This I Believe

Kylie - Ames, Iowa
Entered on November 19, 2007

Never Too Old to Make Believe

I believe in imagination. I believe in the power of the mind to take you anywhere at any given time. It has always been my one sure way out of any bad situation.

For nine years I was an only child. Almost all of my friends had younger siblings they could boss around, older siblings they could annoy, or the lucky few had both. But no matter what, they all had someone. I didn’t. I quickly learned that my imagination had the power to give me whatever I wanted or needed at the time. So I made up my own siblings. They weren’t real to anyone else, but they filled an emptiness for me. I made up stories and acted them out as if these pretend people were really a part of my life. When I turned nine my mom had my little brother, and I didn’t think I needed my imagination anymore.

Three years later I was proved completely wrong. My imagination ended up being the one thing that held the ability to keep me alive.

A terrible series of incidents occurred that caused me to feel completely powerless. I had lost all control over what happened to me. I was being repeatedly molested by someone in my family, someone I trusted, someone who had been my very first best friend.

He completely overpowered me and terrified me into silence. There was nothing I could do to stop him. Those times when I would be lying there, entirely helpless, the only thing I could do was close my eyes and pretend this wasn’t happening to me. In my mind I could be anywhere I wanted to be. I could be a million miles away from that spot where my young, destroyed body was lying. I got so good at pretending I wasn’t there that I could actually stop feeling anything at all. I would allow my mind to wander away at random times throughout the day because in my head, I could beat him. In my mind I was the one who would win.

If I hadn’t been able to send my mind somewhere else during those horrible times, and I’d had to feel all of that pain, embarrassment, hurt, and humiliation all the time, I don’t think I would have survived. I wouldn’t have had the strength to fight, and I wouldn’t have been able to finally get the courage to tell. I wouldn’t have been able to stop him. But because I’d beat him so many times in my mind, I finally felt I could beat him in real life.

I truly believe imagination gives us strength. It’s an escape you can keep around forever. You’re never too old to make believe.