My OC and Me

MediocreSpence's avatar
By MediocreSpence   |   
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Imagination is a funny thing. For some, it's the proverbial well that provides the fuel to ignite the greatest acts of self-expression in human history. For the rest of us, it's something we tap, whether it be occasionally or frequently, to make our miserable, real lives slightly more bearable – at least enough so to keep from making the headlines and reviving the effort to push mental health system reform, amongst other things. I'd say, in my own case, that my sense of imagination is dead-center between those two schools of thought. When I was younger, more ignorant, and my parents knew the importance of budgeting, the activity of choice was to “pretend”. Riding a bike around my condo complex turned into a desperate escape from some huge monster, the small railing above the staircase was the rendezvous point for a covert spy mission, and my living room furniture became the entire space battle from the end part of A New Hope, all told from the perspective of the fighters. In retrospect, I think it was because of my family's keen interest in pop culture, with my dad being into sci-fi stuff and whatever promotion Hulk Hogan was wrestling on, my sisters watching the living crap out of cartoons, and my mom tuning into the five-o-clock news and expressing concern about how no one cared about the financially downtrodden – and the fact that I was an incredibly hyper motherf**ker that never knew the concept of behavior limits, but that goes without saying. As I grew older, though, I became a little more hostile towards my imagination and self-expression, because I became cripplingly self-conscious about anything I ever did or thought about.

There's an old saying: “let your freak flag fly”. Don't be afraid of who you are. Be yourself. Have pride in your individuality. It's a heartwarming concept, but there's always a very small and very vocal group of people that take it way too far. Naturally, this same group almost always gets cited as the face of whatever subculture they belong to. Unfortunately for me, most of the subcultures I associate myself with are incredibly easy to mock. Recently, I took interest of a TV show that is shrouded in a particularly incendiary stigma in the fan base, both internally and externally. That show: My Little Pony. Yup, that one. I could go on about the stigma surrounding it, but others have discussed it better than I ever could, so I'll get to my own point. Application of imagination for this show's lore sports a range similar to any other fan community, which is usually measured from totally innocent to totally depraved and immoral. I've had ideas for stories and characters based on this lore, but neither will ever see the light of day in their intended form. As a result, the things I indulge in to allegedly raise my self-esteem only end up making me feel undeserved disgust and shame in myself, solely because of that self-conscious fear that expressing myself to any degree will be met with unwarranted scrutiny, all due to those few that ruin it for everyone. Not only that, but I'm also a little alienated from the community itself, because the worst thing that could happen to me would be someone telling me that whatever I was doing or thinking was okay. That fact that there are others out there like me leave me feeling more uncomfortable in the process, which is pretty counteractive to the subculture theory of representing a shelter for one's special, unique interests. And that sucks, too, because what I've chosen to do is not as horrible as people may think.

One of the common activities within the fan community is to create their own character that exists within the universe of the source material presented. If you want to be made fun of, your original character (or OC) would be given godlike powers and appearance, an obnoxious color scheme, renowned fame, some sort of crossover connection to a completely different community and be in a relationship with an actual character from the show- bonus shame points for a main one. If you're "normal" or not a troll, though, your OC will most likely just be the manifestation of yourself, either in appearance or personality. Sometimes, the normal OC could also represent the creator's own personal ambitions, often through giving them interest in a particular hobby or something that can't earn much of a living in the real world. Mine, on the other hand, kind of serves more as a therapeutic tool for my own existential problems than a means for chronic overcompensation. Though his life and interests are rather basic when considering what the rest of the community comes up with, he still lives a life I wish I could have. Isn't that incredibly depressing? It should be.

I still don't have a name or color scheme for him yet, but everything else is set. He's a Pegasus journalist who writes sci-fi stories on the side, all while trying to overcome his confidence issues and the constant internal stress of his career path. Earlier in his life, he moved away from home, after graduating, to the city and befriended a local band, earning money by writing songs for them and being a beat reporter for the area's metro desk, all while despising everything he ever wrote. The only way he advanced in life was because of others that saw potential in him and offered the chance to earn a stable and happy career. It reflects the really low expectations I have for my own life. I never want to be rich or famous; I'd much rather be financially stable and rightfully appreciated by the right number of people, which is exactly what my OC gets to enjoy in his happy little world. Most of the stories I came up with weren't necessarily building a foundation for the character himself. Rather, I'm simply speaking directly to myself, almost as if the only way I could retain a bit of advice to improve my situation would be through having other characters present it for me. In a way, I'm psycho-analyzing myself Kevin Smith-style and not taking any of it to heart. Instead, I'm only wishing that I could just be in that comfortable stage of life right now without any actual effort, mainly due to the fact that my present and near future are and will be rather bleak and painful, what with the whole “you're going to be stuck in an endless loop of not being able to afford anything for the rest of your pathetic, miserable waste of a life” thing.

