The Pretender

I used to be big fan of television when it was actually worth watching. I amassed a slew of shows to tune into including one called The Pretender. The show was about a man named Jarod who was kidnapped as a child and raised in a top secret, Area 51-like facility called The Center. He was a child prodigy and the people who kidnapped him put him through a series of simulations and used the ideas he came up with to perpetuate evil. The show begins when, as an adult, he escapes.

He, of course, is pursued by three minions of The Center but they have a difficult time catching up with him. Jarod has this ability to impersonate the life of anyone he chooses. His genius was such that he becomes fully capable of working in any profession just from studying about it.

The show was created by Craig Van Sickle and Steven Long and is based heavily on the life of Ferdinand Demara who’s greatest achievement was the impersonation of a naval surgeon for the Canadian Navy during WWII with very little medical training. Demara was also a lawyer, a civil engineer and an assistant prison warden. Like Jarod he did this all by studying.

I loved watching the show. Not only because it managed to be good without massive amounts of sex and violence to keep it afloat but also because it illustrates the level of genius I firmly believe we all have. Whether we realize it or not, we are born chameleons. It is written right in our DNA. Cells die and are replaced with such continuity that about every seven years we have a completely new body. Amazing!

Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, we are different from what we were even just yesterday. We learn things, have experiences, that change us sometimes with such subtlety that we don’t realize it until years down the road when all of these minute “alterations” come to a head and we suddenly realize we are different. Our opinions have changed as well as our goals. We have healed emotional wounds and incurred new ones. The resolute bachelorette starts thinking that maybe “mommy” is not a four letter word after all.

This is the work of our unconscious mind helping us navigate our journey at this intersection of time and space. Real power comes when, like Jarod and Ferdinand, we use awareness and information to harness this raw energy and transform ourselves into the person we want to be. The problem I see is that most people don’t know who they want to be and so let others decide for them instead of searching deep within and coming up with their own answers.

I see it all the time. People wearing lives that don’t quite fit but wear them they do because they don’t know, or are too afraid, of the infinite possibilities available to them. I suffer from this as well. It’s taken me well over ten years to become comfortable with the idea of being a writer. I wrote, yes, but the profession, to me, was wrapped in mystery and heavily romanticized. I didn’t know much about it and when I learned, never thought I could actually do it. What did I have to say that hasn’t already been said? Who would even be interested in reading what I wrote?

I did submit a few stories to a couple of magazines and was summarily rejected and thought that proved my point. But being online and interacting with other writers, professionals and novices, made me realize several things. One, while the sun may have seen the continuous recycling of ideas, there are six billion people in the world with new souls arriving daily. Ideas have to be repackaged in many different formats and spoken in just as many voices in order to reach, and teach, the widest audience possible.

Second, just like Jarod had to learn about the many professions he dabbled in, I have to learn how to write. It’s an apprenticeship which, like any other apprenticeship, requires a mix of learning and doing. As I hone my skills the acceptances will surpass the rejections (cross fingers) and if not, I’m still richer for having tried.

Change is possible and it starts with becoming one with that truth. The next step is to define for ourselves what we want and then study, study, study and do, do, do. So go forth and be butterflies. It’s infinitely more fun than being stuck in some stuffy old cocoon.

Vivir con miedo es como vivir en medias.
Happy Writing

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