This I Believe

leland - clarksville, Indiana
Entered on June 5, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity, peace
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I believe in imagination. When I began to really question what I believe I realized that many of the important ideals are things I know, and are not just beliefs. From listening to the program I understood that truly thoughtful and sincere beliefs lie far deeper then what is expected. So in that since I know there is a God, I also know I love music and the simplicity of a turkey and Swiss sandwich but I always came back to “what do I believe?”

Then in an epiphany I realized my entire life has been an attempt to manifest my imagination. I believe that imagination unlike faith or religion can be and is apart of all human beings. We all take refuge, find excitement or gain inspiration through our imagination. It is a constant from development of childhood to the end of life. Imagination is our relief from the mundane, our explanation of the unknown, and our hope for the future. Imagination is the mother of invention and the machine for ingenuity.

We even go as far to personify imagination. I often hear people say “my imagination is playing tricks on me” and I am sure everyone has entertained the idea of an imaginary friend. Imaginary friends offered us the indulgence of our own company, a companion within our hearts and minds that travel with us to the farthest regions. We named them Fred, Bob, Marge or Buddy. We utilized their qualities of courage or anger to enhance our environments. And people went along with this- why – because we have all been there. Remembering that day at lunch when someone sat in the apparently empty seat adjacent to you killing Buddy.

My appreciation of imagination began as a child. I was the youngest of three by ten years with two middle class working parents. There was no one to be attentive to me, or entertain me. So there came my imagination to the rescue. I remember pretending to be a wizard mixing potions in me parents’ bathroom and making a cape or gown out of a simple bed sheet. I would go outside and play in the bushes wildly waving crooked sticks as if they were magic wands (way before the craze of Harry Potter). I would imagine cooking up nature soup for the squirrels by mixing mud, acorns, and grass over a burning fire. Sadly with all that imagination I never learned how to ride a bike, swim or play a sport as a child.

Somehow along the way I internalized this awesome power of imagination throughout my years. Take for example high school which can be an absolute torment for most. I was incredibly overweight and admittedly self-conscious but by imagination I didn’t see what was in the mirror but instead projected a persona or attitude that led me to become a fantastic leader, friend and student. I truly perceived myself through my imagination of how people saw and reacted to me. It was almost like an out of body experience.

And that’s just one example, you’ve got fantasies and of course the most important – dreams. Dreams are the nightly expression of our imagination, the unlocking of our own limitless abilities. I love dreams I imagine myself flying atop great winged dragons or riding a roller coaster at lighting speeds. But as with all things in this universe there exist duality and as we have dreams we too have nightmares. We transition from “I can imagine” to “imagine what if,” or could you imagine.” I could imagine an endangered earth overheated, desolate and devoid of the purest beauties that existed in times past but I could also imagine a cure. That is why I have held on to my imagination, I became a modern day wizard. I study a form of alchemy if you could imagine, I became a chemist.

Now you might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I continue to imagine about who I will become or where I will be. I recently re-internalized my imagination. I imagined that if I ate healthy and exercised I would eventually look like Taye Diggs. Even though I have lost over a hundred pounds since high school and have around 25% body fat I have yet to be mistaken by anyone famous other than Randy Jackson from American Idol.

Just like some fabled tree of eternal currency imagination is an industry. We buy and sell imagination everyday as books, movies, magazines and video games. The real final fantasy is our imagination. And what I have tried to say and hope to share with others leaves me with possibilities that I can only imagine, but I think it can in no way be better expressed or supported that by the song by John Lennon “Imagine.”