Content Warning: Bullying & Discussion of Mental Health

Every story must have its protagonist. Its saviour. Someone who has a purpose, who leads the plot.

Though that person couldn’t possibly be you. Yes, you.

So who will you choose to be instead?


Protagonist A:

A hero: incapable of mistakes. Untouched by bad guys, your pursuit of glory is never fractured by those who desire your downfall. You’re a god, with the world at your feet. You have everything you could ever want: the job, the fortune, the lover, and especially the recognition. Your strength is unmatched; flaws indistinguishable. Therefore, you’re invincible and unabashed, exuding confidence most could only envision.


Protagonist B:

An angel: admired for your solicitude. You carry the calmness of the earth, the warmth of the Sun. Your presence allows others to be vulnerable, and your unwavering trust ensures they remain loyal to your character. Therefore, you’ve learnt the perceptions, beliefs and fears of various lives, and your intellect has gained an insight others adore. This shields you from heartbreak and betrayal. How could anyone be so horrid to a darling like you? Fears of hardship don’t exist for you, self-assured by presumptions that no one could ever possibly harm you. 


Protagonist C:

A fighter: prepared for change at any moment. With a heart made of titanium, the rush of turmoil that life pushes your way is always met with defiance. Your mentality is indestructible, and any hindrance doesn’t easily consume you. Whether internal or external, you force through these challenges, disallowing time to hold onto the past, with everyone in awe of your strength. To others, you are mighty, a warrior victorious after every battle. Life continues; it’s all part of your voyage, one you consistently overcome.     


Protagonist D:

A leader: remaining authentic to your persona. You never put on a facade – why would you when everyone already loves you? Embodying your talents, you glow amongst the rest. The one you glance at twice. Trusting your spirit, you never fear people’s judgements. Being unapologetically yourself makes you honourable, knowing you’re pristine within a mendacious domain.


So, which will it be? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

But hold on – it doesn’t really matter. You’re confused? – ah you see you’ll never easily be any of these people. You’ll certainly fantasise about it, but deep down you know that’s impossible.

You can’t simply be the protagonist without a backstory.

First, you must live in the reality of who you really are.

Which will you unwillingly choose?


Plot A:

You’ve become lost after discovering that the world isn’t as beautiful as it first seemed. Haunted by villains who tormented you from an early age, you were given labels that never made you laugh. These words slipped into your intellect; whirled around repeatedly. Now you’re convinced it’s all true, like you’ll never be good enough. You want that career, yet there’s always someone better. You want them to love you, but you’re not one worth fighting for. You can’t help but feel this is all your fault, holding each affront close to your chest. Now you’re struggling to find your way out of this forest inside your head, unsure if it’s real or one long nightmare.   


Plot B:

There was a time when you once allowed all to explore your home, all its rooms and passageways. Then you made a few too many mistakes; delved with the wrong people; had your heart broken too many times. Now your home is destroyed and you’re the one left to clean the mess others made. This takes longer than expected and you make a promise that no one will ever be let into your house again, even if they may take better care of its interior than the last visitors did. But now, with the walls sturdier than ever before, you constantly remain alone, because you’d rather everything stay clean and the same forever than risk rearranging the furniture for another.


Plot C:

Your self-possession is barely bobbing above the surface. After all your treasures floated out of your grasp, you wonder if you’ll ever learn to swim on your own. Thoughts have slowly filled every crevice of your brain, weighing you down as you attempt to swim through each loss the current pulls you into. You wish to appear brave, but all you desire is to remain in control. Now your mind is too full, anxious you might drown as cracks begin to form within your valour. You fear you may suffocate, gripping onto whatever precious jewels you have left. Yet it’s not enough, every hardship is too much. You’ll eventually sink to the ocean floor as everyone sees through every rift in your psychology. 


Plot D:

You’ve become alienated by an audience that wishes to undermine you. Your production isn’t worthy of recognition. Roses could never fall at your feet. After years of comparison you’re convinced you’re inferior to your co-stars; that your greatest antagonist is yourself. Your performance simply isn’t captivating like the others on stage. You’d rather put on a disguise; have people fall in love with a fantasy. Yet you worry you’ll fail at this too, that they’ll see past the act. Forever, you’re yearning for something you could never truly be: a star. 


Were none of these what you wanted? What made you think things would all just work out for you? You could never possibly be in charge of your own story; that’s simply not how this all works. You don’t like that? How else are you supposed to become the protagonist? To learn your purpose within this whole narrative? You want things to simply work in your favour, to have the perfect story, yet you know you can’t truly have this. Not before accepting who you must first be. Not before enduring the character development. Not before the inciting incident, climax, and resolution. Only then will you be whichever protagonist you desire. 

This is all part of the narrative. It was never your choice to make in the first place. That’s how your story works.

Mary Elizabeth

The author Mary Elizabeth

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