“I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful
I can feel so unloved for someone so kind
I can feel so boring for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind.”
– So Unsexy, Alanis Morissette

Tonight I actually did a bit of writing in the climax of my book. Now, of course, I’ve had the climax in the ol’ mind palace for a while, but I actually sat down and wanted to make sure the details of it were in line with the overall message of the book. Amusingly enough, the more I write Razia, the more I see myself in her struggles, albeit at a much less dramatic scale.

I was doing a table – because I am a consultant, after all – about each of the scenes, what she felt when they happened, and what the symbolism was (hello 11th grade). And I found myself writing a scene where she has to come face to face with the fact that everybody – including herself – has abandoned her. And I wrote down the phrase “She can’t abandon herself” and was struck about how much that resonated with me emotionally.

There’s a line in the Alanis Morrisette song, “So Unsexy” that goes like this:

“Oh these little rejections
How they disappear quickly
The moment I decide not to abandon me.”

And I actually included that theme in this scene, because it’s so true. It’s amazing how much I’ve kept Suni (known as the crazy diva in my head) kept apart from everyone, even myself. And it’s also become quite apparent about how much keeping her quiet has prevented me from growing as a person. Just by letting her “talk,” so much hurt and pain that I’ve kept pent up inside has suddenly gone away. I realized I had actually abandoned Suni in my pursuit to be Me, because I thought I could put Suni away, that I was enough without her. Oh boy, was I wrong.

I think for Razia, the same is true. She’s been through a lot, my darling little Lyssa. And she thinks she can just push all of that aside, or put it on a shelf, and create this entirely new person. But the truth is, stuff that is buried always surfaces. And sometimes that’s not the worst thing in the world.

Sometimes there is strength in what we bury. For Lyssa, she survived terrible things, and ended up on top anyways. Had she never gone through what she went through, she wouldn’t be Razia. Had she never grown up with a bunch of siblings with deep jealous hatred of her, she never would have been able to stand up for herself with the pirates who thought she couldn’t do what she did because she’s a woman. Had she never inherited her Father’s obsessive nature, his singular focus on just one mystery (for him, Leveman’s Vortex, for her, bounty hunting), she never would have made it. And so on and so forth.

For me, Suni represents the crazy, impulsive side of me that needs to come out more often. The side of me that says it’s not such a weird thing to open up and talk about how not-together my life is. The side of me that will up and leave at the drop of a hat because Pookie tells me to. The side of me that acts out the scenes in my book in my car by myself.

I’ve noticed that a lot of my books deal with this same theme – having this side of ourselves that we’re afraid to share. And I’ve noticed that all of my characters tend to gravitate towards people who have known them for so long that they know all of their secrets. Or, when new characters enter their lives, it takes a whole lot of breaking down barriers to get to the caramel center. And even then, it’s difficult to stay there. Which tells me a lot about myself, and my difficulty with letting new people in.

Write what you know, hm?