Pinkie and Pinkamena

by Jay David

Chapter 1: Pinkie and Pinkamena

She was tired. This in itself was not unusual as anypony would expect to be exhausted after a day of partying and hopping about. But what was unusual about this in particular, at least as far as others would be concerned, was that it was Pinkie who was tired. Pinkie Pie had a reputation around Ponyville as being completely filled with energy almost every second of the day. To some, it was annoying, but to those closest to her, it was among her more endearing traits. Simply being around her made them feel more energized, as though her positivity was contagious.

That was something Pinkie always took great pride in, that being around others always made them happier. And if there was one thing that she took solace in, it was seeing smiles on other ponies' faces. But right now, all she wanted to do was to retreat to her room and relax after her busy day. She made her way to Sugarcube Corner, the local bakery, where two of her closest friends, Mr and Mrs Cakes, lived and worked. Pinkie's apartment was right above their pastry shop and it was a place she herself worked and helped from time to time.

As she approached the bakery, she saw Mr Cakes exiting through the front door. Upon seeing Pinkie, he waved to her with a smile on his face, which she happily returned. Once that was done, he turned back to the door and flipped over the sing hanging from it, making it go from "open" to "closed". He kept the door open for her, knowing she'd probably want to come in, and so Pinkie simply smiled and trotted inside, with Mr Cakes closing the door behind them both. Once inside, Mr Cakes parted ways with her, no doubt to return to his wife and see to their little ones, Pound and Pumpkin Cakes.

Pinkie smiled at the thought of the two little ones, to whom she acted as an occasional foal-sitter, but one loud yawn later and she knew she'd need to get upstairs soon, lest she simply fall asleep on the shop floor. Making her way up the nearby flight of stairs. and soon found herself in her apartment. The first thing she saw when she got up there was her pet alligator, Gummy, relentlessly trying to chew on his rubber ball, but to no avail without his teeth. Pinkie patted the reptile on the head before making her way over to the vanity mirror beside her bed.

There was a small wooden stool next to the mirror, which she sat on, and then looked at her reflection in the mirror. She was not known for keeping up her appearance, like her friend Rarity was, but there was a specific look she always tried to maintain whenever she went out into town. Pinking up a nearby brush, she began passing it through her famously "poofy" mane-style. With every stroke of the brush, her mane became more and more straight, until finally, there wasn't a single out-of-place strand of hair to be seen on her head. Putting down the brush, she sighed as she looked at her reflection.

"Hello me." She said quietly.

Of all the words that one could use to describe Pinkie, quiet was very rarely one that ponies used. Yet here she was, simply sitting quietly, staring at her reflection. Few ponies knew this, but her notable bouncy mane-style was not her natural appearance. This straight-mane look was what she really looked like. It was the appearance she was born with and, until a certain sonic rainboom witnessed in her childhood, the only way she'd ever chosen to look. But since that fateful day, she'd taken to keeping up her more bouncy look, at least when she was around others.

It wasn't vanity, but again doing what she loved. In spite of her reputation for being fun-loving and laughter-inducing, there had always been a part of her that wasn't like that. Seeing Pinkie smile, seeing her with her admittedly silly-looking mane, always helped people to be put at ease. Their joy brought her joy. And on many days, that was all she needed. But there were times when she wondered. Wondered why she kept doing all this. Why she would go to all the trouble of making others happy when, at the end of the day, she was simply wearing a mask for others to see.

"This is you." She said to her reflection.

In quiet moments like this, when it was just her and her reflection, she would sometimes imagine that her mirror-image was speaking back to her. Even though she loved her friends and shared almost everything she had with them, this was one thing that was absolutely private. And who better to talk about it to than herself.

"The face you show to others.......it isn't you. Not really. You love to see others happy. But does that meant you can't make your own happiness? What does it say about you if you are so dependent on others to be able to have joy in your life?"

