(If you’re reading the raw version, transcribed by voice to text before I edit it, I’m sure I’ve said at least one ridiculous thing I didn’t catch.
Most of the rest of the ridiculous things are, as usual, on purpose.)
There is no door to nowhere.
Some doors are doors that don’t go anywhere, but they don’t take you away from where you are, so they’re not exactly journeys. They don’t pull you out of somewhere and plant you in a place that isn’t anywhere. I suppose such a thing could metaphorically be death, but I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic enough to consider that to be a journey. (Or at least, I would consider that a relinquishing of this particular journey, and it may or may not begin another one, one in which we probably have less control over what happens to us.)
So the only solution I offer is to assume that any door can lead anywhere.
Now, I am as vaguely human as any monstrous horrifying creature of myth and legends, which is to say that I was human for most of my life, and after I underwent my transformation (which is not actually important to this particular story) I remain human enough that I don’t attempt to do this trick with every single portal. There are literal doors through which I would prefer to never walk, even though my head is better than it was before.
And I don’t know if I will ever reach a state of mind wherein all of these things become positive for me. Although I can reach a state of mental awareness during which I strip things of this world of their potential to instill fear in me. It’s one of the benefits of my transformation into a monster. For a while, the hand of every right-thinking person was against me, which really toughened up my hide. I am also told by thousands that I am a thing to be feared, and if that is true, then certainly the door has more reason for anxiety than I.
What I am saying, Villains, is it the world is a product of perceptions. It was perception which turned me from a hero into a Villain, at least from the outside. And it was seeing what people were like underneath, what they really felt like and what they really thought when they felt able to throw any kind of monstrous name on me with impunity, that I realized: I do not need to live by the same rules as those who prefer to live in fear of monsters.
Because while it is not necessarily the Monstrous that always occupies our minds, that is definitely a piece of what (according to what we are told) should make us anxious or uneasy. And so, becoming Monstrous gives us some power over it. Now, for me, I had to go through the Journey for complicated and unexpected reasons, largely relating to one of my main villainous qualities, which is having much too much trust in human beings. But you can benefit from the Transfiguration I experienced.
Because it’s not actually necessary to have others transform you into a beast in order for you to give up the habit of living in Terror. Horribleness is a state of mind. There is no reason to believe that whatever is in the dark should really worry you more than you worry it. They say that pain and fear are natural Warning Systems. This is not untrue, but there are very crude systems, often triggered when they are not helpful, or not needed, or not indicating something real. Or sometimes, they give us a warning, and then instead of letting us actually take action on that warning, they keep us frozen in place. That’s not helpful.
When this happens to me, I remind myself that some people claim the entire world is against me, and yet I manage to do things. I’d love to think that this is because I’m exceptional, but honestly, every human has this ability. And you don’t technically need to be an enemy of all civilized persons and things in order to possess this quality (although it does make the whole experience more fun…eventually.) I had to learn this lesson through spending a long time as the product of other people’s imagination. But I’m giving you this lesson for free: Every door, everywhere, can lead you somewhere better.
Even if what’s on the other side is bad, even if we don’t like it, it will take you to a better place. And if it isn’t a better place, then impose your will on that place and make it better. You are a Villain, and when others are told they have no options, you can break the rules. If this sounds like I’m using villainy as some kind of scheme to make people feel better, don’t be ridiculous. Obviously, I have some horrible plan in mind. But if you’re already living in a great deal of unpleasant mental sensation, you might as well go along with my hideous ideas. They might be even worse, but at least they’re usually pretty imaginative. And until I actually enact my scheme, you’re going to have the power to enforce your own imagination upon reality, and that’s an improvement.
Be careful. Try to use this for your benefit as opposed to harming others. This is not because you should be nice, which is also a ridiculous idea. It’s because you are definitely capable of making yourself stronger with your mind, whereas it takes a great deal of training to actually damage someone else using the powers of your brain alone. Trust me on this one. It’s much, much smarter to succeed at making yourself better than to fail at making someone else worse, especially if you dislike that person; I mean, you can hardly go up to them and say, “Hey, by any chance, have you noticed yourself feeling awful lately, as if someone had tossed an effigy of you to a Komodo dragon?”
So yes, ask anyone. They will tell you that I’m teaching you this technique for feeling better because I have some hideous ulterior motive.
But that’s okay. You’re already feeling bad. Why not just jump into this totally different kind of bad? I mean, at least the kind of terrible that I am offering is probably going to be reasonably well written, whereas reality has clearly had a script writer’s strike going on for like half a decade now. So the lesson here is, anytime you go through a door, you are allowed to be going into a better world, or at least a world over which you have more control. And this is pleasant and desirable.
And yeah, there’s probably some sort of unspeakable consequence, since you’re getting this for advice from a villain. But I promise you, whatever it is, I will do my best to make sure that it is an interesting and unexpected twist which causes you some moments of pleasant Delight before you enter whatever state of abject unhappiness comes next. And we both know that’s a way better deal than you are currently getting from your current reality provider.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order “I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.