The Turtle Shell

My usual response to stress is to withdraw, and others have noted this about me. I shield myself very effectively. Too effectively actually. I call it the “turtle shell.” Nothing can get through it, not even Saraswati. I block myself off from all intimacy and interaction. It’s not healthy, and it leaves me feeling suffocated.

It’s 2016, and I turned 29 a little less than 2 weeks ago. This has me feeling anxious, as I’m living in my parents house at the moment, still don’t have a job or a source of income, and I’ve withdrawn from grad school. Though I’m in the process of applying to another program (one that will suit me much better), I must confess I feel so much despair about the whole thing.

Right now, I’m shut up in my turtle shell, and the only way out is… I don’t know. Stick my head out, perhaps?

Case Study of an Egregore Pt.II

For reference, here is part one of this case study.

When I was about fifteen or so, I saw a brief blurb in Time magazine about Asian ball jointed dolls. I filed the information away in my brain under “things to remember for later.”

Then when I was twenty-three, I met her:

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Photo: Ringdoll Rebecca Promo

She came home with me that very day. I didn’t know who she was, but she was so familiar, and this was all the more baffling because at this time I didn’t know what I believed in, but it sure as hells wasn’t in living dolls or egregores.

Eventually, she told me who she was: Joren. From then on, the characters in my stories took physical form, for good or ill. I’d say it’s been a good thing, really. It’s made their voices that much clearer to me.

As for Joren, she chose a new shell the next year, one that suited her much better.

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(Photo: Fairyland Littlefee Soo Dark Elf Promo)

When I saw that face, I was well and truly lost…

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Case Study of an Egregore Pt.I

I hesitated to post this, since it’s much more woo than normal.

Have you ever had an idea come to life? I mean, really…not figuratively, literally. If you’re a writer of fiction, you’re probably (dare I say “certainly”?) aware of this phenomenon. The people on the page start talking to you, and doing things you don’t want them to do, and for some reason you can’t tell them no.

I make stories. It’s what I do. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. I’ve been trying to write them for probably twenty years or so, maybe a little more. That’s honestly the vast bulk of my life, since I’m not yet thirty years old (will be sooner than I’d like, though). I began to have success with these stories when I was about twelve (I think). That’s when I created the character Aurora, or Rory.

Rory was an OC, even though I was writing fanfiction fairly closely based on a popular anime. She was supposed to be like me: unpopular but loyal to her (very) few friends, irritable but always quick with a joke. But…that’s not what happened when I started actually writing her. She trotted onto the page shy and anxious, without a mean bone in her body, and dead serious.

As I grew older, I lost interest in anime, but not in writing, or in Rory…excuse me. Aurora. I continued writing with her through my teenage years, creating my own world for her, and a fantasy boyfriend for both of us to obsess over. She was pretty docile , and did whatever I told her to do. As a consequence, the stories absolutely sucked.

I must have been eighteen or nineteen when I finally got serious about writing her. I renamed her Joren, and started a novel I called Queen of Hearts. It was a pretty cliched epic fantasy, so it was going to start with some episodes from Joren’s childhood.

That’s when she broke away from me. Joren became truly real in a way that Rory and Aurora just weren’t. The intended “episode” became fifteen chapters. They went around in circles. They made no sense. The plot went nowhere. But…they were fucking awesome. Everyone I showed them to loved them. They were dark. They were brooding. They scared the shit out of people.

I still write with Joren, just to work with her. She helps me feel things I don’t normally let myself feel, and she also helps me resolve those feelings that I keep locked inside. She’s worth it. I’m worth it.