Make Believe

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Memories of playing dress-up and tea party, just a young thing in a world of wonderment, an imagination without boundaries, escaping reality at every chance. But no, that’s not how life was. I was young once, and I had a vivid imagination, but nothing ever as innocent as princess tea parties and fairy godmothers. I dreamt of being beautiful, of belonging to a family that I resembled instead of the one that I wasn’t born into. A mother with the same tawny shaded skin as me, the same full lips and thick, dark, wavy hair.

I lived inside of fictional worlds, scrawling my soul onto pages as early as I can remember. Spiral notebook after notebook, stacked in neat piles until I reached the age where I needed something more, sturdy, fancy books whose pages I tore with my pens, hiding them on the top of closet shelves and under mattresses, underneath wardrobe dressers, wherever I could find some privacy.

The feeling of exposure when my privately written words were read by eyes they weren’t meant for. My soul being ridiculed and dreams being degraded and destroyed. Yet still I wrote. I never gave it up. Writing is what I do. It’s all I have.

I never dreamt of love, it was always a fairytale, a fable, fiction that was beyond my comprehension. I couldn’t even write a love story if my life depended on it. What is love? A mythical creature, the things nightmares are made of.

As an adult I continued to try to play pretend. I tried to be a wife and mother like those I read of so often in my beloved novels. One that is domestic and caring and dutiful and beautiful and all it got me was pain and pain and more pain. A madness so deep and dark that I prayed for it to end but it never did.

I pretended to be okay, I pretended to be alive. I pretended that I wasn’t pretending. I made myself into who I thought I was supposed to be, so many different sides of me, it was what I imagine being schitzophrenic must be like. While I was trying to find myself, it seems that I lost myself. And after I was done pretending, after I had run out of imaginary plotlines, after I had hit rock bottom, a brick wall, what I thought was the end, only then did I begin to live.

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