Preferred Pronouns: She/Her
Other Characters: N/A
Name: Natalie Goodman
Age: 19 (17 + 2 years in game)
Memory Option: Full AU, deteriorating
Established Status: Yes! She's been here for two IC years.
Canon: Next to Normal
Canon Point: Post canon.
Abilities: In terms of abilities, she's a normal human; she doesn't possess any supernatural or superhuman abilities, and most of her skills are intellectual. She's very intelligent and knows how to play the piano extremely well, but she doesn't have any abilities that are more unique than that.
Personality: On first glance, Natalie seems like a fairly normal teenager. She's not very outgoing towards strangers in most circumstances, but anyone speaking to her for the first time might assume she had an average upbringing. She can be a bit offputting at first; sarcastic, judgmental, and even insulting depending on the course of conversation. Apart from that, she takes care to seem like she isn't too out of the ordinary - her brand of initial sassiness seems fairly typical for a teenage girl. This is the image she tries to invoke because, of course, because she feels like she's anything but ordinary (and not in a positive sense). She has large problems with trust as a result of her upbringing. In fact, feeling undervalued and unseen during most of her childhood has been extremely influential in how her personality developed in several ways.
The first is her general wariness about trusting in or caring about most people. It takes a great deal of time and effort to get her to open up and connect with people. She isn't awful at conversation with strangers, even if she can come off slightly awkward, but being genuine, honest and emotionally vulnerable with people is fairly difficult for her. Being left behind and forgotten fairly often as she was growing up meant she came to expect more of the same from everyone around her. This led to her hesitance about making close connections; why put your trust and caring in others, when they've historically let you down? Even apart from having trouble letting people in, it's also made it difficult for her to be sincere and earnest about relatively smaller things. It's rare to get a sentiment from her that's not coated in sarcasm, cynicism, or facetiousness to some degree. Her fear of letting people in means that she can hold grudges and tends to be fairly unforgiving; it's a way of protecting herself from being hurt.
Of course, her hesitance to let people in leads to another large part of her personality: how lonely she typically feels. She grew up without the proper care a child should have, and she's acutely aware of that absence. The paradox of her situation is that while this loneliness and longing makes her crave attention and affection, she's often too frightened to search for it due to her past circumstances. Despite Even when she receives those things, she doesn't know precisely how to handle them well; she still carries the fear of being left behind with her, so the trouble hardly ends after she's finally allowed someone access to the thoughts and worries she tries to keep hidden. It's difficult for her to understand and accept why and how other people can care about her - which ties into her issues with how she sees herself and how much she values herself.
Natalie tends to define herself in terms of her skills and accomplishments rather than thinking that she has intrinsic worth as a person. In some ways, this ties itself in with her love of music. Part of what makes her enjoy playing so much is that she considers it the one thing it's good at, and one of the only chances she has at being valued and noticed by others. This is because she doesn't see much else that's worthwhile in herself. She's not very confident at all, even dipping towards self loathing at times; at one point, when asked by another character why she's been avoiding him, she confesses that it's because "you remind me of me, and how fucked up I can be". This self consciousness primarily comes from two sources.
The first thing that causes her to doubt her own worth is that, try as she might, she's too guided by her emotions. Natalie is a person who tries to orient herself with logic and common sense to endure the chaos that seems to surround her, and she believes that only by disciplining herself that she can stop being so beholden to her emotions. Of course, this typically fails because though this is the kind of person she wants to be, stable and sensible and calm, this is fairly far from the reality. She's full of impulsiveness, filled with doubts and fears and worries that make it difficult for her to be as collected as she tries to seem. She doesn't always think before she speaks, she makes decisions quickly and based on how she feels, and she can't manage to quiet the worries that tend to guide her actions.
