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by Ananta Bishoen

When I look at you, I see a pathetic fool, someone without a purpose in life. I also see a warm, loving person full of insecurities. Some may even call you distant and uninterested. I can’t tell who you are or what kind of person you are, but I can tell you this: you may be a bit weird, in some ways, but I believe you are a good person with good intentions. Perhaps, at times, misunderstood; but then again, who isn’t?

Looking at you makes me realise I hardly know you at all. I have seen you transform in many ways. I’m not absolutely sure whether I think you are beautiful or not. What I think of you doesn’t have to be the same as what someone else might think, right? I’m sure there’s someone out there who could fall in love with you, madly, and love you unconditionally. I’m just not sure that person is me. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way, but you did ask me for the truth.

Facing yourself in a mirror never is an easy task, is it? Is it the truth or is it a biased opinion?

Let’s take the evil queen from the fairytale of Snow White, for example. Looking at herself in the mirror was an obsession to her. What did she see while she looked at herself? A beautiful young woman with a lot of potential. A strong queen of a huge kingdom. A wife of a powerful and gentle king. A stepmother of a spoiled little brat. An unaccepted woman who she was constantly being compared to the late queen. An intelligent and kind woman who accepted a widower and his child. A sad woman who was her unable to have children of her own. An insecure woman, wife, mother. A woman who tried to live up to the expectations of a queen. A failure who could not keep in touch with her family.

It is interesting to create a background story for the villain, isn’t it? Isn’t that the new way of presenting fairy tales? The unhappy green-coloured witch in Wicked and the misunderstood Maleficent are examples of villains having an identity and a history we previously knew nothing about. I do think it’s interesting that villains have a background story. Why didn’t Hans Christen Anderson or the brothers Grimm come up with that? I mean, villains weren’t born evil, were they? Don’t they have a reason why they turned out the way they did?

Whatever stories we come up with or whatever truth they hold, I think I can relate mostly to the lyrics of Alanis Morisette’s “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover” , which ex-plains all the different sides of my identity:

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover

I'm a child, I'm a mother

I'm a sinner, I'm a saint

I do not feel ashamed

I'm your hell, I'm your dream

I'm nothing in between.