As I was walking home, having one of those super vivid daydreams where you are off being some amazing creative incredible person anywhere but here, I realised something. I really do want to be anywhere but here. In my fictional universe today, I was in my mother’s European homeland for a family reunion and all my previously unaccounted for relatives were sane types who let me drink craft beer and snuck me into a rave. My random delusional brain aside, it got me thinking. Do other people play out fantasies in their heads to combat the drudgery of living a normal existence? I feel like my imagination is always getting away from me, to the point that even when I don’t want to appear rude or ignorant my brain just checks out of a lesson or a conversation and suddenly I’m running away with that cute boy on the bus or pretending to join some cult so that I can rescue the children there from their oppressors. Occasionally when there’s no one who can see or hear me I will just practise fight scenes or make up aerobic routines to try and get out all this energy that sneaks up on me. I fidget a lot. A doctor once called my constant movement’s restless leg syndrome, but I do it purposefully, so I stay grounded. So I can focus on being present. It doesn’t always help, I feel constantly bombarded by my random thoughts. I wish that it was socially accepted to act them out or talk about them because I do have some interesting ones sometimes. I have only ever managed to have a truly deep conversation with one other person, my brother. I’m not sure it really counts as he was high on drugs at the time. I don’t know what he took, but we had this meaningful chat about the reality of being a human being. He told me that people are so much more than they ever project, we are forced to spend so much of our time pretending to be what others expect of us, so much so that often we become confused as to who the real person we are even is. We live these fake lives, where we bury ourselves carefully beneath layers and layers of learned behaviours to the point we aren’t true to our genuine personalities. After my conversation with (Girl From School) today, I think he’s right. I know I try hard to hide who I am and just show the socially accepted version. “You will become the person who you believe others want you to be if you aren’t careful.” He warned me, I was young then, eight, and I still remember those words. Conditioning starts young too. I remember people telling my mum I needed to see a psychologist because I was talking to made up dragons and rabbits at the dinner table and buckling up their seat belts in the car. “You were the only one of my children to have imaginary friends.” she said to me when I finally grew out of the habit. What I never admitted to her was that if she had of let me have a pet I wouldn’t have needed them. I was only six and I just wanted to bring something fun and lively into my day. All I had to focus on back then was the loss of my parents’ marriage. What kid wouldn’t prefer being given the glorious task of raising a baby dragon instead? I still feel like that now, as though I crave something more from this life, when I finally entered the front door today I walked into my room I saw a pile of job application forms I still needed to fill out and a full basket of laundry to put away. I immediately stopped feeling bad that I want to play out entertaining fantasies in my head rather than just be here in my real life. Surely there’s no harm making boring tasks like walking or cleaning more palatable? Sometimes though I’m worried that the thoughts that I have, and that my dreams for my future aren’t in line with what other people are thinking about. I really want my life to be exciting, fun, different from the all-consuming hard-working middle-class paths my family seem hell bent on steering me towards. At the same time, I also don’t want to disappoint them. I probably worry about this far more than is necessary, but it bugs me not knowing where I rank on the weirdness scale against other people. Do other people have dreams at night that are so vivid they also struggle to orient themselves back into reality when they wake? Do other people fantasize about random nonsense like meeting an astronaut in the supermarket or winning the lottery and building homeless shelters? Or is there something off kilter about my brain for getting side tracked so often? Nobody talks about this stuff, sometimes I just spend hours in my own mind, basically talking to myself, not out loud but there is a definite back and forth conversation happening. I used to write my stories down, but a teacher gave me a serve once, after reading a piece I wrote where a young girl sacrifices her family to jump into a parallel universe and escape her poverty stricken home town. I stopped writing them out after that. My mum, who used to praise all my creative work didn’t even notice that I stopped showing them too her. Most of the time when I check out I am just envisioning escaping, as if I would ever be brave enough to get on a bus and run away from all of this. How awesome would it be to just pack a bag and go somewhere completely foreign? To make friends with some amazing family, going out on adventures, just experience a culture that isn’t my own.A boy in my grade, once offered to sneak me along to an indigenous youth camp, I wish I had taken him up on it. I declined because I was so scared about getting in trouble, I would have needed to construct a lot of lies to pull that off and I was only ten. When I think about how the last four years have shaped me since that day I decided not to lie to get something that I wanted I have realised that all the missed opportunities that followed came down to the same thing. My willingness to do whatever it takes to get what I want, my desire to live life with reckless abandon and my conscience. I hope that in the next four years I can reconcile with this somehow before I am out on my own. I need to fill out a job application so I can actually fun being out on my own. I want more from my life than what is expected of me. When I really think about what life as an adult could be like for me, the friends I’ll have and the places that I will go, I can’t help but imagine it will be a thousand times more meaningful than what I have now. I do love my friends here, I’m grateful for the time and affection they bestow upon me, but I don’t always share their mind set I guess. I was just so excited to have a group of peers to be social with that I didn’t stop to consider that I would have to make compromises constantly to retain those friendships. And sometimes when I’m with them it feels like they are just passing time with me also. I guess I really struggle to feel gratitude. To accept the life that was handed to me. I didn’t ask for a broken family or to live in this basic and boring town. What am I supposed to do? Just acclimate into this crap life alongside all the other unhappy souls, never seeking out a chance to find more, to be more? Just say yes, smile and nod and laugh at jokes that aren’t even funny so other people like me, or at least they like the version of myself that I project. Which brings me to the question of how do you even know if other people want to be around you? My primary school friends who ditched me didn’t. My ex boyfriend didn’t. If I don’t mean what I am saying how can I know if other people are being truthful? I’m trying hard to figure all of this out this afternoon and I have no idea why. I am surmising that others have spent a lot longer than my fourteen years on these questions and for some reason still haven’t come to any sort of real answers. Unghhhh that’s so depressing. What if we go our entire life never finding meaning or purpose or true love, hell does true love even exist? I don’t think it does somehow. What I felt for (ex-boyfriend) couldn’t have been love, and if it was, it wasn’t worth having. How can you say that you love someone if you never know what sort of person they really are? If the answers they give you are just carefully crafted responses, products of their own social conditioning. What if the love you feel is all just based on your own assumptions. I don’t know if I’m ok with that. It sounds disappointing and messy. I don’t know if what you perceive to be love is worth putting your true self out there for someone to see and then reject. Is that ever worth the risk? And if love is pointless, then what is the point in pleasing family or friends, what’s the point of going to school? The constant limitations of age, schooling and societal constraints only serve to detract from living a rich life it seems. All the adults in my life have an opinion on what I should be doing with my time, what I should focus on learning about, what sports and interests I should find enjoyable. They never ask what I want to do, they just tell me what I should be doing. How am I supposed to become a well-rounded human being when I’m stuck in a box with all these other people and all we are all being taught is that we are sheep and we need to fit in? Occasiaonally, even the adults admit how crushing reality is, that my teen years are the best years of my life and I should enjoy my time now while I can. If that’s true, then what is the point to anything I do? Why even bother having morals or sticking to your obligations to other people if it’s only going to result in a crap life no matter what you do. I’ve always felt like things that I’m doing don’t matter and I’m starting to feel like maybe I should just start doing the things that I want to, stop listening to my inner voice and just not even care about how my choices affect anybody else. I know that technically that makes me a bad person but so far being a good person hasn’t felt great either.