Hey everybody. I’m taking part in One Rainbow Apart for Pride month! If you want to check out the other blogs doing this (and I would definitely recommend that you do) you can do so here
One of the legends of the Changeling is that the fae will steal a child for one reason or another and replace them with one of their own. They will look like the same child but something about them will be different and the parents can “tell” that it’s not their child.
When I was younger, I was really interested in what that was like for the changeling. How to suddenly exist with a face that’s not yours? Do they know what they are? Most stories act like they’re obviously malicious, but they could be just as confused as the parents. What were they supposed to do with the way that they feel? Do they look at a reflection and just know that it’s someone else? Or do they just go about their lives, never knowing that something is off?
And why do I feel the same way sometimes when -I- look in the mirror? At seeing my own face and having a few seconds of “Is…is that really me?” and feeling weird that what I saw didn’t seem completely correct.
I mean, everyone HAD to have similar thoughts sometimes, right? Faces are just weird and no one is just okay with how they look. Or everyone has features about them they think are strange and would rather change. It’s just human nature, after all. And there’s SO MUCH imagery around what “attractive” looks like and even though you don’t want to be undesirable, all the images of what SHOULD be attractive also look weird to you. That’s just how things are?
I mean, what else could it be?
Fast forward a few years and I learn about dysphoria. I immediately reject it because I wouldn’t label the feeling as intense as the definitions that I saw, but it sticks around. I think a bit more about that weird feeling and get scared. I worry that if I look too hard at myself, I’ll fall apart and be abandoned by everyone. I’ll ruin what little bit of good I have going on and even THEN I can’t stop thinking about it.
I like a lot of the modern stories about Changelings (Seannan McGuire in particular) because instead of it being about how terrible it is for the parents, it’s more about that feeling of knowing you’re off from all the “normal” people and makes that a strength. It’s a kind of wish fulfillment for people in a world that is constantly trying to hammer you into place that you can be yourself and that makes you more powerful than being something for others.
It’s about knowing that the face in the mirror IS real, but it doesn’t have to be “you”.
And if you’re feeling that same kind of Changeling feeling when you see yourself, it’ll be okay.
There’s plenty of us out here.