Hi. My name is Kimberly, and I'm addicted to character development.
Over the past several years I have come to realize just how attached to characters I get. This is the case in movies and books. I begin to identify with characters. I relate them to myself and to people I know. Sometimes characters don't even resemble anybody in my life, but I grow to care about characters after a while if I can watch them grow.
I am the perfectionist, detail-oriented, people-pleasing, stressed out Rory Gilmore.
I'm the cynical yet loving Tibby from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
I'm the fierce, determined, but slightly awkward at times Ginny Weasley (not in the movies, though, just the books).
I have intense admiration for Callie from Grey's Anatomy, with her fearless badass attitude and strong personality.
An old close friend of mine greatly resembles Tully from Firefly Lane (the book I'm currently reading) and I find myself desperately wishing to talk to her and help her.
Tears were not uncommon for me while reading Prozac Nation because I just wanted to make everything better for Elizabeth.
Dang it, I even felt a bond with Tod from The Fox and The Hound.
The list goes on and on, but I just can't seem to separate myself from characters in anything. Their pain is my pain; their triumph is mine as well. If I don't make any connection with at least one character in a story, then I consider it to be a poorly developed one.
I've tried to figure out the reason behind this (because I HAVE to analyze everything, you know), and the most logical explanation I've come up with is that it must be because of how much I care about people. This is both a great strength and weakness for me. I know my future career will greatly revolve around helping people; I wouldn't feel complete if that was not the case. However, I have to realize that my intensity when it comes to caring about people may make life more difficult for me. Countless times I have been told that social work would burn me out. Honestly, it probably would. That doesn't mean I shouldn't do it, though. I'm slightly steering my goal to Human Services now...
Anyway, there is a definite downside to my intoxication with character development. Sometimes I start to view real life as if it were a story. It is, really, at least in a way. However, it's a story where I can't write all the parts. I can't throw the book of life across the room if I get frustrated with how it's headed. Well, I could... but that's called a mental breakdown, and I'm not too fond of those. People I'm acquainted with tend to upset me if they don't learn from their mistakes and lessons that are practically being thrown at them. It makes me want to shout, "YOU'D BE HAVING A REALIZATION BY NOW IF YOU WERE IN A NOVEL. OPEN YOUR EYES!" See, that's okay if you yell it to a fictional character on a page or TV screen. Not so much when it's to a living, breathing person who can actually hear you.
When I'm writing a story or a poem or whatever else, then there is always the possibility for me to make my character listen to me. I'm aware of how ridiculous that sounds... Of course I can get through to a person if I'm the one who created them. The thing is, I often don't feel like I've created them. Every character in every story I read, write, or watch has something in common with somebody I've come across. So I care about them. Deeply. When it's something I'm witnessing I want to help. When it's something I'm writing, then I suddenly CAN help. Oh, how I wish I could write things in to real life.
Maybe some people can do that, with just their spoken words. Me, I can't articulate most of my thoughts through speech. I just can't. My intentions can be of the highest quality and my determination to help can be solid, but when I speak I waiver. I end my most concrete thoughts with "I don't know," and my inability to hold eye contact makes my arguments and sentiments seem weaker. When I write, my words become fortified.
Almost all of the stories I've written have only been read by me. In my mind, the characters I've created are as real as flesh. They're just as real as you and I are. My dialogue can actually get through to the characters I create. The thing is, "my characters" are often heavily based upon people I know or have known in the past. Words I wish I had said can become real and have the effect I wish they had the opportunity to have. This is often why I talk aloud to the television, as well. I want to FIX EVERYTHING. I want to get to know everyone so I can be there for them. Hugging the women in the stories I read is not a foreign thought to me. And you know what, that's just powerful creation from the authors.
To every author, poet, songwriter, screenwriter, etcetera out in the world who has made me feel this way, you have done your job. You've done it well. But when I'm done reading a story, listening to a song, or watching a movie/television show, I'm not done with your characters. They become a piece of me. So maybe that's why I have such a huge heart for everyone. When I talk to people, I'm reminded of the characters in the book. And unlike "real" people, the people in books share their thoughts with me. I KNOW what they wish people would say or do. I want to be able to know that with the actual people in my life as well. I want to watch them grow in a positive way and I want to know I've done everything in my power to make them happy. It physically hurts me when I can't do this, both in real life and in my literary-based imagination.
I know that may make me insanely weird, but I refuse to be embarrassed by it. My name is Kimberly, and I'm addicted to character development in every shape and form.