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Who Am I?
The trees blow sideways in the breeze. Their limbs are bowing, haunting figures, frail and scraggly, enshadowed by the frighteningly absolute darkness that surrounds them. They twist, they bend, and they break. Their limbs fall to the ground where they lay to decay and die, for that is the way of life.
The view pans out, revealing a night sky lit by stars behind a burning city. Screams ring out, eerie, lilting harmonies that cause listeners to cringe even while they pause thoughtfully at hearing such twisted beauty pervade their senses.
Now the fire burns brighter, emitting flares that can be seen far and wide. The flames spread, curiously leaving behind not red embers, but black ones that burn with an intensity that can only be described as pure malevolent caliginosity.
And a midst all this chaos is a little girl, brown hair flowing gracefully behind her. Her hazel green eyes glare fixedly, as if they could ignite a hole through the soul of the idiot onlooker that dares stare her in the eye. Slowly, she leans nonchalantly against a brick wall entwined with ivy; she appears to dissolve into the wall before she herself trails up the wall, her human form transforming into her take on what a wallflower really is...
I am thirteen. I have brown hair, hazel green eyes, and pale skin that shows an entire tracery of pale blue veins trailing up my forearms. My peers, they know me as that shy girl, the wallflower who barely says a word in class. Some of them don’t even know my name, can’t even remember it, despite the numerous classes we share. My reputation? I’m the smart girl, the goody-two-shoes, the bookworm. And that’s it. But what they don’t know is that there is an entirely different side to me that they don’t know about, will never know about. Below the surface is a person burrowed up in her shell, cowering from the corrupt, cruel hands of the outside world until the moment comes for her to burst free and show everyone just how amazing she really is. That person just so happens to be me.
I awoke with a start. I looked around my bedroom, the horrible truth dawning on me just like it does every morning; I was still trapped in reality where I was nobody - at least for now. Groaning, I turned over in bed, the blaring alarm on my iPod preventing me from dozing off again. Every night I would go to sleep with the hopeless dream of waking up in an alternate dimension where I make the rules, where I could play God and decide what reality was. Call it my paracosm, if you will. And every morning I would find that it was only one more wish that would never come true.
Beside me, laying on the dresser beside my bed, is a thick spiral notebook. It looks insignificant, but I would die if anything were to happen to it. Words cover the inside pages, pages upon pages of words. Precious words I have partially memorized. Those words, they are the key to my prolonged fantasy world, my sweet escape. That notebook is the closest thing I have - and ever will have - to a make-believe realm only I can truly access.
“Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream! My spirit not awak’ning till the beam of an Eternity should bring the morrow. Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow ‘twere better than the cold reality of waking life...” (Poe).
I’ve always envisioned a wallflower as a blossoming vine that twines walls much the same way as ivy, hanging over trellises with a brick wall to lean against, almost bury itself in. I am a wallflower in much the same respect, hiding to avoid criticism, hatred, and harassment, embarrassment, resentment, and sorrow. I lean against a wall, climb up on it, to make sure that no matter what happens, even in the darkest of times, I will not fall and shatter. My foothold on this metaphoric wall keeps me from shattering like glass, because, let’s admit it, who isn't fragile, and who isn't vulnerable? There’s just some people who place a hard, cold barrier around themselves that protects them when they fall, others who have become masters in the sacred art of self-healing, and still others who, like me, hide to avoid splintering altogether.
I opened the notebook and reread the words I've already written, starting with page one: “A shadow danced through the darkness. It moved with a purpose, never-stopping, almost gliding across the ground...” And then I smile. Someday... Someday...
Setting the notebook aside, shutting the stupid alarm off as well - what’s five more minutes in the grand scheme of things? - I shut my eyes, lean my head back against my pillow, and fall back into the recesses of sleep. Soon, I am enveloped by another dream...
You have to love shyness. I do - not. I’m meek and it’s the worst thing in the world. It makes life a thousand times more difficult than it should be. At school, I’m the worst at making friends. I sit in class alone when I have no friends in there and groan when the teacher tells us to pick our own partners. I’m shy, and I hate that feeling of I’m all alone here. It sucks. That is exactly what it means to be a wallflower: to feel or be shy, and to feel awkward or excluded. Check, check, and check. That definition may as well have a picture of me next to it in the dictionary.
It’s dark. So irrevocably dark that not a trace of light shines through the heavy blackness, for where there is no light at all, midnight is everlasting. Suddenly, a light appears in the middle of this gloom, illuminating a large chunk of space. Through this illumination, a brick wall, worn over years of wear-and-tear from weathering and graffiti, can be seen, and a teenage girl as well. She is all alone, flying solo in an unforgiving world that reeks of death and tastes of despair.
