Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 46: Festival Evening

(The girls and I are sitting at a table under a pop-up canopy. A buffet table is set up a short distance away, but most of the food that once adorned its surface has been eaten. By now the sun has dipped below the horizon. Stars fill the evening sky, and the canopy is illuminated by a set of lawn torches. Although earlier in the day Libra and Bloom were embodying their fursona and faesona respectively; both had shed those forms as the hours passed.)

Bloom (High school me): Aaah — it’s so nice to relax as a family.

Lark (20s me): I admit it feels good to stop worrying about things for a while.

Libra (College me): We should probably wrap things up here though, right? We still have to clean all this up…

Mom (Present me): Nonsense; I can clean this up with a thought, so we have a little more time. Why don’t we wrap up with one last question?

Lark: What’s that?

Mom: How do you think this is going so far?

Bloom: The festival?

Mom: No no, everything! This place, this process… Bringing all of you here for exploration and self-discovery.

Lark: Hm… That’s a broad question. If we answer, you have to answer too.

Mom: Okay, deal. Why don’t we go youngest to oldest then?

Bloom: I guess I can start, sure. I feel like it’s going really well. I think I needed this the most — times have been tough recently, and I’d been coming to the surface of your mind a lot more often.

Mom: Your mindset surfacing in my personality is literally what started this series.

Bloom: Right. I found myself struggling a lot… I was doing my best to keep us safe, but it was hard. When Mom spoke to me and helped me set aside my mask, I finally had the support I needed to grow and thrive. Now Mom and I face those situations together, and I feel protected and loved. Besides, I love being able to hang out here with my sisters. It’s wonderful, the things I’m able to experience when I’m not just trying to survive.

Libra (smiling): Aww, thanks sis! I love being here with you too.

Mom: What about you, Libra? How do you think this has been going?

Libra: I agree that it’s been going well! I wasn’t surfacing on my own like Bloom was; you had to go looking for me, but I’m glad you did. We’ve gotten acquainted with so many new people through this series — and we’ve gotten the chance to extend genuine comfort to some of them. Since I found out I was a girl, connections to other people have been more important than ever, and I’m so glad to have them. I still have those times when I feel isolated and alone, but they’re much less frequent than they used to be.

Bloom: There was that whole mask thing for you too, right?

Libra: Right! Even though I wasn’t coming to the surface like Bloom was, I still had a mask that I hid behind, and Mom helped me set that aside. Like Bloom, I’m so glad to experience life under her guidance now, and with the company of my other sisters. I love this family.

Bloom (tearful): I love you too, Libra.

Lark (hesitant): I… I love you both too.

Mom: Didn’t want to be left out, huh?

Lark (blushing): No, I didn’t. I know I can be skeptical sometimes, but I’m part of this family too, and I want to feel like it.

Mom: It sounds like this has been a success for you too, then.

Lark: Yeah, it has. I know it took me a lot longer to accept myself than it did for you two — all of you spent a long time helping me see myself. I’m forever grateful to you for that. Now that I’m here, I find the limits that I lived by back then just aren’t there anymore. I can accomplish things that I’d only dreamed of in those days, and I’m excited to see how I can grow even further.

Mom (smiling): That makes me happy to hear. I’m glad you’re with us, Lark.

Lark: So what about you? We all answered; now it’s your turn.

Mom: I suppose it is. Of course it’s been a success — you’re all different parts of me, so all of your gains are mine as well. I love my family here.

Bloom (cheerful): We love you too, Mom!

Lark (disappointed): That’s not really an answer though; those are just our answers again.

Mom: Am I not a mirror for your experiences?

Lark: No, you aren’t — not exclusively, anyways. You have to synthesize our experiences into a cohesive whole, and you have to deal with the outside world. You’re not only growing here with us, but also surviving and thriving out there as well.

Libra (quiet): You have to be more than just the sum of us… You’re our Mom.

Mom: That’s all very true, girls. Fine then — I truly do think this has been a success. At the same time, sometimes it’s been hard to figure out what to write, and it’s been tough writing two scenes a week for five months. Sometimes it’s been hard to find the time, or justify spending time on this project when I have more pressing things to do. Sometimes I feel conflicted on whether or not this project is really worthwhile. I don’t know how much it’s actually helping people, and I don’t know whether anyone would care about it for long if I stopped writing. Sometimes I feel small and powerless and insignificant.

Bloom (hurt): I’m sorry we’re such a burden, Mom…

Mom: You’re *not* a burden, Bloom. None of you girls are. That’s the flip side of this coin, the thing that pushes me through all the doubts I just voiced. Getting to know all of you has been so enriching, and I’ve made *tremendous* personal growth over the course of this series — It feels like I’m speedrunning therapy. I feel more resilient than ever, even though times are tough. I’ve made connections I couldn’t have imagined before starting this work. And Lark, you mentioned dreams; have you seen the memories from when we were just starting to write again?

Lark: Of course — you said that you were going to put your work out into the world, but that you were writing for yourself. Finishing a project was a reward in itself, and if what you wrote helped even a single person, that would be a dream come true.

Mom: Exactly. And Lark, we have helped people — I’ve seen the messages that prove it. Not just one person either, and not just one scene, enough to tell me that helping other people wasn’t a fluke. I call myself a writer now, and I don’t feel that pang of “fake it before you make it” guilt that comes with claiming something that I don’t feel is really true. All of you know that being creative has been a lifelong dream of ours, and now it’s my reality. Writing about this family is literally a dream come true for me, and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon.

Bloom (crying): Oh Mom — I’m so happy you helped me out.

Libra (tearful): I’m glad that has been so fulfilling.

Lark (touched): That… That was an answer. Thanks Mom.

Mom (happy): You’re welcome, Lark. You’re welcome to all of you girls.

(The four of us sat silently for a little while, basking in community and love.)

Libra: What a festival.

Bloom (tired): You said you’d clean this up, right Mom?

Mom: Of course, dear. Don’t worry about it.

Lark: In that case, I think it’s time to call it a night. Pleasant dreams, Mom.

(Lark rises to leave. Libra and Bloom stand up a beat later.)

Mom: Pleasant dreams, Lark. Good night, girls.

Bloom & Libra: G’Night Mom!