Escape Does Not Heal

Out of place.
It doesn't feel right
because I'm always chasing
like it's going to turn up
in a rearing

I grew up inhaling film tropes
and memorizing fictional stories
like they were the homework I always neglected.
I didn’t just consume them, I believed in them.

I was going to embody these stories
and live them
happily ever after…

somewhere between
innocence and
I found out that
life isn't fantastical

like fiction.

Reality doesn't play out in three acts.
There is no climactic moment where everything comes together after hardship.

Growing up
is a constant state
of discovery.
But there is no swelling dramatic music
or surrounding smiles
and tears of joy to celebrate certainty
each time a lesson is learned.

I’ve witnessed this discovery about a hundred times already.

It happens so often
that learning feels
in comparison to the feeling of excitement that makes my hair stand up when the heroine overcomes her obstacles.

When I came to the conclusion that
life is not fantasy
it felt bittersweet
because on one hand, I could release myself from the tethers of
unreachable, unrealistic standards, written for
princesses and palaces that don't exist.
On the other hand,
it’s no easy task to part with the comfort of escaping reality.

But, I didn’t escape all the way.

I leaned on fiction
to cope with the traumas of real life.

I tried to force fiction — carve it, mix it, blend it — into my timeline.

I grew to anticipate it. Then I grew to expect it in places where it couldn’t exist.

I was blind to the beauty of the real
as I pouted over what story thought I should be living.

But the moral of
my favorite lesson so far
has been that-
just as fiction has elements of reality-
everyday life can be as romantic
and dramatic
and embellished
as I want it to be.

These uncomfortably ugly phases of grief and acceptance
can be fantastical.
One day, I raised my pen like a magic wand, and suddenly, this turbulence transformed

a blur of mystifying mystery,
a beautiful swirl of sorrow,
a dreary dream rainstorm I can't help but dance in,
then drowning in a self-actualizing tsunami of my deepest desires.

Every scene I wrote made way for another harsh truth:
Even as the protagonist
of my own life,
I am not
the Queen,
or the princess,
or the fairy,
or the mermaid.

I was blessed
with the opportunity to learn that I am
multitudes more
than any trope.

The most prolific author
could never pin down
a character like me,

although I'd love to see them try.

That's why
it's never actually worked out
fiction and I.

I misused it as a crutch to avoid my problems, instead of allowing it to soothe and guide me towards recovery, which I believe can be done.

But now I can
and direct
my way through it all
and win-
or lose-
the game of life
on my own terms

instead of hiding away
in a tower built on the excuses I once fabricated
as a damsel in distress.

Thank you for reading! What did you think? Leave a comment below. To support my work, consider buying me a cup of coffee!

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