that doesn't make the other person see me more than her.
But it does hurt me. Both because she's supposed to be my friend, and because it damages my self-image. I feel for hours and sometimes days afterwards that I'm simply not good enough.
I also see the guy she's now dating for who he really is. He's a very complicated guy, and I have always had the ability to see right through him. Ever since we were kids, I've seen him for what he is. He can charm and fool all the rest of the world, but I always got him. He isn't a smarmy idiot. He isn't a charming, cool person. He isn't nice or friendly.
He's a jerk. He sees the world around him as a giant game of chess, and he's always 6 moves ahead of everyone else. He plays with people's minds and uses words to effect them in ways I've rarely seen anyone able to do. And he's got a strong cruel streak. He likes to hurt people, and he's always been a user. He'll use them up and then move onto the next victim in line.
And I've always refused to be a victim, no matter how I might love him.
He's always been fascinated with me, but also hated me. Because I really see him, while most people don't. They get controlled glimpses, but they don't understand that he only lets them peak in on the parts he knows he can play them into believing won't effect them. I get how he works and that scares him. But it also draws him, because he's never played chess with someone who knows the moves like he does.
Thinking about these two, and how I really see through them into who they really are beneath it all, got me to thinking about character. Characters are a huge part of writing fiction. There is no story if there is no one there to tell it.
Building characters has given me strange insight into how people tick. Because the key to character building (at least in my experience) is backstory. Who are they when the chips are down and the world is going to hell around them? What has happened in their life to shape and mold them into the person they are now? And how will that effect the story I'm telling now?
The same is true in life. If you can look at people, really look without letting emotion blind you, you can see how they tick. You can connect their actions into a much larger framework and see what they have done in the past and what they will do in the future.
It's a very useful skill. It's also a fun game, if you get the hang of it.
Unlike the boy I love, however, I can't just play with people and act like it has no consequences. Seeing how it all fits together has given me deep insight into how my actions effect others, too. What I do to this person will affect their future choices, and I don't want to make them more broken than they already are.
I want to make them better.