Fantasy & Reality (And the Fear that Comes With Them)

By: Elsa C.

I sit, sounds erupting actively in the air around me but I’m silent. I hold a small journal in my hands, but no pen or pencil is clasped in my hand. I’m not writing, I’m reading. Reading all my works from before: poems, books, songs, everything. I’ve been creating, editing, revising, rewriting. All these things that I’ve worked on for so long I keep in this black faux leather journal. They are secrets; my family knows that I write, but they’ve never read much of my works. I have never believed them when they say, “Wow, that’s so great! I love it!” I doubt that their words are true. They are my family, of course they’re going to tell me that it’s amazing because they don’t want to damage me. My esteem. My confidence.
Like I’ve ever had confidence anyway. I’m so against doing many things that are public or social. I never share much of my private works because I don’t believe that they’re that good. I never make many friends because I’m too afraid that they won’t find interest in me.
I’m back at where I’m sitting with my journal again. I’m sitting on a swing, rusty and cracked. When I move even the slightest bit, I hear the noise of the old metal links screech. I raise my hands to plug my ears but my notebook falls onto the mulch-covered ground. As I pick up my notebook, I glance at my surroundings. I’m sitting in the middle of a large playground. Why am I here? It’s not as if I enjoy it here. I’m always surrounded by people that want nothing to do with me here.
I get lost in my own fantasies so much that when I’m shaken back into reality, I stare at myself and ask, “Why do you do this? Why don’t you focus more on reality and not on fantasy?” I don’t know why. I guess that it’s just who I am. If I’m reminded of my crush, I fall back into my hopeless fantasies about him. If I think about books that I love, I’m plunged back into my fantasies again. I usually don’t write fanfiction, I imagine them. They always have drama. Danger. And of course romance. As I am a romantic, that’s a given. I don’t remember any stories I’ve dreamed up that didn’t contain romance. It inserts itself into the story without me even thinking about it, and when I realize it, I feel as if I never want to remove it. But why do I only imagine it and not write it? I think the answer is that I feel like I don’t want to ruin the original story by adding my own work. I doubt to myself that my work is good but I don’t know why. I know that I’m my biggest critic. And I’m aware that I’m a very degrading one as well. There’s never something I create that I can’t find fault in. I find one. Then another. Three. Ten. Twenty. Hundred. I want my work to be perfect, but everything I try never is. Never perfect. Never amazing. Never good enough for my expectations.
I’m getting lost in my thoughts again. I realize this and grope blindly for the rope that will bring me back to reality. I can’t find it. I’m too deep in my mind to find my way back. I need to get out! To escape! To be free of my fantasies and find myself back in reality. I don’t think that reality is usually

better than fantasy. All I know is that if I never exit the never-ending void that I call my mind, I’ll live a life unlived. I’ll always be dreaming, untethered to the ground I stand on. I’ll float away like a balloon on a windy day.
I am again on the swing that is crumbling with age. Alone. So many people around me, enjoying their day. Enjoying life. But I’m lost in the sea of people. I feel too scared to enjoy life as much as I feel I should. I’m scared to talk, to share, to let my guard down to someone new.
I guess that’s why I’m writing this right now. I guess that’s why I’m about to share it with everyone in this club. Because even though I feel like I’m not very good at writing, I want to share it. I want to hear what people have to say. Hopefully, it’s positive feedback. Sometimes it’s not, but I know that It shouldn’t affect me. It does affect me, but I’m working on withstanding it. In a few minutes, I’ll press the ‘SUBMIT’ button, and I’m terrified. But I’ll do it anyway. On January 12, it was the first time that I have ever shared my work with so many people. I got positive feedback from everyone, but positive feedback was all that was allowed. No negative. I have no idea how much negative feedback was sitting just out of my reach. I can’t believe that I’m doing this.
I look back on the day that I sat on that swing. I was so afraid then. Too afraid to really do much at all. But here I am, my nimble fingers flying across the keyboard. I think I’m ready. I hope I am. Here I go. I hope I’ll reach my expectations this time.

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