Who I Want to Be

was a miserable child. I would cry for no reason and lash out at people emotionally. In middle school, I became suicidal, and acted on those impulses by jumping off my school's roof a few years later. Physically, I only suffered from a few minor scrapes and bruises, but I had died inside that day.

When I returned home, for some reason or another, I picked up a pen and started scribbling in a diary. The only problem was that I didn't know what to write. I didn't know why I was depressed, I just was. I ended up writing almost a dozen pages of crossed out sentences before finally changing tact:

As her eyes opened that morning, Tseph struggled to find the motivation to leave her bed. She was already exhausted from months of constant fighting and neither her body nor soul could stand another day.

Even though I couldn't figure out why I was feeling the way I did, I managed to create a character who could overcome similar challenges, and in doing so I could figure out how to overcome them, myself. For the next decade, I wrote short stories every day, all of them featuring Tseph as the main character. In many ways, Tseph was the embodiment of perfection, and I was slowly adopting her mannerisms in my daily life.

She was bold, so I tried to fix my social phobias. She was intelligent, so I studied as hard as I could. She was strong, so I kept my body fit.

As time went on, people started to notice and complement me on who I had become, but I was not who they thought I was. I was still the miserable, depressed child. I was just masquerading as a fictional character I had invented.

This meant that every complement I received pierced at my soul, causing me to feel physically ill. Every night, after writing my short story for the day, I would lay in bed and stare at the ceiling, trying to piece together how to tell the world that I was living a lie and, in fact, an impostor.

Last night was New Year's Eve, and as I closed my eyes and fell asleep to a familiar knot in my stomach, I found myself whispering something surprising out loud. "God... If you exist, please just let me be Tseph."

When I woke up, the world was in chaos. I rolled over and picked up my phone before read the headline, "Identity Crisis: Everyone is an Idol!" Confused, I read the article further. Apparently, everyone had woken up this morning as their favorite fictional character. There were multiple Harry Potters and Sherlock Holmes. Anime lovers suddenly became their waifus. It was pure, unadulterated chaos.

I rubbed at my temples, trying to figure out who my favorite fictional character was. Min from the Wheel of Time? Shouko from Koe no Katachi? Gwenpool?

Slightly nervous, I took a deep breath and walked to my bathroom mirror. When I looked up, I saw my own reflection staring back at me.

I didn't change.

I looked outside and saw endless copies of famous characters from shows I had seen and books I had read. Why was I the only one to remain the same?

In that moment it dawned on me.

I was never an impostor. I had already become the exact person I wanted to be.

Prompt: You've just woken up hungover from last night's celebrations. However, your world is much changed and confusing because everyone looks and is acting like their favorite fictional/non-fictional character.

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