Life Imitates Art

Fictional characters are my role models.

Alright, before you grab your popcorn and settle in, hear me out.

I’m really just a big dork, and when I want to channel some killer confidence or attitude throughout my day, I turn towards my favorite fictional characters.

Do I want to walk into a meeting and own the room? Easy, Wonder Woman crossing the battlefield with a shield. Do I want to sip my drink and throw a comeback at my rival’s face? Cersei from Game of Thrones, where you at? Heck, do I have a goal I need to strive for? Ash Ketchum from Pokemon. That dude’s been trying to catch em all for multiple decades now. You can’t beat that kind of consistency.

I suppose that’s why it’s so important to me to be able to create, somehow. Whether that’s through art. Acting. Writing. Singing a song. Sketching out a badass OC. And that’s why representation is so freaking important too. The more easily you can identify with a character, then the more easily you’ll be able to believe that you can be like them. My mother’s from Jakarta, and growing up, she never felt beautiful because she didn’t see her face or skin represented in the Eurocentric standards of beauty that were thrown at her from a young age. As she grows older, the push for Barbies and Disney princesses, while seemingly trivial to some people, brought tears to her eyes because she could finally feel validated and beautiful too.

If you’re validated in fiction with characters that speak the same language, have grown up in the same kind of home, worship the same, love the same way, look like you or struggle like you or otherwise live like you… that can make worlds of difference.

In conclusion, I just wanted to say that, like a lot of people, fiction has played a huge role in my life. When I’m down, I remember that the members of the Fellowship of the Ring picked up their axe/bow/sword/whatever and fought back against deadly orcs and twisted magic. I can channel the resiliency of the ghoul-humans in Tokyo Ghoul who, despite being put through hell, finally fight back towards the end of the season. I can model the adventures of the Boy Who Lived, the bearer of the One Ring, the Last Jedi.

Fantasy better prepares us to face the demons in our real life. And that’s why stories are so important. Not just to escape, but to make our realities more vivid. Realer than real to quote Ready Player One.

Thank you, and I hope you know that you’re a hero too.

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