I’ve created this world in my mind where all imperfections are perfect. It’s based off of fairy tales, which have been the foundation of my identity for a number of years now. Almost the entire span of my existence has been spent escaping reality—living in a fantasy—so much that I wonder if I have become one.

I often find myself scared to venture beyond the safe walls of my imagination, the dangerous lands of reality far more untamed and horrifying than the small, comfy spot inside my brain that I often escape to. My imagination gives me pure happiness, much like lying in front of a toasty fireplace on a rainy day. As the thick, black clouds form in the sky—the rain pouring down in frigid sheets—I am safely nestled under the roof of my tiny house, lost in the beautiful colors swirling around me.

Today, I found myself stepping out the door of my cozy little house of fantasy. This is something that I have never had the desire to do until now. I was completely content with staying inside, absorbing all my dreams and fantasies like a sponge. It took a while before I realized that only so much water can be taken in, before it becomes completely full and nothing else can find its way inside; until someone comes along and squeezes it. Then—and only then—will all the water come flooding out, leaving the fragile sponge alone and completely empty inside.

The damp grass tickles my bare feet as I take one step closer towards the thing I have always feared. The sky is a bright, brilliant blue and there isn’t a single cloud in sight, making me wonder where they have all escaped to. I whimper, imagining the feeling of air conditioning blowing softly against the back of my neck—cooling off my sticky skin. I cower behind my arm, shielding my eyes from the glowing orange ball that stares down at me from above. Sweat beads on my upper lip and I wipe it away furiously with the back of my hand. It seems like I’ve been walking for hours, with still no sign of human life—not even a single bird flying by. I am surrounded with the sounds of my own footsteps and the only person here to force me to keep going is my shadow. It isn’t until the sun is just beginning to set that I finally decide to rest. The sky is filled with rich colors, a feast for my eyes. There is sparkling purple juice, served in baby pink glasses. The blueberries are perfectly ripe, and they sit on the plate beside the thinly sliced oranges. As I devour this amazing meal, I pull a blanket up to my chin—staring up at the sparkling stars. The sight is absolutely breathtaking, the sky a magnificent dark purple, filled with millions of bright stars. My stomach full, I lay back and fall into a deep sleep.

*****

    When I wake, something feels different. At first I thought it was just the weather—frigid raindrops dripping down my bare arms and soaking into my frizzy ponytail. My stomach begins to turn, as if it were doing summersaults. The hair stands up on the back of my neck, and my teeth chatter violently.

“Something is wrong.” I whisper to myself. Suddenly—without warning—my feet start to sink into the damp earth. I try to wrench them out, using all the strength that my body has stored inside it—but my foot has slid in too deep. I start to shake, my foot lodged so well into the thick mud that it won’t budge. I try again, but it’s more than my body can take and my knees buckle. I tumble to the ground, head slamming against the ground so hard that my eyes start to drift closed and everything turns black.

A bloodcurdling scream rings in my ears and I try to move, but I’m stuck. I wriggle and squirm, fighting against the stubborn earth that has imprisoned my foot. I continue trying to escape, until I realize that the scream is my own. A shiver slowly crawls up my spine, like a spider spinning it’s web. Tears flood down my cheeks and the wind blows in my face—making it hard to breathe. The rain is coming down even harder now. It pounds in my ears, the earth made soggy from all the water. With every sob that escapes my lips, it feels as though my heart is ripping apart. I grimace and scream, until there’s nothing left of me. All of a sudden, everything stops and the earth is still. Another sound makes its way to my ears, but this time it’s not crying or screaming. I start to laugh. Small, short giggles turn into a complete laughing fit. I roll around the grass, clutching my stomach and shaking with laughter. There is no reason for me to be laughing, yet here I am—cackling and gasping for breath. One last laugh escape my lips and before I know it, I’m back in front of the fireplace. This time, I’m not alone.

*****

    My imagination is a vast field, filled with life. You could skip around for hours, picking flowers, gazing at the tiny birds flitting about, climbing trees, talking and laughing with friends. You will get extremely distracted—what with the breath-taking plants, all diverse but all so beautiful. Glowing red tulips sprout from the ground, and pale white carnations brush against your feet. The garden may seem like a dream to some of you—all the wondrous plants and flowers coming to life before your very eyes. However, like in any other garden, there will be weeds—and although these weeds seem like miniscule things in comparison to the flowers, they still have the power to kill. They take over anything in sight, turning the once colorful field into a dull, lifeless heap of grass. Like in any other garden, there will be weeds.