I believe in imagination. I believe in the creation of worlds and adventures by just closing your eyes. Little kids have the most creative minds, creating friends and stories and places where anything is possible. When I was a little kid, before I got hooked on cartoons, I would run around in the backyard and pretend to play tag with imaginary woodland creatures. I could set up a little tent in my basement and be an explorer. My favorite was playing dress up and going to a ball with the handsome prince.
I had my real friends too, my school friends, who would also join me in my fun, playing in the pool and being mermaids with pet dolphins, but when they went home I was still lost in a different world. A world where I could fly and talk to animals, it was almost as though my dreams had flooded into reality and as soon as I woke up my fantasies would continue.
One of my neighbors, with an overly active imagination like my own, was my favorite person to share my adventures with. She and I went so far as to create wings out of cardboard and glue so we could actually fly. Our plans failed many times, but I was convinced we could do it. As we ran down the hill next to my house with our arms flapping by our side and the propeller hats twirling, I was as happy as could be. It was as though we were actually flying. As a few months past, she came over to my house less and less, but I continued to have hope and ran down that hill with arms out stretched. I still climbed mountains and went to balls. By 4th grade, after transferring to a new school, I had lost some of my creative glow from wanting to be more popular and cool, because I thought people would think it was weird for a person to have imaginary friends and still believe in Santa Clause.
The first couple days at my new school I was very shy. The lower hall always felt Closter phobic and grey. The only place I felt special was in the bathroom. Is it weird that I once felt special in the bathroom? But it was because as I stepped into the reeking cement cave of a bathroom and the first light turned on, the room would transform around me and I could be who I wanted to be again.
After the second light popped on, I became a princess walking into a fantasy pink bathroom, away from the meek, little, self conscious me and the scary hallway. The lights continued to follow me as I got into the stall, lighting up the new colorful room.
I really loved acting like I was little Ms. Popular doing little touchups on my fake makeup. I would pretend I was in there with all my little girlfriends, fixing my hair into braids and adjusting a bow. Then once I finished perfecting my appearance, I slowly turned and stepped towards the door of my little fantasy bathroom world, saying good-bye to my princess friends. The lights trailed me turning off one-by-one and transforming me back into the taciturn little girl I was. The bathroom would turn back into its ordinary reeking cement cave, and I would exit and never look back.
It was there that I was alone free to let my imagination run wild. It took me a while to realize that I didn’t have to hide my imagination and my creativity, because I realized that wouldn’t be any fun. After a week at my new school, I developed new friends who appreciated my quirky attributes and didn’t judge me for believing in the unreal. Even now, though I don’t run around my backyard playing tag with imaginary woodland creatures or strap cardboard wings to my arms and expect to fly, I still believe in the power of imagination and that dreams can become reality if you just open your eyes and create it.
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