Is Self-Love Enough?

I love myself, it has been a journey but I truly do.

Sure, there are features about myself I don’t like but I wouldn’t change it.

However, as my as I love myself, I don’t think I am “beautiful”. Because I am not and that’s okay. So when someone compliments my appearance or calls me beautiful, my immediate reaction is that voice in my head shouting “liar!”

And I think back to the boy who called me ugly when I was 12. So why am I so quick to assume he is right?

Is the fact that I love myself and think I have other redeemable qualities enough? Or do I need to think I have it all, when I don’t?

Is self-love the absence of self-loathing?

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The Midnight Healer

This is from the first chapter of my WIP, which is a story within a story.
The story told of a healer, so great at her job, that it was believed she could grant wishes and cast spells. She would credit her herbs which were harvested under the moon, she claimed the moon amplified their medicinal qualities. She was well-known for abilities, along with the immeasurable kindness she carried in her heart. Thus making her beauty incomparable to any, causing many suitors to swoon after her despite the fact she was a widow with three young children. She could not bear children with her only love, the irony that the only thing she could not cure was his infertility. She was a mother without children, the cruellest trick life played on her. Alas, she was not discouraged and would later bring in the strays which came to her.
After the loss of her great and only love, suitors flocked to their lonely island to meet her, despite the deserts and oceans crossed, she would decline every opportunity presented to her. Coming from far and wide, all more impressive than the last; rich men, beautiful men, famous men. None of these mattered to the woman, not even when a prince was among one of these well-travelled types. A spoilt, dastardly prince, nonetheless, called this by his own people but he hoped that with the proposal, he would finally garner the approval which would gain him his throne. After yet another rejection, the rude prince cursed the healer, referring to her as a “clear commoner”; much like the many born in his village. Suffice to say the prince was run out of town after he tried to strike her.
Another account told of a traveller, who washed upon their lonely island. He had nothing; nothing to live for, not even memories to rely upon, his consciousness didn’t even return until a week of being on the island. The woman nursed him, as she had done for many others. When he awoke, looking into her kind eyes, he was driven to insanity by his perceived love for her and without even knowing what belongings were, he knew he must have her.
It is important to note that despite the differing accounts, this particular part has a unanimous ending. The amnesiac faced countless rejections and in his disillusioned state he started to believe she would become his if she could understand his loss. In that epiphany he set ablaze to her house, the flames consumed the home that her past love had built, containing the many memories that her family provided her and her almost-magic herbs. The house taken hostage by the inferno, also imprisoned the most precious lives she had come to mother. The soft-spoken peaceful lady immersed in a blind rage and drove the nearest sharp object through his heart, killing him where he stood. In the dead of the night under the brightest of stars she wept, mourning the life she lived and the children she raised. Every soul in the village heard her, even the animals were startled by the sound of a mother mourning her children. Despite the loud cries, not one person saw her, not that night nor the nights which followed. Even when sky was clear, the moon could not be seen, disappearing in the night along with the healer. Each night they would search in complete darkness. Finally one night, long after her children’s bodies were extracted and buried, the weeping which struck sorrow in the hearts of every man, woman and child stopped and with that the moon was finally sighted, radiant and alive.

Eternal Damnation Has Never Been So Sexy

Every piece of vampire fiction since 2008 and the emergence of a certain book has caused the same carbon copy of every plot to exist in the same way. A handsome “high school” vampire falls in love with an average sad girl who will later entangle into a love triangle. This is no shade to any authors because this gave my preteen years so much excitement to gush over these stories with my friends. The annoyance of this to me and the apparent number of people who are sick of it could be summed up in one word: consistency. After this has been repeated so many times, overkill is the only word I can think of. By the end of a trend when people jump on the bandwagon it results in repetitiveness and lazy writing.

It also destroyed the idea of monster stories, they’re no longer a homage to terror. Now, if these monsters were not sexy or a romantic interest then they are reduced to a mindless one dimensional villain. So when did monster stories not become scary, when was it better to be the monsters we once feared?

