I am an astronaut. I have just flicked the last in a well-practiced dance of buttons and levers while the voice counted off in my helmet. I am acutely aware of the scores of technicians doing the same thing in the office below. Some of them have fingers shaking and damp with sweat, while others are firm and cold in concentration. Mine are neither. I am prepared. But then the countdown ends, and I feel the shift in pressure. My body threatens to leave my innards behind as the shuttle begins to shake. I grip the arm rests of my chair, growing slightly concerned about the blood unable to reach my fingertips while my mind goes through the checklist again and again. I know everything must be completed, but what if… My mind grows slightly calmer when I feel the fuel tanks drop away from my module. The clouds have disappeared, and the sky has faded to blackness. The pressure disappears with only a headache and trembling muscles as proof that it was once there. The view out my window shifts as I enter orbit. I can see earth from here.
Perhaps I have another identity.
I am a princess. However, I am not safe in my castle like I am supposed to be. My beautiful dress is soiled and shredded. I lost my crown on the way over here. Having a dragon go to all the trouble of kidnapping me was a little flattering, but the knights in shining armour have still not arrived. Perhaps they got lost. I may have to sing louder. The dragon glares at me in annoyance, but I sweetly remind him how much I paid him to bring me up here. Hopefully it is my favourite knight, the youngest one, who will be the one to stumble upon this tower. The dragon will put on a show of force, and when the knight responds with courage, will turn tail and fly away. The knight will be bolstered and finally ask for my hand, and I may decide to give it to him.
Is that all I am?
I am a pirate. I am definitely wearing one of those leather corsets over a loose-sleeved shirt, with tan breeches tucked into my knee-high boots. I am also definitely swabbing the deck after receiving a tongue lashing and a real lashing from the captain. Little does he know that not all the coins I took were found, and I still have three down my boot. The pain in my back is soothed by the anticipation of the rum that will warm my throat later at the expense of those coins. But then a cry is heard from the crow’s nest. The first mate glowers while I discard my mop. I unsheathe my blade and finger the tip, feeling the rush of battle flow through my veins. There will be struggle, and there will be blood, but there will be gold.
I cannot be confined to only three identities.
I am a rebel. That is what the news media will call me if they find me, but I don’t mind anymore. I pass a drone marked with a pizza symbol as it whirs to its destination: some home where the inhabitants have breathed recycled air for far too long. I keep walking to this place I found last time I was able to get out. It used to be called a park, but anyone who still knows of it only does from old photographs and movies. There must have been a path there before, but now everything is covered in welcoming greenery. I hear another drone, and perhaps it is delivering someone’s package from another online shopping spree—but no. It is headed in my direction. I break into a run, leaping over fallen logs with a burst of energy, but it does not last. I am not used to physical exertion. The drone catches up to me, and in its monotone voice, informs me that it is not safe outside. A prong extends and latches onto my wrist. I know that to fight will only bring pain, so I follow it back to my apartment while planning my next escape. Maybe next time, the odds will be in my favour.
Must I be only human?
I am a ladybug. I have six legs that work in perfect symmetry as I climb this lovely blade of grass. It bends beneath me, and by the time I have reached the top, I am no longer climbing, but strolling down a sweet little avenue made only for me above a sea of green. Then it has an end; no warning signs, but a sudden tapering of of the blade. I make my way over the edge and into another world. It is a little darker and cooler down here, not to mention that I can see the sky beneath my feet. Ah! There is a delicious-looking aphid, calmly eating his lunch of my walkway. Little does he know that I will—mmmm. He is as delicious as he looked. I continue down the blade of grass, and it straightens out again. I reach the ground and head for another lovely adventure.
Alas, stay seated. ’Tis not all.
I am an elf. My kind has been scattered during the wars in an effort to spread our wisdom, but that has resulted in me falling in with a group of not-scrupulously-clean ruffians. I sit as part of the circle around the fire and listen to their talk. They are such children to the ways of the world. How do they not understand that their whole conversation is merely a repeat of what happened a hundred years ago? How do they not know that what they do in their little lifetimes cannot really impact the course that this globe spins on? Then one raises his voice, and I pay closer attention. Who knows? Perhaps this time it could be different. All I know is that whether this generation can change things or not, I will give my all—and my bow—to aid them.
My identity changes with the whims of emotions.
I am an empty shell. The man who was once my lover now lies cold and dead in front of me. I have cried his name until the voice died in my throat and all that came out was grating air. I have sobbed until my stomach ached and my head throbbed. I have wept until my eyes bled dry. Now I have nothing left; nothing but the unsympathetic corpse in front of me. Perhaps we shall meet again one day, but what shall I do until then? There is no joy in life. The wind blows, the rain pelts, but I welcome the discomfort. Let the forces of nature beat on me until there is no feeling to receive them. Indeed, I am feeling numb already. Perhaps I shall join him sooner than I thought.
Could I be someone from the past?
I am a harlot. I kneel before the Lord, tears coming unbidden to my eyes. They fall on His feet, but He does not shake them off in disgust. Instead, He watches as I wipe them off with my hair. His are the only eyes I can meet at the table, for to everyone else I am a sinner. To Him, I am forgiven and loved. In His presence I can live. I do not yet know that He will die to make that forgiveness legal. All I know is that He is willing to do anything for the ones He loves.
Perhaps I am someone I wish to be someday.
I am a mother. My youngest begins to whimper, so I pull her close and arrange the blanket over myself so that she might suckle undisturbed. My third tugs on my free arm to show me a drawing that he just finished, complete with a shaky version of him and me: our arms are connected to our legs, which protrude directly from our heads, but we both have smiles that (literally) stretch off our faces. My other daughter is sitting beside me, sounding out the words of the newest book I introduced to her. My oldest is sitting at the table, working over a math question that I will probably have to help him correct later. My husband will be home in another hour. Once my baby is finished feeding, I will put her into her cradle, then get the children to put their books and pencils away so they can help me with getting supper ready. In just a few short hours, they will all be asleep under my wings once more. Another blessed day come and gone.
Am I someone I have created?
I am an actress. I am fully in character when two chalices of wine are given to me to carry to the king and queen. How am I supposed to know of the poison until they drop dead? Of course I am blamed, but there is one way they can ensure I will never be able to tell the truth of the murders: they can trap me on set in Biatre. Everything I do is edited. My only hope for survival is to be a compelling enough character that they will not be able to kill me off as well.
But you’ve probably figured out who I am in the flesh. All these sketches are just little star-shaped pieces of me, floating in the dark expanse of thought and imagination. The real me is just a dreamer with a passion for lost souls.
I am a writer.