Lifestyle

The comforts of our imagination

I’m in love with a world that doesn’t exist. 

I never realized such a thing until I read dozens of books and watched even more TV shows and movies. I imagine myself living alongside the characters — whether that be tanning on a beach during summer vacation or fighting beside kings and warriors. Granted, I wouldn’t last a second in those fantastical worlds, but it’s never prevented me from thinking ‘what if?’

What if I lived in the same reality as my favorite characters? What if this world wasn’t filled with towering skyscrapers or dense woods, but was instead brimming with ancient castles and dragons soaring through the air? 

During my neverending three-hour-long classes, I start daydreaming. It’s always been a habit, but ever since I started diving more into these fictional worlds, my daydreams are more specific. I now think about the type of person I’d be if I were thrown into the world of “Narnia” or what skill I’d hone if someone dropped me in the cornucopia of “The Hunger Games.”

A golden dreamscape. Michelle writes about the depth of her imagination and the comfort it can bring to her life as a student. COURTESY OF JR KORPA VIA UNSPLASH

Realistically, I’d be flat-out dead in a matter of minutes. But when it’s just me and my thoughts, I’m faced with an endless realm of possibilities. I dream up interactions with some of my favorite characters and in some cases, I even come up with an entire plotline that ends with some sort of grand gesture or speech. 

Because in my head, I can live thousands of lives. I can be a normal college student, but in the next instant, I could also be a demigod, villain or anti-hero. That’s the beauty of our imagination — there’s nothing holding us back. In my mind, I’m whoever I want to be, and not a single person can judge me. 

Whenever I’m thrust back into the real world, it’s unbelievably disappointing. 

I’ve watched so many shows and movies and read so many books that I can’t fall asleep without conjuring up some ridiculous scenario. Sometimes I’ll dream up a storyline where it’s just me and one of my favorite fictional characters having a conversation. It’s simple, but it makes me feel comforted and safe. Other times, when I’ve felt stressed the entire day and feel like a sadistic psychopath, I imagine myself as the main character in a dystopian world and I’m just kicking people in the face. 

When I ace a midterm, finish writing a story I’m proud of, or master a dance combination I was just taught, sometimes I find myself wondering what the fictional characters I adore would say to me. I like to pretend they’re proud. The stories I’ve loved have squeezed their way into my life, and it’s just boring without them at this point. 

I probably sound delusional saying that. But you know what? Nobody cares about that when I’m standing on a cliff with a jewel in my hand because I just saved a magical kingdom from imminent death and all the characters are now on their knees worshipping me. So, yes, I will continue being proudly neurotic. 

As a writer, it’s hard not to let that part of your brain take over when you’re stuck in dull situations. I’ve found my wild imagination is the only reason I can sit through my early morning discussions and lectures. It’s my caffeine — it keeps me awake. Granted, I retain none of the information I’m supposed to, but I’m too busy fighting off intergalactic demons to care. 

Our imagination is so fascinating, and we’re all born with it. Use it. I can’t emphasize enough about how much you may discover — whether that be who you are or what simplistic yet simultaneously abstract things you can find joy in. To fall in love with the infinite promises your mind can hold is to fall in love with yourself, and that’s one of two things I’ve learned from constantly living in my own head. 

The other thing? 

This world will never be enough for me.

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