Therefore in preparation to me wanting to write a vampire fiction which I want to read, here are plot devices I wish to no longer see in vampire fiction:

Issue #1: They only attend high school:

Before anyone @s me, I know exactly why they take place in high schools; it is aimed at kids these age however it makes no sense. If you were 100+ there is no way anyone would want to redo high school over and over. The first time was bad enough, I imagine the tenth just gets even more tedious. There’s nothing knew to learn and you are spending time around people who are in a completely different place. They are too much of your junior who have high school problems which you can’t relate to. As someone in my 20’s I find my teenage problems trivial, so someone living for at least a century must find it grating. You are so out of touch and honestly it will make you hate yourself an humanity even more.

I’m not even going to delve into how predatory it is to be involved romantically with someone 90 years your junior, especially when they are not even adults.

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Issue #2: Love overcomes everything with no struggle:

The male vampire in his natural habitat is a soulless cold killing machine but quickly switches to a big cheesy fluff-ball with no development simply with the love of a good woman. Cute, right? WRONG . Let us not forget the endless killing these beings have done and pain they have caused to mostly innocent people but we feel sympathy for them and root for them because they are in love. They are not good people still, there is no guilt and no struggle. This gives two additional points which are wrong with this. Firstly, the time scale, they haven’t known each other for long at all but are willing to risk it all. Secondly, is the ill writing of the woman, who is portrayed as so bland and void of nay personality, an object created purely to with the sole purpose to fall in love with him, which eliminates the anticipation if they are going to be together.

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Issue #3: The absence of any weaknesses:

The general tropes for all vampires have gone and they have quickie solutions as to why they are seemingly indestructible. Some of the older tropes were pretty cheesy, let us not lie to each other, the most iconic and hilarious being garlic or sleeping in a coffin. There’s no reason for this besides aesthetic. but there seems to be no real threat if vampires lived among us because sunlight doesn’t hurt them and holy water is a myth. They aren’t creatures of the night or eternally damned because humanising them is important.

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Issue #4: The sudden appearance of every other mythical creature:

It tends to be predominantly werewolves and then this results in a rivalry between them which often times develops into a frenemy relationship. This isn’t limited to werewolves, there are witches, doppelgangers, and mixes of all of these, the inter-species breeding is something else as well. One can apparently not exist without the other and it often distracts from the main issues. It gets a bit tedious and ineffective having undeveloped characters of different creatures and heavily rely on gang wars for no reason, the overkill is real.

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Issue #5: Immortality is always deemed as a good thing:

I have never been able to relate to this. They always think of immortal life as a goal, they believe in souls and know they are damned but every lead human is fine with this. Immortality would mean watching your loved one die and not seeing them because they will see you do not age. The main characters often times do not have terrible home lives and a loving family but are willing to give it up easily. I am not going into detail about the idea of living forever because it sounds depressing. There will be a point where you are content for it to end. Also the idea of actually living as a vampire doesn’t sound great; no taste of food, having to drink blood, fighting this and then hurting people.

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Issue #6: Family is of the utmost un-importance:

Aside from the person they are going to fall in love with, everyone else in their life is irrelevant. I would get it more if they had a terrible home life, no aspirations and future, which meant vampirism is the best option but that is hardly ever the case. The main characters usually have pretty good home lives and if not they have other things going for them. Family hardly ever makes an impact on their decision and I find that hard to understand and believe.

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Issue #7: BEING SEXY!

They are always the best looking in the room, stand out good looks, models. The talk of the town. Is there a requirement that you have to be a certain level of attractive before you can be turned or does turning make your bone structure reconstruct itself and become automatically thin? They never talk about them being average let alone plain. But seriously if I saw someone pale, translucent almost, and thin, never fluctuating in weight, I would think they were sickly. Especially if people hardly see them eat, or function as a normal person. But hey, sex sells.

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(Of course, I am putting in a gratuitous shower scene as the last image.)