Everyone has coping mechanisms whether they are healthy or unhealthy. My coping mechanism is my writing. I can take horrible experiences/people I’ve encountered and fictionalize them. This can be a great way to get out all the bottled up emotions that I tend not to talk about. This can lead to something else though: blurring the line between fiction and reality.
Since I’ve been writing the short stories for “Loose” I’ve done just that: blurred my own reality. For these stories I take some of the horrible things that have happened to me and I fictionalize them. This allows me to work out some of my own issues while using a world that I can control. The problem with this is I recently lost sight of who I was in the process.
I was so caught up in these fictionalized accounts that for some reason I thought I was Lucy Quinn. This led me to start questioning my own identity. It has never happened to this extreme before. It really manifested itself the other day when I was at Target.
I bought myself a writing desk and was loading the box into my cart. This middle-aged man came up and asked if I needed any help. I smiled, declined, and then hoisted the box into my cart. He walked away and muttered the word “Dyke” under his breath. This stopped me in my tracks and I suddenly channeled Lucy Quinn and wanted to hit him. Instead though, I walked on.
Fast forward to me waiting in line to check out and the douche got behind me in line. I ignored that urge again and started smiling at the little boy in the line next to me. He smiled back at me and showed me his maze he finished in his coloring book, claiming it was “too easy” for him. As I moved forward in line I heard the man say something behind me. He said “Man I feel sorry for that kid.” It took me a few moments to realize why he said that. I hadn’t realized that this boy was the son of the lesbian couple that was checking out in that next aisle. This time I turned around and stared this man in the eyes. There were no words I wanted to say to him, no education, no reasoning – I wanted to punch him in the throat. Nothing else came to mind except that act. Then Sam kicked back in and realized I wasn’t about to be kicked out of Target or possibly arrested.
This is an extreme example of how those lines between fiction and reality get blurred for me. In this case if I hadn’t have snapped back I could’ve gotten into a world of trouble. These past couple days it’s become a little less innocuous – more just questioning my identity, if the labels that define who Lucy is also define me. The New Moon has set me on my right path though. I realize once again I shouldn’t feel the need to drop myself into labels or categories. I am Samantha Curtin, I am a writer who is in control of her own fictional world but am at the mercy of this very real one. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Sometimes I just need that reminder, that shove back into reality. Losing sense of reality can be a very scary thing at times.
Samantha (Sam) Curtin is a Geospatial Information Science Graduate Student at University of Maryland and a Penn State Anthropology Alum. She has a passion for horror, dark fantasy, anthropology, technology, and religion. By day, Sam is a technical editor for the federal government. Her first books "Dark Cell," "Deal with the Devil," and "Summer's Hollow" are available on Amazon.com. All are published through her publishing company “Behind the Curtin Publications.”