December 1, 2015

A Reverse Correlation

I’ve been thinking about doing a No Mercy run.

When I was younger, I would write a lot of self-insert Mary Sue kinda stories. I don’t think that’s particularly weird? I’m sure all writers start there. All characters are your weird little children born of bits and pieces of you. But I can remember, in late grade school and junior high just filling notebooks with these probably awful stories about me. I would go on scout trips and everyone else would be doing manly man stuff and I’d be sitting there writing about kissing in this notebook I wouldn’t let anyone see.

The thing about these stories, though, was that I was always the villain. Or if I wasn’t the villain, there was someone who was “me” with a different name, and the person with my name was the villain. I would cast my friends as heroes, fighting against all odds, and myself being those odds. I’d create little versions of myself that might be a hero, but pit them against me. I was normally a very reluctant villain at least? I’d apologize for what I was going to do before I’d try to kill people, or kill people. But I was always bad. I was the problem.

I guess it’s not really that surprising, given where I was as myself. I was deep in depression (it got worse, but it was there) and couldn’t help but think of myself, my real self, as anything but a problem. The idea of me existing was one that my parents and even my best friend at the time pushed back extremely hard against. I was a problem, a roadblock, to their happiness. I was a villain, or so my depression told me.

I remember in high school having this revelation where, if I was always going to be awful, a problem, a villain, I could at least raise people up while I crashed down. If I was doomed, and at that point I thought about killing myself basically constantly so it seemed likely, I could at least help others not be doomed, and be better. I could be a catalyst for raising people up. So I started to approach personal interactions this way. I put others before myself not in a “how nice, how helpful” way but in a self destructive way, most of the time. I made myself miserable doing it. I made a lot of mistakes. But just like in those stories I wrote, where I was the evil in the world, I could make others shine. There’s no light without dark, right? I did evil in those stories to make those important to me look better, looking back on them. And I did the same thing here.

Ironicus, on a podcast, talked about the No Mercy run of UNDERTALE as interesting because it lets you see the same characters in a different situation. It lets you be the villain, and see how everyone else would stand up to be heroes. I’m not doing too well mentally recently, and I find myself once again brushing up against these “anyone else but me” self-destructive tendencies, as I often fall back on when I’m not doing well. And I put on the UNDERTALE soundtrack, and I hear all the songs I didn’t hear because they’re not for Mercy. And I think about the tidbits I’ve picked up about all the fights, and all the things that happen in a No Mercy run. And I find myself thinking, what IF they were the heroes? What if all these wonderful characters I really, truly love didn’t need me, because who am I? Why do I get to help SAVE the world? What makes me so special? Wouldn’t it be better if I helped prop them up, and saw them shine?

It’s an appealing thought.

The problem is, of course, if I played No Mercy, I’d have to win, on character after character. I’d have to kill. I don’t want to do that, and I don’t want to put Frisk through that. I don’t want to put anyone through that. But it’s necessary, to be the villain. To see a True Hero. Isn’t it?

It’s a silly thought, and I know I won’t do it. But I keep thinking about it.

I worked really hard to see myself as the hero in my own story. I still work on it, every day, this idea that I am worth having a story. I am worth being something. That I’m interesting, and capable. It’s really important to do, and I wonder how much other people struggle with that feeling. Or if they do at all. I’m going to keep working on it, and be the hero, don’t worry. I mean, it’s a real fucking weird story I’m the hero of, but I’m going to keep on it. I can be the hero, AND help my friends. I can have a good life.

But I don’t know if I’m ever going to shake that feeling of being the villain.

I don’t know.

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