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What is your favorite word, and why?

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What is your favorite word, and why?


It was a word that we loved as children, a word that fluctuates between good and bad in our adolescent years, and a word that we will love some day, once again. It’s astounding how one short word that is often said without thought can be part of us throughout our entire lives, and this is why “pretend” is one of my favorite words.

This simple, six-letter word brings back childhood memories of my closest cousins and me. We used this word as a noun quite often. It was one of our favorite and also one of the only games that we took part in. Every time that we visited each other, we played Pretend. Pretending that we were rescuing animals off of our blue bunk bed ship. Pretending that he was Tarzan and I was Jane. Pretending that the pool Polaris was an angry, monstrous shark. When asked what we had done all day, our reply would start off as, “We played Pretend a lot! We pretended that…” and then we would proceed to tell the poor, innocent questioner of all our adventures of that day.

Although “pretend” is often limited to a word used solely by imaginative children, it doesn’t leave our vocabulary as we grow into our teenage years. We prefer to use it in different contexts. Instead of “playing pretend”, we now pretend that we like her shirt. We pretend that we don’t care. We pretend that everything is fine, and we pretend that we really do know what we’re talking about (because teenagers know everything). Pretending becomes a verb. It becomes a way to hide things, a way to fit in. A way to be somebody who we’re not.

Even when I’m grown and have a family of my own this word will still be with me. I’ll turn it back into a noun and I’ll, once again, play Pretend with my own creative children. We’ll pretend that we are Cowboys and Indians. We’ll pretend that we’re lost in the jungle. They’ll probably pretend that it’s not bedtime…but, maybe, I’ll pretend, just as my mother did, that I simply lost track of time.

As my future family grows, this word will grow with them. I will have the privilege of watching as they carry this word throughout their awkward years and then through to their own families. Then they’ll realize, just as I do now, that pretending is a way of life. It is a cycle. It has neither beginning nor ending but is a continual, rolling wheel. This cycle does not stop its many revolutions until we reach a stand still. Until the day that we pretend to sleep – forever.



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carolinesell This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm
I really like this... how you've used such a simple word and taken it to so many different levels.  Childhood, teenage years, and the adult life.  It's beautifully crafted and is a great length!  I usually have problems with writing short essays, but I love this!  If you ever have time, check out some of my work! 
 
Anonymous said...
Oct. 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm
Good essay, just way to long for the 250 words it was supposed to be
 
Anonymous said...
Dec. 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm
good essay except for the fact that "pretend" is a seven-letter word...not a six-letter word (ref. third paragraph, first sentence)
 
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