I'm a writer-in-the-making, but not without first consuming the lifeblood of my imagination--myths. These multi-generational, multicultural tapestries feed my dreams, waking and sleeping. I began with ancient deities before moving to modern mythical beings of the cape and tight ilk, wherein I found my calling to meaning making through myth.
I started with the Greco-Roman pantheon, where I lamented with Eros over foolish Psyche; flew to the highest heavens with Bellerophon and Pegasus; tragically fell with Icarus; and dreamed of becoming star stuff like so many fallen heroes. I traveled southeast, where I dwelt among dusty tombs of ancient rulers. I languished in sun and shade with the retired warrior turned protector, Bastet. I soared over seas of sand on the back of Horus. I fell in love with the Library of Alexandria and mourned its murder with Thoth. I weighed my heart on Anubis' scales against the Feather of Truth and found myself worthy. Eventually, my ka departed to a New World, where I learned of tricksters like Anansi and Coyote.
When I outgrew my childhood friends, I began questing for my significance in this life with Arthur and Merlin. I did not desire to slay dragons, but to befriend and understand these beasts. Little did I know, I was learning to tame my own inner demons at the time. In dreaming of riding dragons, the writer in me first awoke. I saw these beings as misunderstood, twisted monsters who needed someone to speak for them, helping them and the world understand why their fire-breathing was a byproduct of pent up rage and agony. I wished I had the magic of Merlin to save the day for myself and my friends. But alas, this was not so.
So I started writing. I realized that words were a power of mine and I could do incredible things when I put pen to paper. Nothing could stop me-save myself-from exercising this grand ability. And then my brother introduced me to superheroes. I had viewed some cartoon adaptations before, but nothing compared to the actual graphic novels in my hands. We consumed these stories by the omnibus. Weekly issues were certainly not enough for our voracious appetites. These stories kept me close with my brother during a time when I had no one else. I began developing depressive tendencies from fifth to sixth grade, and my brother had no clue as to the heroic way he was there for me.
I kept writing throughout all of these stories, pouring my feelings onto paper. Although my family was present, I never felt like I could really tell them what was on my mind. The "best" part of depression is not wanting to burden others with your pain, as you might feel shame for not being "normal" and happy like everyone else seems to be. High school involved lots of teen literature with strong female heroes, angst, and romance, which did not do much for my idea of the need to "fit in" with the self-perceived normies at my school.
It was not until college that I realized why myths and superheroes spoke to me in the way they did. It was not about escaping into other worlds. It was not even the magical abilities or powers. It was not mere childhood nostalgia. I finally recognized that these were the stories of people explaining their world, naming their tragedies, overcoming the boogeymen of the unknown, persisting through their trauma. I realized that these narratives, whether explaining why the universe existed or how to deal with tragic origin, were because some storyteller sat down and dared to define the world. In no uncertain terms, these people pulled from the deepest, darkest unknown to produce the richest ink and record stories that have lasted lifetimes. These storytellers dipped into the inkwells of their souls, defining the inexplicable and establishing an ultimate power-they are the writers of their own fate; they control the words on the pages of their lives. Just like me.