I love fictional characters without restraint, wholeheartedly even. I very rarely love real people half so much.
I'm sitting here crying because I know this is the last season for Amy and Rory Pond as the Doctor's companion. Already I miss them. Already I am sad to say goodbye to them. I fell in love with them you see, and it hits me hard that they...they won't be continuing the story with us.
When Mattiline died - a character in the Hallows book series - I sobbed for hours, inconsolably. I was heartbroken. Chris came home and found me sobbing. He thought someone had died - a real someone that is. I don't think he ever understood how my emotions could rage, how I could be so very attached to someone who wasn't real.
But that's part of it - for me, they are real. If the writer is any good, their characters become real for me. And when they die, my grief is just as real. This is something I've known for years now, and have become very careful about what I read.
Thankfully most romance novels are engaging enough to be entertaining but not enough to touch my heart. Ha.
What I hadn't realized before, was why. Why do I love fictional people so easily? Why do I let myself love them, feel for them so very deeply, when I don't.... I just don't for people people.
Then it hit me.
Fictional characters can't reject me, can't judge me, can't leave me. They will always be there, right where I left them. I can love them without risking being hurt myself. Sure, losing them hurts, but it's not the same as the sting of not being loved back, of being judged and found wanting.
On the other hand, fictional characters let me into their lives. I get to see them at their best, and worst. I get a pass into their daily lives, I get to spend days, months, even years with them. Most people I don't get to know half so well.
I grieve the loss of beloved characters. I cry. I sob. Until I have a headache and my heart feels hallow, empty and bereft.
I have never allowed myself to grieve for loved ones like that. I've been lucky, thus far, no one really close to me has died. I've had a cat, a dog, and an uncle die in my living memory. I never properly grieved for any of them.
I was sad when my uncle died. It was a shock, but also not a shock, we knew he was dying, I just didn't think it would be so soon.
My pets, I was in school and I had big tests both of the days they died. I refused to let myself grieve because I had to focus, I had to pass my exams. But when they were over, I never, I never let my grief out. It was like, once I put my grief in a box in the corner of my mind, so I could get through my exam, I couldn't get the box back. I couldn't....find the passion to grieve.
Does that make me a terrible person?
Perhaps it just makes me a frightened one.
I can't help that I love fictional characters. And I don't want to. I like that stories and the people in them mean something to me.
But I worry that I have so much trouble forming attachments in the real world. I've always been shy and awkward. I've always been uncertain as to my worth in the eyes of others. I'm...quirky. I just don't connect with many people. There are people occasionally that I want to connect with, but for whatever reason I don't manage to make a lasting connection. I am only ever on the peripheral of their lives.
I'm not really sure what to do with this epiphany. I'm trying very hard to not judge myself, to not label myself a coward.