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I'll Always Be a Daydreamer
when things get tough, when I get bored, I run off to fantastical worlds within my own imagination
They say it’s not healthy to have my head in the clouds. Embarking on imaginary adventures within my own mind. They say that I should have my feet firmly planted on the ground. In reality, not dreams. It’s escapism. Avoidance. Even a form of mental illness if taken too far.
When we’re children, such things are encouraged and supported. A child with a healthy imagination is a good thing. Though I’m certain childhood looks different now than it did when I was younger — we spent hours outside with nature, with the elements, and nothing else but our imagination. We didn’t have computers, phones in our pockets, and Nintendo games.
We played tag, hide and seek, we built things in the dirt, captured bugs to keep in our wheelbarrow and observe. We had a house outside of our house, tucked into the forest, its walls unseen stretching from one tree to the next. We even had an old broom to sweep the floors — my job, of course, as I was the youngest. We concocted imaginary lives for our Barbies, and drove our Hot Wheels through imaginary cities. I’m sure there are more wild imaginings that my memory has lost, but all I know is we used our imaginations every moment of every day.
As we grow older, the games change, and then stop altogether. Our imagination begins to sit and collect dust in the corners of our mind — our brain power used for learning, for navigating the turbulent ins and outs of life. There is so much going on once we’re out in the world in this way, what time is there for idle daydreaming?
Those of us who did hang on to those daydreams, who pictured ourselves in the worlds we read about in books, or saw in movies, those of us who couldn’t quite let go of that tether to our imagination, we may have noticed that it became less accepted to be known as a daydreamer.
It was no longer a smart use of my time, I was no longer a child after all. As an adult, I should be productive, always contributing to society, I should be firmly planted in reality and the here and now. I should not be using my imagination to escape into alternate realities or fantastical worlds.
There is such a thing as too much. It exists within every facet of this life. There is always the possibility that we take things a step further than what is healthy, that we check out entirely from this reality and never make our lives something we enjoy being present in. But if we can balance it right, an escape into our imaginations is never a bad thing, never a waste of time.
The truth of the matter is that right now, I do use my daydreaming as an escape, and sometimes even to avoid the things I’m not ready to feel, or deal with. Daydreaming has become a vital part of how I survive each flare-up, or when the fatigue is too heavy to push through, or when I get so frustrated that I cannot do what I want to be doing. Living in a body that doesn’t function as I hope it would is exhausting and depressing, and I don’t always want to stay within the confines of my current reality. So I read, and I daydream, and I imagine myself somewhere else, and it gets me through.
For now, it is my escape. Maybe at some point in the future, I won’t feel the need to be somewhere else so strongly. But daydreaming will always be a form of entertainment for me, it will always be a way to engage my imagination, to keep my brain active, to dream about new paths, new possibilities, to indulge in lives I will never live.
No longer do I let myself feel shame for using my imagination, for taking a dip into a world that is not my own, for not wanting to endure the painful reality of this world for a little while. It’s an integral part of who I am, and those that don’t get it, don’t need to. I know it enriches my life in a myriad of ways.
And so, I will always be a dreamer at heart.
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