We make choices everyday. And each time, a little piece of us dies. Take heart: that death always results in new life. A small sacrifice so that another part may live and flourish. And no death is ever permanent. I learned that at, of all places, Phoenix Comicon.
Fifteen years ago, when my first child was born, I chose to quit work and devote myself to raising my new family. No matter what choice I made at that time, some part would have died - if I'd chosen not to have kids, it would have been a different part; or chose to work after having kids, RIP to another part. There's no escaping death in choice. So with this huge decision came the unavoidable death. However, this part of me died not with sadness, but relief. For this part was tired, and it embraced, even celebrated, the rest.
For years after, this part of me, the social, working, adult-interacting, feedback-receiving part, laid so low, I forgot it was there. Until I worked Comicon.
The minute I donned the business casual, did my hair, put on some makeup, and reported for duty, this part roared back to life. It felt good, too, better than I can remember feeling in a long time.
Not the same 'better' as holding a newborn, or even cuddling with hubby on the couch watching our favorite show, but an older, different 'better'. A 'better' that everyone, especially a mom, should never feel guilty about enjoying. For one weekend, I did something I loved and was relatively good at. I was complemented, thanked, and asked to do more. I wasn't somebody's mother, somebody's wife, somebody's cook, laundress, driver, etc.
I was just.
These are the type of choices we all make, not just in life, but in writing as well. For us, for our characters. Our/their choices define who we/they are. And that's what's going to keep your readers interested. Don't be afraid of the hard choices: they're the most entertaining. Yes, you will lose something, but you may gain something else you didn't even know you wanted. A new life. And like notoriously back from the dead comic book characters, nothing dies forever.
I don't know if that part of me will ever get the chance to be revived again, so I'm just going to choose to be grateful that it happened at all. Thanks, Phoenix Comicon Guest Relations crew!
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
PS Comicon was also a great workout - I lost five pounds! Now to keep it off...
PPS No were-jaguars spotted at Comicon. Maybe in the years to come :)