I've had the opportunity to share this character in the past, mainly with my friends, but only a very select few people have ever actually seen him. Much like the stigma of the community in general, there is an understandable amount of personal embarrassment to be had for even having an OC, based on the assumption that the creator is going through some kind of schizophrenic/perverted behavior in which he or she thinks that what exists in a two-dimensional plane is more real than, for lack of a better term, reality. These people are deemed insane for wanting to escape reality and “live” in a fantasy world. Naturally, since I always assume the worst from myself, I'm always overcome with shame, feeling that I've become one of those people; that making a cartoon version of myself is the definitive sign that I have finally fallen off the wagon and bought a one-way ticket to the nuthouse. But, am I, though? I'm not forcing whatever I create in everyone's face, and I didn't create my character to fulfill some kind of sick fantasy, I did it because I needed something to do in my spare time during the semester, and keeping up some kind of routine is a positive thing to have during difficult periods in life – or at least I've been told. I created a character because the idea of him was stuck in my head, and the only way I can be rid of a lingering idea is to put it down on paper so it can be tucked away for future reference. Or, at least, that's what I think I'm doing.

But, then again, am I rationalizing my behavior because I don't want to confirm what my guilty conscience is heavily implying? I mean, the "crazy" people usually like to rationalize whatever messed-up activities they're very openly into as a new revolution of self-expression that's on par with the various social phenomena in the 1960s, as they are doing something that makes them happy at the expense of the outside world's collectively grimaced stare. I don't feel like what I'm doing is significant towards the evolution of the social structure, though, especially since the whole metrosexual trend back in the early 2000s did it already. It doesn't mean there isn't something going on, though, whether it be significant in a private or public manner. Since I naturally hate myself, rationalizing my OC for dealing with a tough situation is very believable, so much so that it could be declared as the definitive truth. In a way, I guess I am a little bit crazy, because I do envy the guy's life a little bit, but not because I'm satisfying a desire, I'm trying to make a story to make myself feel better about a bad period of my life. I imagine that if I had picked up a book, movie, or even a recreational drug, I could have gotten the same satisfaction, but since money is tight, I unfortunately have to keep myself occupied as cheaply as possible. In the process, I took a behavior that the outlandish people typically use to get themselves off for the different purpose of occupying my time with some form of creativity. Regardless of the reasons, the internet declares that participation in the act of OC creation implies association with everything else negative about the community. No explanation, no testimony, no benefit of the doubt: it's guilt or innocence, no exception. The mind works differently, since it can take in arguments from both sides and formulate an opinion for itself. I know there's a lot of decent reasons encompassing the idea that sharing (or even having) an OC leaves very little room for a neutral opinion. At the same time, I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong, while, simultaneously, that line of thinking also carries the notion of something being wrong. But that's me: I always question what I do, no matter what.
© 2014 - 2020 MediocreSpence
If this ever ends up on my page, it's most likely because I was drunk and close enough to a computer, because even with it being heavily edited, it's still extremely personal, honest, and embarrassing.

Oh yeah, and I should note that I am in no way trying to insult, scold, or otherwise mock anyone's interests, lifestyle, and/or subjects of attraction. I'm just being honest about how I see the world around me and how people function within it.

Given that this was last edited back in May 2013, there's some updates:
1. He does have a name now.

2. He does have a color scheme now, but nothing I personally draw will feature them, because I'm terrible at coloring in any medium.

3. He's an OC and always will be, because I am against referring to him as a "sona" or whatever.
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jrk08004's avatar
jrk08004Hobbyist General Artist
Very well written psychoanalysis, Spence. It takes a lot to reflect like you did and continue to do.

Never give up!