We will always define ourselves by other people, it is only natural to such jealous creatures as humans. In some ways, in more nuanced, ingrained and unnoticed ways, comparison can be poisonous. But, for Myself in particular, I find the process of outwardly identifying with people and characters therapeutic and enriching. Putting My claim on a figure, labelling them as Myself, helps others to know Me, and for Me to know Myself.
Three of the most salient figures in the curating of My current self are Marie Antoinette (of history), Dorian Gray (of “The Picture of”), and Claudia (of “Interview With The Vampire”).
Marie Antoinette, the Sophia Coppola character, was a crush, but Marie Antoinette, the Archduchess, Dauphine, and Queen, was an infatuation. The mystique around her likeability, morality and personality was something I truly related to; I had always struggled with My own image, and the perception others had of it. Her escapist tendencies and discontent felt real, and familiar. Her oil-on-canvas eyes seemed as if to say “I know you, girl,” – I could hardly know her struggles, but she knew Mine.
Not to mention that I am a woman of taste and luxury, of course.
Dorian Gray, and his real-world counterpart – Oscar Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas – always appealed to the more flawed parts of Myself. My greed, My lust, My naivety, My impulsivity, My willingness to powerful men. All slightly younger parts of Myself, but I will admit, things that I am known to yield to on occasion – all except for the weakness for powerful men. Unlike Mr Dorian Gray, I knew the ways of self-preservation.. perhaps simply through existing to nineteen as a woman.
And finally, Claudia. The brattish charm, sinister sexuality, and materialistic greed made her an obvious choice. I would read, embarrassed, moments of her weakness and wrongness as My own. I would cringe as her pretences were flayed and flaws revealed, finding them so painfully analogous to My own. In much the same way, I valued Lestat De Lioncourt – they were, after all, as alike as anything. But little Claudia, insecure and selfish and confused as she was, seemed a much more suitable identifier.
One could never succinctly describe oneself with a list of characters of someone else’s creation, of historical figures of the world’s creation, of course. But I like to try, sometimes. I have an affinity for curating, and to put Myself so neatly on display gives Me great pleasure.
I will perhaps continue this conversation with Myself when, like a vain and curious vampire, I happen upon more figures to sympathise with and feed upon.