Reality and Me This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I amsitting alone in the vast, empty auditorium. Chairs and music stands arescattered across the mahogany stage, and yellow light tints everythingbrown-gold. It is silent except for the annoying chatter of students cuttingclass and hanging out in the halls. I feel relieved to be in a place devoid ofother people, but also unhappy about my isolation. I pour my confusion aboutthese contradicting emotions and my despair into a sketch of a woman trapped in acloth wound around her face and body. I make her hands desperately clawing,trying to rip free. I become so occupied I forget my feelings and problems,hiding them in my subconscious. They will not reappear until tomorrow, when Iwill go through the same process of ignoring my wounds instead of healingthem.

This is one of the frequent times I find myself denying the conceptof reality, though accepting it is so essential to our existence. Reality seemsto be some hostile place where terrible things happen: relationships decay,people die, the search for love and acceptance is futile. Nearly all my attemptsto shape my surroundings have failed, including trying to make people I respectlike me, finding a boyfriend to love me, trying to control my impulses, allowingmyself to open up and living up to others' expectations.

Reality alsoseems to have been molded into hypocrisy; it is plagued by superficiality. I usedto think I could live an artificial existence and be happy, but I've come tolearn I'm not compatible with that way of life. I find it much easier to createmy own world in my mind and dwell there, hiding from my problems. I tell myselfthat my imagination is reality.

The worlds I create in my mind are abizarre mix of science fiction, fantasy, Salvador Dali paintings and falsememories. They manifest themselves through my writing, art and crafts. Theseactivities are so absorbing I can look up from writing a short story to findseveral hours have passed. Painting is addictive and intoxicating to a pointwhere sometimes I am disturbed by my neglect of normal living.

In myimagination normality is absent; beauty lies in the abnormal and bizarre. I thinkmelting rocks and floating puddles are far more beautiful than regular bouldersand gravity-stricken ponds. The "freaks" of my school, those with dyedhair, nerdy clothes and psychotic personalities, are a constant inspiration tome. I try to capture their bright colors in words and pastels, the same way Itransfuse my bizarre dreams into paint. One of my goals is to achieve enoughskill in drawing and writing to depict these people and dream worlds andfeel that I've done them justice.

Recently I've come to see a new side ofreality. There seems to now be a place, although harsh, where I can find sourcesof happiness. I have found joy in forging my own identity, opening up to others,forming lasting friendships and appreciating the beauty that exists ineverything. I can't change reality, but I don't need to perceive it asdreadful.

Relationships don't need to decay. One can become strongerthrough losing a loved one and does not need to give in to the pressure to beaccepted. I can also use my feelings to my advantage, making them anotherfountain of inspiration that will never cease flowing. It will help me become abetter artist and writer. If I look hard enough, there are things I can come tolove about reality.

I feel like I've wasted past opportunities by givingup on reality, that I've lost some chances to really live. I have remained silentfrom fear during moments crucial to saving friendships, and stayed reservedduring opportunities to express how I feel. Now I want to learn to look pastexistence's ugly exterior and see the wonderful core where anything is possibleas long as I'm willing to stop living in fear and embrace the harsh times thatwill come with it. There are so many layers, though; I constantly find myselflost in life's maze. The amazingly complex labyrinth of superficiality, createdby the media and others, makes it virtually impossible to find truth and purity.Through my wandering, I've begun to understand the beauty and fulfillment ofsimple living: all my tasks would be clearly defined and the reason to completethem - survival - would be completely justified. There wouldn't be mountains ofinsincerity to sift through to find something tangible and untainted.

Iwonder if perhaps my expectations of reality are too great. I may find I stillneed my daydreams as a place to retreat to when the world becomes too confusingand dark. I just know I want to experience as much as I can while I still havethe chance.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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