The second reason she finds it difficult to think about herself in positive terms is because her primary role model as she grew up, her mother, clearly cared more about her firstborn. Though this is something that generates a great deal of anger and bitterness on Natalie's part, it's also something that she's internalized throughout her life. During her childhood, as that loneliness and hurt became more ingrained in her, she started to worry that she would end up like her mother, clearly unstable and dysfunctional. When she looks towards the future, sometime she sees it as a place of hope where she can escape the negative influence she's been growing up with. However, just as often, she sees herself declining in the same way her mother did, and causing harm to the people around her in the same manner as well. This, perhaps even more than being left behind, is something that she fears deeply.
Of course, with all the flaws and shortcomings she sees in herself, there are things that Natalie undeniably excels at. The first is, of course, her skill with music. She's extremely gifted, as a result of both years of rigorous practice and natural talent. This ties in to how determined she can be when she wants something. Once she realized how much she cared about piano, her dedication to it became impressive. She can absolutely be described as a perfectionist, but this means that she cares deeply about doing well and is willing to put in the hard work necessary to get to that point. Even apart from music, she's a very ambitious student, sometimes pushing herself to her limit to ensure that she'll get perfect grades. This is aided by the fact that she's naturally bright and intelligent. At one in canon, she's referred to as a genius; intellectual pursuits come easily to her, and she enjoys a challenge in this area.
Additionally, although she has problems trusting people and letting herself get close to them, she's never successful in being completely apathetic towards others. This comes from two places: the part of her that's naturally curious, and the part of her that's fairly empathetic despite her best efforts. Even if she's scared of people leaving her behind, there's a natural urge to learn more about others and relate to them that she can't completely suppress. Likewise, when she does learn more about them, it's often difficult for her to disengage as easily as she would like. This is because, though it's a trait she doesn't enjoy that much, she's a fairly caring person at her core and wants to help others. She'd deny it if asked, but the fact remains that she wants the best for others and is more concerned with their wellbeing than she would like to admit.
Lastly, and perhaps surprisingly given how cynical and pessimistic she can seem at first glance, one of her strengths is the amount of hope that she holds onto. She isn't extremely idealistic and will be the first to point out when a situation is unfortunate and not ideal in some way, but this doesn't change the fact that she can't stop herself from believing that eventually, things will change for the better. She often fantasizes about what it will be like when her life changes and she's a happier, more functional person overall. She worries that she won't get there, but despite those worries, a large part of her honestly believes that the future can hold better things for her. At one point, another character refers to her as "a girl full of anger and hope", and this is a fairly good summary of her character; she's embittered and frustrated by the shape her life has taken up until this point, but is committed to the idea that things can and will improve for her if she works for it.
- Her father is from Leith, a member of a merchant family rather than a member of the nobility, and met her mother when he had to visit Westerley for work related reasons. They were married after her mother had an unplanned pregnancy and came to Leith to live together, a circumstance that hurt the family's reputation a fair amount. That scandal still hasn't completely faded, but their business (her father works in architecture) has managed to stay afloat regardless.
- Natalie was born several years later, but her parents found it difficult to give both of their children the same level of attention and care. Especially as they grew older, it was obvious that they cared a fair amount more about her brother to the point that she was emotionally neglected for the majority of her childhood. It didn't help that her brother and her got along horribly; he was able to get under her skin extremely well, which resulted in almost constant bickering between the two of them.
- Eventually, her brother left to work for the Company, but this didn't do much to change things for her at home. Instead, her brother being absent (and the reason why he was absent) dealt a heavy blow to her mother, who was already suffering from nearly debilitating depression and anxiety. She became even more poorly equipped to take care of Natalie, and her father was more preoccupied with finding some way to support her mother.
- As Natalie grew more distrustful and closed off due to her family situation, she turned to music as something she could use to forget the stress of her home life. It was clear fairly quickly that she had extreme talent, and she identified it as something that could eventually help her make a new start apart from her family. When she moved on to college, she chose it as her course of study.
Original History: If this isn't detailed enough, let me know and I'll write up something else!
Inventory: Nothing! She'll be coming in without any items.
Samples: One, two, both from the TDM.