The Actor 

Years ago there was a child actor who played a character that turned out to be likeable and fairly popular.  Being young and a little insecure, this actor had the thought that the character was more popular than the actor was capable of being, so the child stayed in character whenever around any other person.  The character and the actor soon became indistinguishable from each other to everyone except the actor.  

The character served the actor well.  With no one to write a script, life experiences molded how the actor played the character.  The lines between actor and character even blurred in the actor’s own mind sometimes.  At other times, though, it was quite clear to the actor that there was a difference between actor and character.  At these times, the actor longed to show the world who the actor really was, no matter the reaction.  Those feelings would fade and the actor continued to live as the character.  Every decision, every move and every word in front of others was filtered.  Here is what I would say or do, but what would my character do?  The actor then modified all behavior to conform to the character’s nature.  Applying this filter and guarding behaviours became normal for the actor from a young age right up to mid life.

At this time though, the actor realized just how alone she was.  Everyone knew the character, but no one knew her.  The actor realized that by putting on this character to protect herself, she had indeed kept out some of the coldness and harshness of the world, but the character also insulated her from warmth and goodness. It was time for her to shed the character, quit acting and live as herself. It was an odd sensation at first.  She felt naked and exposed without this covering she had worn for years.  It took effort to not automatically use the filter.  It did become freeing as well. What she found was that yes, some people disapproved of who she is, but that was far outweighed by the warmth other people showed and the happiness it brought her to be herself.

It has only been a couple of months now since she shed this character for good.  Parts of that character is already starting to fade from her mind, though.  Every now and then she catches herself thinking like the character and realizes now how uncomfortable she was in that role. The character definetely helped shape the person she grew to be, but the person she is today is the person that has always been there, mostly hidden at times by the mask of the character.

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Changing World (Fiction)

Picking out the perfect person online is difficult.  Looking through all these profiles to find the right match and then left to wonder if I will be their perfect match, too.  I have already looked at the ones who thought I was their match, and ruled them all out for various reasons.  At least these profiles don’t complicate things with any insight into their personalities.  After all, its just their body I am interested in.

Sometimes I get nostalgic for the old days that I never knew.  Sure, the methods and outcomes may have been cruder back then, but maybe it was easier.  Judging from the stories of prejudice and discrimination in the history books, it wasn’t easier.  It is hard to believe now that those things actually went on, though.  Time and distance seems to have a way of romanticising.  Even wars can seem noble and romantic instead of gory and tragic, given enough time.

Enough daydreaming, back to the task at hand.  The database of profiles seems endless, but of course it’s not.  Once I narrow it down by geography, sex and age, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

This technique was perfected a few years ago.  The usual controversy accompanied it, but with the appropriate regulations, it is fairly standard in many countries now.  It was such a simple idea, match male bodies with female bodies, what could be easier.  Now anyone can register in the database in the hopes of finding a match.  Then they simply take your essence and swap it with the other persons.

Ok, not so simple.  I still don’t understand all of the mechanics of it..  Basically though, all of your thoughts, memories, brain patterns, everything that makes you who you are, except the physical body, is downloaded and put into the empty body of someone else.  Formerly someone else, technically.  

Some were worried that criminals would use it to escape justice.  Maybe rich people could use it to escape old age or disease.  That’s what the regulations are for.  All changes are between similar ages and health levels.  All of your old records go with the new body and fingerprints.  

So here I am, looking.  Back in the old days I would have been researching surgeons, I suppose.  That was how they used to do it.  Nowadays, if your sex and gender don’t match, you find your perfect other sex match online.  Only people wanting to switch can register.  After everything is settled, thirty-six hours at the clinic is all the change takes.  You both walk out in bodies you are more comfortable with.

Here’sone that could be a great match.  I will let them know I am interested, maybe I will get a positive response this time.

Going to Sleep (Fiction)

I know this is finally it.  All I have to do is close my eyes and go to sleep.  I have known for a long time this day would come, but am I really ready?  All of the pains of the past will be gone, but letting go isn’t easy.

I am laying here all alone at such a big moment.  Shouldn’t someone be here with me?  Has any of the last half century mattered?  Will anyone even notice that I was here and now I am gone? 

What is that butterfly effect thing?  If I travelled back in time and killed a butterfly, it would change the entire course of history, or something like that.  Surely my life has been at least as significant as a butterfly’s, hasn’t it? 

Has it really been a half century?  Not quite, but close.  Saying it that way makes it sound so long.  I don’t feel that old.  How does “that old” feel?

Are these really the things I should be thinking about now, or am I just postponing closing my eyes?  I haven’t always been happy, but I have enjoyed my life.  I am not afraid to close my eyes now.  Stepping into the unknown does bring some trepidation, but no regret for what I am leaving behind. 

There have been plenty of laughs and smiles through the years.  I am sure I brought joy to others.  That should be a good measure for a significant life, shouldn’t it?  Is this what they mean about your life flashing before your eyes?  It’s not really a flash, why did they lie to me? 

There is not much else to do but close my eyes now.  I have done this thousands of times, one more should be easy.  I feel like I should say goodbye to myself, too, before I drift off.  I am not positive that is necessary though.  Maybe it is just the shell that will be gone.  All my thoughts, all my experiences, the essence of who I am are not contained in my shell.  I can shed my body and I am still me.  That essence won’t disappear because the body does, right?

What a tired cliche, but if it’s appropriate this isn’t the time to come up with another one, so it’s back to that butterfly.  Is the butterfly the same creature as the caterpillar, just in a new body?  Is that what happens to us?  Some might agree with that and others would strongly disagree.  That is one advantage of being alone, I guess.  No disagreements.  That is the way it is.  I can close my eyes and even though the body will be gone, the essence will continue. 

That dissolves any reason I may have had to put it off any longer.  Just in case, goodbye me.  We may not have always got along, but we survived a lot and sometimes even thrived. 

There, my eyes are closed and I am drifting off.  Sleep will carry away the old pains.  I am not afraid or sad.