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Among the Shadows

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Eliciting complaints from tired, worries from the overworked, and dread from the child who isn’t prepared for the upcoming math test, the luminary rays of a new day tend to greet me with potential success. A beacon of fresh starts, the rays paint the world below in a hue corresponding to one’s aspirations for tomorrow. Rising in the east, setting in the west, the sun cultivates the misguided hopes of the time.

My love of the morning reveals more about my personality than I would necessarily care for: the vigor I find in buttery toast, the comfort that derives from ignorance of the day’s outcome, and the value I place on the delusional optimism of my generation. Reminiscent of the Disney princess movies, I am confined mentally, intellectually, and emotionally to the quixotic mores of a passive dreamer. Raised in a generation where hopeless romanticism reigns, I live to dream, yet I lack the courage to assert myself in trying to get what I want. With growing apprehension, my view of the world remains limited. Frustrating, this fear defines the difference between a coward and a warrior, a couch potato and a crusader; an idealist and someone who actually changes the world.

Similar to the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”, I lack the sheer audacity to stand up for myself when belittled. Wincing in terror of my own shadow, I submit to the impudent individuals with whom I inevitably cross paths. As they try to tailor an identity for me based off my least redeeming qualities, I am haunted: not by the malice of their words, but by my own silence. Deriving from an inability to defend oneself, this shame gives birth to the ubiquitous regret: If I Only. If I only I were brazen enough; If only I had neglected to tremble among the wreckage of a broken dream; If I only had a brain.
My generation is mistakenly encouraged to dream ‘big’. What many refuse to consider are the resources needed to mimic these fantasies: intelligence, passion, talent, and bravery. I admit that I have failed in trying to defend myself. I admit to having let my fear, my cowardice, and my lacking character prevent me from self-actualization. I admit to sometimes succumbing to a hopeless stereotype, one that optimism cannot hide. I admit that I kindle disappointment rather than honor.
Those who wish upon a star only dream because they are not bold enough to truthfully wake up. Thus, conformity remains latent among the dreamers whom anxiously wait for the dawn of a new day. Although writing this sounds uncharacteristically cynical, overtime, I have abandoned the fluorescence of denial, instead favoring the truth that lingers among the shadows.



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