Wednesday, January 29, 2014

This Star Won't Go Out

Yesterday Esther Earl's book This Star Won't Go Out was released. In a lot of ways Esther and I were extremely similar. She and I were at Children's Hospital Boston at the same time even though she was a lot sicker. She and I were dealing with pain, nausea, and migraines at the same time in the same hospital, but I didn't know her. She was a gamer who enjoyed playing competitive console games and multiplayer games. We both had a dream to become a writer. We both absolutely loved all books and in particular epic young adult fantasy like Harry Potter or the novels of John Green. Plus Ester liked Doctor Who, which just shows good taste. I identify a lot with Esther's story as a sick teenager who often felt "so guilty" and "useless." I think I would've gotten along with Esther Earl if I had known her and if she hadn't died. I wish I had known her because, everyone seems to think, "Esther has always been epic." I mean I can't guarantee we would have gotten along. Maybe we would have been too similar or I would've been put off by her trust in God and she would have hated my heathenism, but she seems so relatable to me. We could have talked about living, dying, and YouTube. I'm a little jealous of Esther sometimes. I shouldn't be envious of her because she was almost constantly sick, but she lives so much in her short life. She met John Green and Alex Day and had a lot of good friends who praise her, "profound capacity for compassion." I guess for those reasons I shouldn't be jealous of Esther; I should simply acknowledge my wish to be like her. John Green described her as, "a star [that] shines on our little planet." Everyone thinks she's internally gorgeous. Anyone who describes her notes something along the lines of her, "warm and understanding" nature.  Esther says, "I'm not always awesome" and I'm sure she wasn't, but I think she was always good. I want to always love the people around me. I want to be more of a "welcomer" like Esther.

I'm not enough like Esther yet, but the fictional character Esther inspired, Hazel, from my favorite book The Fault in Our Stars, is actually a lot closer to me. I guess everyone feels that way because almost ten million people have watched the trailer to The Fault in Our Stars movie, but I really, really feel like I'm similar to the fictional human Hazel Grace Lancaster. She is snarky and cynical and constantly worried about her imperfections, but kind and hopeful as well. I might never be able to be as much of an accepting friend as Esther Grace Earl, but I can be as open-minded as Hazel Grace Lancaster.

In the amazing play Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare has the great proto-feminist hero Beatrice announce that, "a star danced across the sky" on the day she was born. It may be narcissistic to see yourself as someone who matters. It may be incorrect to believe that our existence is important, but there are icons that people need to look to in order to be better. I hope that whether it is the real Esther or the fictional Beatrice or Hazel, people can look to the sky and see a special person who makes you feel like you can love your friends and family more deeply and thoroughly. That's something I want to do.

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