For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a very active imagination. As a little kid when I read a book or saw a movie I loved and didn’t want to end I’d continue the ending in my mind, not just a simple “he didn’t die and they lived happily ever after” but an intricate story line with plot twists and even new characters. Sort of like I was writing my own t.v series and I’d add another episode every time I was bored in class or on the bus. On long Saturdays I’d gather my sisters up in my room and play “house” for hours. I gave out the roles, told them what the story line was going to be, basically directed mini one act plays.
As I grew up that imagination began pushing me to create wherever I could. I took drama and dance classes at the community center and when I came home I spent hours in front of my mirror choreographing complex routines for the dance company in my mind to perform. If anyone walked in on me I probably looked like a fish flopping out of water like 85% of the time but in my mind I was flying across a stage with the crowd roaring.
I woke up some days with an intense drive to paint or draw and I would sit down for hours until my masterpiece was done. When I learned to play guitar it wasn’t long before I was writing my own songs, all I needed was three chords (but never a f# because my fingers were just not long enough…I still have a hard time with that).
In middle school I was lonely and a little bullied so I started writing, first just a diary where I poured my heart out wishing that one day I would have a real best friend. And then I realized it was a lot more fun to write alternative “me”. Just like the never-ending movies and books or little scenes I played out in my room I let my imagination expand my own life and I started writing stories, with different characters and names but really all of it was just me writing down the life I wish I had or the words I wished I had the guts to say out loud. I still have 5 first chapters to all my different novels and quite a few pages on a play I started to write. And just like those movies and books whenever I was bored or at school feeling left out and out of place I just started another chapter in my mind and escaped to an alternative me I felt like being that day.
I’ve always loved this part of me. It is such a defining part of who I am. My imagination, that need to always be creating something new no matter how big or small. It gives me drive and purpose. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. It also ensures that to some extent I am always living in my own little bubble. Don’t worry, I grew out of middle school (which wasn’t that bad anyways) found great friends and a more solid and clear version of myself (although I am always learning more on that one. shaping and twisting and rebuilding all the time..). But because I am constantly creating in my mind, my brain always throwing out new ideas I tend to tune out every once in a while and go back to that alternative me.
And while all of that creativity is good, recently I had a bit of a wake up call. This guy I’m dating was smothering me a little and I found myself rewriting scenes, pretending I was with someone else. I trust my instincts completely and will not hesitate to end a relationship that is not good for me but I kind of feel like I still owe it to him and me to give it a fair shot. Because we really have only been going out for like a minute and a half and it takes longer then that to really know someone. A lot of people find it hard to really be themselves at the beginning of a relationship, you want to impress and you’re not exactly sure what is OK to say and what isn’t. But it freaked me out a little because I suddenly realized it is not the first time I’ve done that. I realized I have a tendency to go back to that “alternative me” when things get a little too real concerning my love life (or rather lack of one). Escapism is a fine coping strategy when things get rough but if I tune out every time I have a shot at something real then my imagination is crossing a line. It’s the classic tune of blaming fairy tales and romantic comedies, But it’s true- they kind of mess you up a little. You live life imagining this prefect scene that never really happens and then you miss it when the universe tries to hand you something true. I got so used to changing the script when it doesn’t fit right but life is not like that and it scares me that I will be so busy with my rewrites I’ll miss the whole show.
So here is my message to all you dreamers and artists out there. Don’t stop. Imagine. Create. Give life to all the stories in your head, but keep an eye open to the real world as well. You don’t want to blink and miss it.