Suddenly, people walk by. The girl waves to them, yells at them, but nobody hears her. Nobody notices the girl at all, her screams swallowed up by the thundering footsteps of the crowd. If only she had heeded their previous warnings, then maybe she wouldn't be in this mess...
Someday I hope to overcome this annoying characteristic of mine. Already I have branched out a little, become more outgoing at school, and have made many friends all by myself. I’m still a wallflower, and I constantly hear my father telling me, “Don’t be like me. Be more like your mother.” I listen, but it’s just so hard. Someday, though, I’ll change. Someday... But someday is a long ways away...
“You call it hope - that fire of fire! - It is but agony of desire: If I can hope - Oh God! I can -...I would not call thee fool...but such is not a gift of thine”(Poe).
The girl tentatively reaches out to them with a pale hand like porcelain, her long, slender fingers outstretched until they are grazing one passer by's shoulder...
And then they press up against an invisible barrier. “No!” the girl screams, her voice rising in terror. They had warned her about this. “No!” The glass wall surrounds her, blocking her from the outside world. She punches it with clenched hands, but not even a crack appears in the glass. She cradles her knuckles against her chest, the throbbing pain a small punishment for her ignorance.
The darkness that was her world slowly creeps into her isolated sector, and she screams out again. It pushes her against the brick wall, pushing her into it, suffocating her until hazy black spots fill her vision...
“Thy soul shall find itself alone ‘mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone - Not one, of all the crowd, to pry into thine hour of secrecy...” (Poe).
My someday is the day I have dreamed about since I was in third grade. My someday will come true, and I won’t let anyone stand in my way; I feel sorry for the fool who tries. My someday, that is the day when I will become a better version of myself, when I will no longer be a wallflower, but rather a rose blooming in the sunlight, beautiful in many ways, petals extended to the sun without a care in the world. My someday is the day when I will let go of the wall I have let be my guide, and I will fall. Only this time, I will not break. I will bounce back up, completely unscathed. That day, for me, is the day when I finally get published.
“From childhood’s hour I have not been as others were - I have not seen as others saw - I could not bring my passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken my sorrow; I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone; and all I lov’d - I lov’d alone” (Poe).
My biggest dream is to become an award-winning author. Writing is my life, and I love it with a burning passion. When I write, I come alive in the words I create, the worlds I bring to life pulling me in and becoming my escape from reality. They are the escapes that put me in a realm where I am in charge, where I decide who dies, who lives, and basically all the laws of the universe that apply. It is as close as I will ever get to an alternate dimension, and I love it to death.
Since I was young, words have been my best friend; I could spend hours locked in my bedroom - or, as my mother refers to it, my little Eiffel Tower - with the door shut, Pandora cranked up loud, notebook open to the blank pages that fill me with a fierce determination to cover their empty whiteness with curling lead characters. The words just seem to flow out of me like a fountain, and you would be amazed how much work I put into my tales, whether they be short stories, poetry, the beginnings of a novel, or simply random ideas I can’t wait to weave into an excitable tale. I go to bed at night with thoughts in my head, swirling around like the wisps of smoke from a crackling fire. Someday, all this hard work will finally pay off, and I vow to never give up, to never let anyone stand in my way, no matter how intimidating or formidable they are.
The girl wakes up, confused and dazed, confusion wrapping its raptor-like claws around her brain. It takes her a few minutes to remember the life she just destroyed by being so foolish and naive - her life. She sits in utter despair, tears trickling down her cheeks, getting caught in her eyelashes like so many snowflakes get caught on tree limbs.
And then the most curious thing occurs.
She looks up when a small but glaringly bright light burns her peripheral vision. She is blinded by the sheer beauty of the thing that has found its way into her dismal prison, words getting caught in her throat. For once in her life, she has absolutely nothing to say; words can't even explain how magnificent this thing is, however ironic that it may be.
As the light douses itself, she reaches out with a tentative hand and grasps the thing in her hands, clamping them shut like a child does when they've caught a firefly and doesn't want the creature to fly away. Cautiously, she cracks her palms open and peers inside with a single eye.
Her eye can’t believe what it sees.
“Words,” the girl whispers in wonderment. “Words...” And suddenly, she finds hope. Those precious words resting in her hands are to be her savior. With enough effort, those words could make her noticeable again; people would actually see her! They would save her from the dreadful prison she was locked up in, and she’d have a second-chance at the life she hadn't ever dreamed was possible. They would save her, and she’d no longer be merely a wallflower, overlooked by the world.
“I am an invisible man,” says Ralph Ellison. “I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” I am a wallflower, invisible, because people refuse to get to know me. But, hopefully, my someday will have them all swarming to get near me.
“Th’ undying voice of that dead time, with its interminable chime, rings, in the spirit of a spell, upon thy emptiness - a knell” (Poe).
Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah
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"The harder you work, the luckier you get." -Gary Player