These doubts, this melancholy way of speaking, was something others would possibly attribute to some other person, never Pinkie Pie. But it was true. She called those doubts, that voice of melancholy, "Pinkamena". An irony, as that was, in fact, her real name. Pinkamena Diane Pie. But the last time she'd actually used that name for herself had been many years ago, before true joy came into her life. Before the rainboom, Pinkie was often like this, as was her family. Even her sisters, Inky and Blinky Pie were not much different from her at the time. She'd managed to bring some colour and life into their way of doing things, for which they'd been grateful, but there had been a moment, just a brief moment, when it looked like maybe they wouldn't be.

And that had always been something in Pinkie's mindset, a chink in her otherwise happy armour. Whenever it looked like others weren't happy, or worse, made less happy BECAUSE of her, the mask she'd so carefully crafted for herself faded, and the low feelings returned. The last time this had happened was when it looked like her friends were no longer happy with all the parties she was doing for them. In that moment of self-doubt and seeming betrayal, she'd reverted back to her old way of behaving, back to Pinkamena. It had all been a big misunderstanding, and everything had gone back to normal soon afterwards, but it was still a bad memory for her. After everything she'd done to maintain an image of being constantly happy and fun to be around, she'd allowed her friends to see what was behind the mask.

"They know now." She whispered.

Pinkamena was, for all intents and purposes, the exact opposite of everything that Pinkie wanted to be. Moody, aggressive, prone to bouts of sadness when things were going wrong. She didn't like those parts of herself, and certainly did everything she could to bury those feelings under the joy and friends she'd made for herself in her time here in Ponyville. But she would have been lying to herself if she didn't admit that those traits, as much as she didn't like them, didn't come easy under the right circumstances.

That was, to her, her greatest shame. That in spite of everything she'd done, Pinkamena was still in there, just as she'd always been. That for all her efforts to be happy and make others feel good about themselves, many times she'd wonder if it was all just an act. She would, in moments of solitude like this, ask herself why she kept doing this. Yes, seeing others happy made her happy. But if she had to work so hard to put up a false image of herself in order to do it, then what did that say about the good things she'd done for others? Was that also just a lie? She didn't want to think so, but the doubts persisted.

"If all it takes for this happiness to go away is for others to not appreciate what I do, can I ever really hold onto it?"

Philosophical questions like that were yet another thing that others would not expect of her. But in spite of her rather "bubble-headed" reputation, Pinkie was smarter than she let on. Questions like this were common for her, and she would ask them whenever one of her friends was sad, or feeling down, and her own joy went down with them. It made her go back to the way she used to be. Back to Pinkamena. A little filly whose days were filled with no joy, nor smiles, nor happy times. Other ponies could always find something to make them happy even when those around them were not, but Pinkie had always conceded that it was other ponies’ joy that gave her most of her own.

Looking back up at her reflection, she frowned a little.

"You can put on a happy face. You can party all you want. You can even give yourself a new name. But Pinkie is not the real you."

And that was it. That was the one fear that had persisted in her mind ever since she was a child. What if, even after all these years of making others happy, of bringing joy to the places she lived in, she herself was truly unhappy, even in spite of all her work to the contrary. Was that doubt right? At the end of the day, had she really not changed at all from the sad child who grew up on the cold and bleak rock farm? As those fears pestered away at her, other memories came to light. Memories of the smiles on the faces of her closest friends. Twilight, Rainbow, Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack, Spike, the Cakes and their children. Memories of those days when they would pick her up when she was down. When they would be there for her, to make her happy, instead of her trying to make them happy.

It made Pinkie realise that, even though she'd convinced herself that it was the happiness of others that brought her joy, in truth, seeing Pinkie happy was something that gave joy to them as well. Her friends never wanted her sad, and had always done what they could to make her feel better during those low moments. It was what made them truer friends than she had ever known. Even knowing that this darker side existed within her, they'd stuck with her, and helped her in those darker moments of her life. Letting those happy memories wash over her, a smile began to creep over the pink mare's face once more as she looked up at her reflection.

"You're right. Pinkamena is who I was born to be."

The smile grew further as a new joy, a new hope, took root in her.

"But Pinkie.......is who I've CHOSEN to be."

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