I Believe in Imagination

Rachel - Barnardsville, North Carolina
Entered on May 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe in the power of imagination. I believe in its power to rescue, express, heal, and show the world that things don’t have to be as hopeless as they often seem. Imagination helps us look at our world and ignore the heartache, if even for a moment, and instead see the world as it should be; a world full of beauty, light, and hope.

When I was a young girl, I went through a series of events that dramatically changed my life, events that still affect me today. In the span of a few short months, I lost my younger brother, my father, who was a detective at the time, was severely injured in the line of duty and hospitalized, and shortly after, my family was unceremoniously evicted from the house that had been our home for the past 5 years.

Following the aftermath of these events, my entire world was thrust upside-down. In the blink of an eye, I had lost everything. My child-like innocence was shattered, and I had no idea how to function in this new, harsh reality. I was brimming with feelings that I longed to express, but didn’t know how. I wanted to fix things, but I was small, and powerless to change the world around me. So, instead, I decided to create my own.

That’s when I began to write and draw. I drew fantastic creatures to protect me, wondrous worlds where there was no pain, and stories that always had happy endings. Whenever I felt hopeless, scared, or alone, I would escape to the world where I had the power to save all those in trouble, where I could stop all the pain, and where no one was ever left alone. My art became not only form of release, but a beautiful escape.

That experience taught me the unbelievable hope that lies in imagination. A hope that this world isn’t really as bleak as it seems, that everything really can work out for the best, and through it, suddenly all the problems, all the confusion, all the pain and suffering that life can bring – seems but a distant memory. Imagination is pure magic, and should never be underestimated or belittled.

Some might argue that imagination is neither healthy, nor productive, and that children should be educated on the hardships of the “real world.” But I believe that what a child imagines can be just as powerful and just as real to them as the “real world” is to the rest of us. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been told to get my head out of the clouds and my feet on the ground. But why should I stay on the ground when I know that I’m destined to fly?

Don’t be constrained by the ordinary when the fantastic lies within your grasp. I know that if I imagine it, it’s possible, if only in my heart. And that’s why I believe in the power of imagination.