Her spirit was the wrong shape: she never quite managed to squeeze it into the puzzle of her world, where she never belonged–never fit.
She looked fine, sure, even pretty in all that diffuse light at royal dances, under fiery chandeliers, her uncombed hair heaped into piles of pearls, her tilted smile enigmatically averted, her silken gown a soft sibilance around her.
But her nonconforming ways?
Something inside her had formed her spirit into a puzzle piece that didn’t snap neatly in place with others. She couldn’t quite manage a conversation without people casting her side-wise glances. Some even articulated sideways rebukes: why couldn’t she be like the rest?
She began to duck away and tuck herself into nooks with books where she stole moments of serenity. She dreamed awake at night instead of slumbering, because after midnight and beyond, no one harped on her to be like this or behave like that. She wrote and drew and painted and fantasized and fell asleep during the day during lessons.
She fell in love with a man who’d come from afar, whose parents owned a fleet of ships and mansions across the oceans. He’d grown up traveling the world, had an accent that added allure to his speech, and he smiled especially at her.
Her life suddenly bobbed right-side up. She fit with him and believed she could endure this place because she fit with one person if not the rest.
But he fit with her because he was strange, too, his spirit touched with cruelty from a childhood agony, and it drew him to the sea, and he left her behind even though he claimed it was she who had broken his heart, not he hers.
As is the way of these things, the truth is always lost in the war of disentangling hearts, where spiny thorns of bitterness slash and teardrops burn through roots like acid until nothing but char remains.
Who can read the truth in char?
She was still young and hoped… maybe, somewhere in her warped soul, for more.
She ran away to a city of spires, lost in a place where no one cared. She learned the language and found a place to live, paying rent to a conman who hid his own secrets.
Here, everyone did as they liked, their uniqueness fused into the atmosphere. Some had blue hair. Others played music and shut their eyes and danced uncaring across the streets. Some carriage drivers wore shining horns on festive days, when demons roved the alleys and children could inveigle candy from angels if they clasped their hands and sang a song.
There, for a time, the writer thrived.
She danced at balls under raindrops of crystal, found love on cobblestone lanes–this time with another man who did not fit with those around him, but fit with her and emblazoned passion and understanding on her heart–and they married in a fairy-tale castle.
But he, too, broke her heart in that foreign country and abandoned her in a court of tears.
She secluded herself afterward in a tower and wrote to hide from the virulent reality of her waking world. Unable to bear staring at her shards of heart, she swept them up into a forgotten corner and let the dust blanket them with time.
In the dark of night, alone in her city of spires, she wrote love stories and twisted tales, epics of fire-sellers and guild dancers and caged cities with winged humans.
She wrote at night because during the day, she paid dues to the world, like everyone else. She slogged through empty tasks to afford gold for her garret and purchase tidbits for her cat. To save up coin, she let her leggings get holes and mended the tears in her socks so her toes wouldn’t poke through.
People began to note something dark in her stories. Even though she thought her tales were normal, perhaps her puzzle piece of a spirit had gone too skewed. Her tormented mind had leaked into her ink.
Then came rumors from beyond the walls. Of the world falling apart. Of kings amassing too much fortune. How people who worked for them were plodding along while those who didn’t work for them were utterly impoverished.
She started looking around and finding more people struggling like her, pushing themselves in punishing work during the day while seeking their true dreams at night: those with no time to find love and little hope of being freed from their chains.
They were puzzle pieces ostracized, too: for having different-colored skin, for coming from a different place, for nurturing different beliefs. They were all squabbling for flecks of gold that they found in the mud while hurling handfuls of peat at others who were different from them.
While the kings who had amassed so much were putting half of the world in their pocket, most people were turning every pocket inside out in search of more coin–any coin–anything to live off of.
In some places, their toil dirtied the air; in others, they were struggling to breathe; everyone in the throes of incessant and endless travail.
The flora and fauna around them were floundering and perishing, too, and while the puzzle pieces bickered over nothings in the dirt and were flinging mud at one another, the kings, untouched, amassed more and more.
Between those in grueling drudgery and those in gilded castles yawned an ever-widening chasm.
But everyone had something to lose. The poorest, starving, were fighting for their lives. Those in the middle were fighting to maintain their existence. Those at the top were fighting for control.
Everyone was fighting rather than helping, and it was taking a toll. More people on every stratum wallowed in worry and wobbled on the edge of sanity–slowly losing stability, with no one on stable ground.
