Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I want to be just like you

That's what I used to say to everyone as a kid.

I wanted to be someone else. I wanted to find someone else who could be the superhero of the day. Nothing wrong with that. It's all healthy. It's all part of childhood and growing up...At least, that's what I told myself.

I know why I hated myself so much then. I remembered all those time I've kept to myself and the reason why I thought the world would be a better place without me. When someone insulted me, I used to back away and just avoid that person. When more than a few people did the same, I started to believe in their words. I did take things very seriously and slowly, after being pushed aside so many times, I let myself drift away. I didn't have a solace in anyone else but myself.

Finding myself alone as I was, I kept my brain busy by reading comics and watching movies. I remembered how much I used to play in the attic with my little plastic soldiers, re-enacting those battle scenes I've read or seen. It was my "me" time that nobody could take away from me. Going to school, coming back home and finishing my homework, I only thought of the books and those soldiers bringing my to my world. A world no one could take away from me. I should have turned into a mental case or at the very least, a little monster like that kid who tortured his toys in TOY STORY.

Hell, I should have been someone wrong.

Instead, I turned to more comic books and more games. I started to draw and paint. I started to go beyond books and spent as much time in the library than I did in my attic. After all, I needed more material to feed my imagination and those little games I would play with my soldiers. The only time anyone would stop me was when I was too beat up and hurt to do anything else but to go in bed. And even then, even in those moments I turned to images of movies and to those courageous guys that could be my imaginary family.

My imagination sparkled even more in tears and sorrow than in happiness.

And one day, we moved away to Canada. I couldn't care less for those fake tears and those goodbyes from people surrounding me. Good riddance, I said, I want something else than where I was. I couldn't see anything in that pathetic little place I've been in, but they did take away my attic and I left all those thousands of little soldiers to keep the place. I cried for them much more than anything else. They were the only loyal "friends" I had. I hated myself for leaving them behind...

O Canada! Land of snow and crap slush...It was a sight to behold. My first day in school, I was greeted like I've never been. The idea would die, I thought to myself, and once more, alone, I would return to my games. Well, it all went downhill in that aspect. Girls gave me more attention than I ever got in the past sixteen years in France. Guys thought I was that cool new Chinese guy with a Parisian accent. All those smiles and cheers, those taps on the shoulders and invitations to come out and play. Heck, I was wondering what was wrong with all of them...And I turned again to myself. I didn't know anything else then but my "me" time and I continued the same things I did back in France. Give them a couple of weeks, the exhuberation would die and I would be left to my own self. Sure, it didn't need to change that drastically. It did.

I started to write little poetry for myself. Dunno why or what pushed me to do so but I did. I remembered the French class where for the very first time, we were given the task to write an essay in class so the teacher would select the best one and read it outloud. Topic was simple enough, it was about animals. That's it. The rest was really up to us...I didn't write about the cute puppy or those sweet little kittens or those singing canaries. No. I wrote about the ghost of a wolf that came back to haunt the family of a driver who killed him that same night. Graphic as I could be, I thought the teacher would give me a failing mark and read someone else.

I couldn't even look up when he read my story. I couldn't even look when my fellow students remained quiet during his read nor did I look up when he told my name to the class. Cheers and applauds made me want to run away. It should have and yet, I didn't, I was proud of myself for the very first time. I shouldn't remember this moment when he told me I should never stop writing. Whatever it is, I should continue to write. I wish I knew where that teacher was now.
I wish I still had all those stories I wrote on paper.

It's been twenty years and I remember still as I am writing pages over pages. I looked up and smiled when I won those little high school or college prizes. I figured I just wrote what I wanted to and as long as I was given a certain freedom, my games would come back to me. Slowly but surely enough, they came back to fill my mind. Of course, my bitterness faded away with time and as I wrote short stories and more poetry, I thought to myself that I should share them with some of my friends. It was never enough, I wanted to feel that pride again. I wanted to see or know those readers would smile and shiver at my words and my images. Friends were but a base before I discovered the internet.

So here I was, posting left and right into forums and game threads to place bits and pieces of stories. Many were interested to read more, others were absolutely revolted by my images. I wanted to convert them all...I read every critic and gulped them down. I read more, wrote even more so that my execution would flow better. I wanted my images to be crystal clear to all of them. Eventually, I reached out enough for all those who thought nothing of me to have, at the very least, some grudging respect for what I could do.

Yet, I felt like this story teller without a real audience...When the members of a forum started to be a bit too familiar with me, I moved to another one and then another one. I craved that feeling of being read and being reassured of what I could do...Until someone told me I was wasting my time. Sure, everyone else told me my stories were very visual. My friends told me I should turned my writing into something else and why not movies? Since I loved them so much. What did I have to lose just to try? So I did and I do so every day now. A page or a scene a day at the minimum. I should push on and reach for that feeling I thought I would never lose.

So I turn now to my past and those images that were engraved into my soul. I look upon them and close my eyes before I write. I push myself so I can learn to turn the little of my abilities as a story teller to be better, to be bigger. The ultimate story telling has always been the same thing that flashed in front of my eyes when I watched whatever movies would allow me to see. It's grandiose. It is and I must be there too. It's self preservation in a way and I stand alone within a crowd that does the same thing I do. Different upbringing and yet, we're all looking toward the same direction. I just love it. I can do my own things and tell my stories without any real restrictions for now.

A bit of self pity? Surely I got that much but I've never asked anyone else to share my tears and my sorrow. I didn't even care to stand straight and act tough because I never cared that much about what they thought of me. Hate me, love me, despise me or avoid me...The only thing I need is people to shiver and smile at the images I poured into words. It's a dark world where my head is at but then again, the little monster I should have been had turned out to be nothing else but an angel in disguise. It's thinking and I can write. It's my life, after all, and I got to make something out of it. Nothing else but moving pictures if someone would dare just take the time to read and feel.

Maybe I would need to play with those soldiers still...