If you turn to the eminently wise Albert Einstein for a view of what's really real, his perspective may only cloud yours with this take - "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." And, if you're thinking, what would you expect from an out-of-this-world brilliant scientist? Well, even the witty and back-to-earth Mark Twain offered a similarly ambiguous description when he said that "reality can be beat with enough imagination." So it seems these days that reality is illusory and, no doubt, imaginative what with spin doctors, propagandists, PR people, publicists, press agents, and branding specialists crafting their made-to-order designer versions of what you're supposed to believe and be (never mind the social constructs that our culture provides for us). Even technology offers an option through "Second Life", the alternative version of the "you" you wish to be instead of the "you" you really are (or are you?). And what about the effects of prescription drugs on the "real" you? Need a lift? How about more zest? And PEDs (performance enhancing drugs)? Thank goodness for cosmetic surgery, some will say. Don't like that sagging waist line? No big deal. Liposuction can shrink that problem. Sagging face lines? Yup - you can get those realigned, too. So, if all of this leaves you wondering - What is real? The real answer appears to be what ever you want it to be. And what about you? It seems the same could be said as well.
Most all of us find ourselves wondering who we are in various chapters and at different stages along the way. In a relationship, at work, in a period of life, at play, in a new location - we assume so many roles and develop "characters" in each arena, looking for feedback and - yes - validation for who we are in these various venues. What seems natural is supposed to be the real you, except that it's not unnatural to feel like pissing in your pants when you're in front of - say - a panel of judges or 1000 spectators or in front of an entrance exam - or trying anything that's new and different and where you could very easily place a face imprint squarely on the ground in front of you. Acting "out of character" is sometimes necessary when we're looking to stretch ourselves beyond established boundaries. What we need help with in these instances as we script our stories and write the characters is an honest-to-goodness editorial staff. We need editors who can and will provide us with straight-up-sometimes-what-we-really-don't-want-to-hear-but-need-to-if-we're-going-to-grow feedback. We need someone who will feed us the "vegetables" we don't want but know are good for us and we need someone to offer them in a sweet-and-sour sauce that we can digest. We need someone who can nudge us without being meddlesome. We need someone who's looking out for us, who is bringing the best out of us, someone who believes in us. Think about it! Who is your editor-in-chief?
Consider the various roles you assume in the course of a day - student, athlete, musician, brother, sister, older/younger, mother, father, husband, wife, manager, teacher, coach, middle-aged, etc., etc. Although you can't be all of these (sorry - you can't be both a brother and a sister), you certainly may be many of them. And you may be a different "you" in each. Still, you can remain "all-natural" in the story you write about your life if you can discover a passion for what you do or wish to do. In other words, decide this - either do what you like or find a way to like what you do. And then find mentors/editors who will help you stay on course. If you don't have one yet, go find one.
"There are two ways to be happy; improve your reality or lower your expectations", advises Jodi Picoult, the very successful and popular story-teller/writer. What's your preference? Whatever you decide, know this - as you write your story, you need to revise it along the way. This is what writing entails - write and revise, write and revise, write...You need to step away from your subjective self - where you're the subject (and, hopefully, protaganist) of your own story - and examine your plot line with an objective set of eyes. The greater the distance, the clearer the view. Then you'll likely need to resist the urge to hold on (many prefer their known misery to the fear of what the unknown may bring) and make the revisions necessary to grow. It takes courage to do this. It really does. This is where your editor-in-chief can provide those objective eyes. In the end, though, it's for you to decide how much power you'll cede. It's for you to decide how much you'll change your story. In the end, with a determined and faithful effort , you may arrive at that place where, as Maya Angelou counsels, "If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can transform a million realities." Be imaginative. Be persistent. Check in with your editors. And revise, if necessary. It's your story to write. Make it real.