And the writer, watching it all, finally had no more f*cks left to give.
Thus came the birth of the dark and crazy writer, the one who decided it was time to let false dreams go crash and burn, the construct of rich palaces to smash and fall, to let mighty gales sweep away fantasies of gold.
It was time for the puzzle pieces to stop feuding in the dirt, to give up the flecks of pyrite they could not eat and to start focusing on matters that nourished them all: healing, friendship, learning, feasts, fossils, tales, music, things that enriched the boundaries of life rather than things that forged imaginary borders and locked people in manacles of gold.
Who would not rather listen, transported, to a thrilling tale or a resplendent melody, or feast on a gooey sweet or savory meat, or discover a cure for debilitating disease, or unearth the contents of a never-before-trodden corner of history, than kneel, enslaved, waiting in vain for the sparse drizzle of fortune?
Look at her:
She’s saying, “You see this castle behind me? Coming apart? The rich things of the world exploding into bits? I don’t give a f*ck.”
It’s time to give up the stone walls that hem us in while we fight everything else. Our greatest enemies are our intolerance of anything different, our endless grasp of material things that can’t fill the emptiness in our lives, and the belief that we can’t ever get out, so we only dig ourselves deeper into a slovenly fugue of apathy.
Think of how much more we could achieve by not giving up, by standing on common ground, offering others a helping hand, and improving our lot rather than shoving our energy into shoving each other. How much we could we build up when we stop tearing others down.
I’m fed up.
That story above? That’s mine. It’s my life. Put in fairy-tale terms, but mine nevertheless. Even the dark seep of my mind into my books. One of my writers’ group members once told me: “You know, Sonya, imagine a factory where fuzzy bunnies go in. Then they don’t come out quite right. Even though they’re still pretty and sort of fuzzy, there’s something off. That’s how I think your mind works.”
My stories get called dark when I think they’re just normal, so f*ck it. I’m embracing it. Not in a creepy way, just kinda that quick pat on the back. That pat-pat, and then you’re both five steps away pretending it never happened.
I am a dark and crazy writer. Because I go freaking crazy a few times a week (and once for three months when I tormented myself and no one stopped it because everyone outside my head thinks I’m sane). I have high-functioning anxiety, and the only time anyone knows anything is wrong is when I tell them because it overflows–and it’s overflowing more and more. Like a lot of you out there, I look functional, and I am functional, mostly.
But it’s getting harder. I think it’s getting harder for all of us. I feel closer and closer to being too crazy every day, to not being able to deal with all the crap being shoveled at me. Which means it’s high time to change. The world needs saving – we need saving from where most of us are stuck in a rut and feel way too alone. We think it’s our fault, but we’ve been cornered here not by our own choice. I think I know a way out, how to help things improve, but I have to sort my thoughts before I can post about that.
And, no, I am not on the edge of going crazy. I am on the edge of stopping the madness. This isn’t a cry for help. It’s a call to rally together. My way of saying things are going too far and we need to turn things around for the better.
In the meantime, I write stuff. I read stuff. And I live in a freaking wondrously crazy city.
So I’ve decided that, from here on out, I’m going to post four types of blog posts in order to keep up hope and joy while working on sorting things out:
- “Let’s freaking save this place.” – posts on how to make the world better and actually start changing it
- “Why am I crazy now?” – mental health posts
- “What is the dark & crazy writer reading now?” – my book reviews
- “What is the dark & crazy writer thinking?” – weird stuff happening, my life, and writing excerpts
I DO NOT guarantee I will keep any order to this blog in this stupidly chaotic world, so you get what you get when you get it, but whatever I post’ll fit under one of those categories above. You can join me or not. Either way, I wish you luck in finding happiness in this life. And I hope you’re holding up well. And if you have any ideas about what you think can help fix the world, drop me a mail. Any opinion contributes to a more comprehensive picture.
Before I go, I do want to say: be kind. To yourself, to others. Everyone’s just trying to make their way out, so help; don’t hurt. Extend friendship, not attack.
Be good, y’all, seriously. That’s a good place to start.
And if you’re still here and want more of my words, here’s my shamelessly copied info for Sonya addicts: join the newsletter I haven’t been writing (but intend to), join the patreon I’ve been seriously neglecting (but want to resume), or check out my books I don’t want anyone to buy (for realz cuz it’s my old writing and I’m like, ‘Nooo, don’t read it…’) before I unpublish even more (like I unpublished my dystopians).