My relationship with the fictional







Dear Reader,

Ever had to have a sit-down talk about your borderline unhealthy relationship with fictional characters/places? No? I have.

Being a big reader my whole life has been an absolute joy. I feel like reading as well as more recently watching films and TV shows has allowed me to experience so many different worlds and people, and has made my imagination (to put it mildly) run wild. It's something I identify myself by and something I not only love but almost use as a life source - something I'm sure a few of you can relate to.

I do sometimes realise, and especially with the benefit of hindsight, that at times and in certain aspects of my life, the expectations all these fictional realms and people have set for events in my real life often lead to disappointment and almost a lack of satisfaction in my everyday experiences.

This is of course ridiculous. I find myself rolling my eyes at a past me who used to fall in love with people who didn't even exist and chose sitting alone with imaginary people rather than go out with my friends. Don't get me wrong – I still very much do this, but I now stop to make sure I look up and separate myself ever so slightly from whatever story I'm devouring and give my real life a chance to compete.

Sometimes even now I do catch myself thinking, feeling or expecting totally unrealistic things about the way people act; or the lack of grand ‘adventures' that spring up in everyday life or even the way people look - including myself.

The truth that I think I couldn't and wouldn't admit to myself for years was that these works I loved so dearly were just that. Works. They are conjuring's of imagination and so are tinged in filters and years of fine-tuning. The characters can enjoy themselves in an HD happily ever after, that us mere mortals can only hope for. We all dream for our swashbuckling days to come...but the thing is that amazing, fantastic, swoon-worthy, nail-biting experiences happen all the time - just in very small doses. Finding adventures in the mundane things in life and going out and making adventures happen rather than waiting for them to fall into my lap was a key turning point for me.

Also recognising an adventure when you do have one! Travelling the world, driving with my friends down to the beach, going off to university - these are pretty grand adventures if you really think about it.

Just about every subject has been written about in a story, which I think makes seeing the adventure in one's own life difficult. In fiction, a mere journey to the beach is nothing compared to the portal you find in a rockpool that swoops you off to a different dimension in the midst of a war between faeries and witches.

This is a bit of an extreme example, but you get the gist.

In this day and age, we are incomplete without the extreme and are always searching for MORE. We don't settle for anything but the most exhilarating and what we deem is the best, which in some ways is a great thing. Everything is accessible to us now and the world is small and so much is possible that it detracts from every small experience or good feeling. If you add to this the amazing special effects of cinema today and the expansion and availability of fantasy, we are left feeling somewhat disinterested in our own lives.

It's easy to get wrapped up in a world that is thrilling and I would even encourage it. There is no harm in expanding what your brain perceives as possible, however, there is a line and it's a fragile one – particularly when it comes to...drum roll please... romance.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are going there.

Almost every YA novel out there, as many of you will know, leads us to believe that everyone falls in love at the ripe age of 16 and god forbid if you're still single after you've left high school.

Oh no, some mysterious individual with a troubled past – probably with unruly hair, eyes of an unusual colour and definitely a forbidden crush on the quirky but beautiful protagonist must appear in every teenage life. That's the way it is. But, that is not the way it is...nor should it be!

It's lovely and terrible being a romantic. Most of us can't help but hope to be swept away by an unfathomable twist of destiny that causes us to find our ‘the one'. Maybe this could actually happen to 0.00001% of us, yet meeting someone in a bumpy, awkward sort of way, or giving someone you thought you could never like that way a chance, or not even meeting anyone at all is also romantic! Just because your story doesn't fit the fairytale, doesn't mean it can't have a happily ever after.

And so to round of with that really gross last sentence (sorry all, I do like a bit of cheesy), being in love with the fictional is great I would even say admirable. However, I've found it is important to look up and love what's around you just as much, even if it seems duller and less full of sparkle.

Hebe x



Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash

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