We’re all fighting our own battles. Some may seem bigger than others, but unless you’re that person, you really don’t know how big it is. I won’t pretend to know how tough someone else’s battle is. I won’t assume. What I will assume, is that you never know what someone else is going through… so, be kind. Don’t be a jerk. It’s easy to get upset at people, but think twice before you go off on them. Consider things from different perspectives, and maybe… just maybe, we can help fight people’s battles WITH them instead of against them.
“When I escaped…well, I didn’t really escape. I left them there, in the fire, so I could run. So I could survive. I was afraid, too afraid of Kate and the people who had set my life ablaze to stay. But I didn’t escape. I just left Seraphina Hale in the fire. She died along with my family, lost in what could have been.
I forfeited the name Hale for another, for a Charm-Caster’s surname that still felt heavy on my tongue. Along with the name I inherited a surrogate mother and two new wily sisters. But some part of me still ached for the Before, when Collin and Libby bickered about the rules to some game, when our cousins Zach and Zoe would break up the argument, when Laura would come dancing into the house and Derek would gripe when she tried to waltz with him. I longed to see my mother on the porch steps braiding the hair of her sister Amelia, Zach and Zoe’s mother, and to see my father tossing ball with his younger brother–my Uncle Peter– in the back yard.
But they were gone, all of them except for Derek. Derek, who used to hoist me up onto his shoulders so I could touch the leaves on the trees; Derek, who brought me books and sat with me in the shade to read for hours on end; Derek, who fell in love HARD, with a pretty human and then a fierce one who ended up being much less human than we ever anticipated.
In the end, I came back to Beacon Hills for Derek. Because of him. I knew he needed someone to watch over him–he was never very good at taking care of himself, and so I came back. But not as Seraphina Hale. And I’m not so much Sera Sinclair anymore, am I? Things are changing, with the nogitsune on the loose and Beacon Hills coming unraveled at the seams. We’re all changing. I’m just so afraid that when all is said and done, I won’t recognize the person I’m becoming…"
Today would have been Jules Bianchi’s 26th birthday. Found out it wouldn’t be 17 days ago, and I suspect part of me is not quite reconciled to this fact. The rest of me spent much of today trying to figure out how to properly mark the occasion… without really succeeding.
There are no books about how to be a proper sports fan, and usually that’s to the good. It frees us to express ourselves without worrying about doing it “right”. Today, I felt like I really needed that book, for the emotions of the day were complicated enough without also flailing for a means of expressing it that made sense to me. I’ve seen motor racing deaths before, but only once before (Marco Simoncelli) was it someone I’d developed a “soft spot” for, and never has anyone drawn me so deep into the story before its tragic ending.
But bitter as things became, there was always the sweetness that created the “soft spot” in the first place. Others on Tumblr will have captured this better than me, but when I think of Jules I think of three things:
1) the adamantine will that would get him through the vagaries of motorsport’s varied challengers. Among other things, it meant that he would always be in the fight at every race, assuming his car held up long enough to do so. The back of the field was never dull with Jules in it.
2) perma-positivity. Many drivers cope with being backmarkers because they know deep within that’s the best they can ever hope to have. For those with more talent, the lower reaches of the F1 grid can be a frustrating and miserable place. That feeling of having one’s capabilities cooped up gets to most such drivers in the end. Jules was one of the rare ones who found the positives, the ways of thriving there. He was usually seen with a smile, often with a laugh, and carried hope with him like a lantern. He spread happiness and hope wherever he went, and it was beautiful.
3) kindness. Every friend of mine who met Jules reported being treated very well by him (some way beyond the call of duty for a racing driver/fan interaction). Everyone in the paddock seemed to be his friend, more or less from the beginning. That, in the insular and sometimes cold F1 paddock, is a rare gift in itself.
Maybe the best way to mark the day is to be a little bit more like what he was.
(For those wondering, I had a red-based outfit for work, and ended up spending a fair bit of time going through memories and attempting to write some letters. Not sure that’s how I would have planned the day to go, but better than nothing.)