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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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My undying love for fictional characters

Whitney Veazey

My whole life has been built on a fantasy. I don’t mean in a fairytale, dragon slaying, beautiful ball gown kind of way, and I definitely don’t mean in an Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory kind of way either. 

For eighteen years, I have been blessed with a heart too full. It’s a heart that clenches when I hear the words “I love you,” or “I am so proud of you.” A heart that never fails to be brought back to life when I see young children running and playing make-believe in my neighborhood. 

For every moment that my heart catches in a warming way, there are infinite moments that feel as though my soul has been torn in half. I feel all moments as greatly as the other: the love, the hope, the loss, and the grief. It does not matter how passionately I want every character to have a happy ending, because more often than not, that is the reality of each beautiful, yet harsh world. 

I immerse myself in the books I read and in the films I watch. Everytime, I feel as though these fantasy worlds become a part of who I am. 

Years later, my heart holds the story of Eddie Munson’s sacrifice for a town that hated him. My heart holds the story of Glenn Rhee continuously fighting to be the glue that holds his survival group together. My heart holds the story of Emma Morley and how she refused to be anyone’s consolation prize. 

I have always found myself becoming undeniably attached to fictional characters. Although each character is different, they all seem to be connected at the soul. 

I see myself in each of these characters because I find the qualities I most desire or relate to. When I say that I grew up with Glenn Rhee from “The Walking Dead,” I don’t say it lightly. I started watching the show when I was freshly 10, binge watching seasons 1-4 with my parents. We quickly became engrossed in watching season 5 as each episode was released every Sunday. 

Glenn captured my heart from the very moment he appeared on screen in the first ever episode, and my soul was crushed at his death in the premiere of season 7. I was in never ending awe of his humility and selflessness. His warmth and kindness, but above all, his ability to take in strangers and make them family. When he died, it felt like part of me died with him.

He shaped me into who I am today. My compassion, my empathy, my sensitivity and my moral standards stem from him. I vowed long ago to make it my life’s mission to never back down from my beliefs. 

What comes off as strong opinions to others is due to the many years I spent suppressing my own emotions. I always felt like I felt too much, and I felt too often. Yet I see these characters on screen, or read about them in books, and suddenly it’s okay to feel. Suddenly my sensitivity is my superpower, but I would never have realized that if it weren’t for characters like Glenn.

My love for these characters can also be described as an obsession. Definitely an obsession for fictional men. I find myself crawling back to my on screen lovers: Peter Parker, Oliver Jones, Dexter Mayhew and Stiles Stilinski, because they seem to make life worth living. They’re called comfort characters for a reason, but they’re my comfort characters because they have a magnetic warmth about them. Charming, and endearing, yes, but they also radiate empowerment, loyalty and mindfulness. 

Fictional worlds have always welcomed me with open arms. When my own reality felt suffocating and frustrating, there was always somewhere to go. The world of Narnia and Pixie Hollow when I was younger, and then the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the never ending cycle of 2000’s rom coms as I got older. 

I was never a reader until covid. Fourteen and having to pass the time somehow. Young adult, stand alone fiction novels captured my attention first, and then I made my way to the series. “Caraval” is the greatest series I have read to this day.

The phrase “book boyfriends do it better” proves to be true on almost all bases. As a reader, you get to come up with your own interpretation of how a character looks. You get to create your own personal fantasy, but you also get to witness every aspect of a character. Their thoughts, their actions and their expressions. For me, I have some distinct book boyfriends. From “Caraval,” Julian Santos. His bravery and wit alone constitutes enough to be my perfect man. There’s Alex’s free spirit from “Delirium,” and then there’s Elliot Petropoulos’s intelligence from “Love and Other Words.”

Literary men provide me with an optimistic attitude that there is a love out there for me. Dates under the stars and books as presents with notes in the margin. It’s out there, but until then, my fictional characters aren’t a bad consolation prize.

These characters and their worlds will always be a part of who I am. I’ll carry their laughs and their aspirations as I walk through my reality. I’ll continue to wear my heart on my sleeve for each and every one of my characters. I owe it to them in their creation of who I am today.

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About the Contributors
Tristan Gregory, Staff Writer
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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