Everyone has things about them, whether it be habits, thoughts, or memories that they keep hidden. Things that they don’t tell anyone, because it’s either embarrassing or they’re afraid of what people will think of them. Some don’t even notice that these things are different than other people’s, as they forget to reflect on the fact that it isn’t just them.
Yes, it isn’t just you, sitting and staring at your screen to read this. There was the moment in history that I, C. Marie Bohley, sat at her computer typing this. She looked down at her keyboard and poured her heart onto it. She wasn’t even sure what she was going to write, just that she wanted to say some of the things she thought people needed to hear. Some of the things you think and don’t say, some of the feelings that have been controlling your life.
Isn’t it strange to think that it isn’t just you? That while you view the world with your own perspective, while you have your own thoughts and memories and values and dreams other people possess their own? Isn’t it weird to imagine that while your vision is trained on a computer or phone or tablet, someone else is seeing something completely different?
It’s nice, that a whole brain and body can belong entirely to you. That you can have your own view of the world, hold your own opinions and talents. That your unique voice and perspective is different than anyone else’s.
But it can also make people ignorant. It can make you value your own life above someone else’s. That’s why you should try to see the world through other people’s eyes. It took me so many years to understand this, and it still it slips my mind sometimes. That’s why I like to remind myself that there is a whole world full of ‘me’s‘ and ‘i’s’.
While you’re sleeping, someone’s feeling pain. While you’re happy, someone’s afraid. When you feel confident, someone feels lost. When you feel lonely, someone feels loved.
I like to look around at other people when I walk down the street, trying to imagine what’s going on in their lives now. I wonder what makes them happy, who they love, what big events are coming up in their lives.
I remember something from four or five years ago that stuck with me. I was at a library, and outside of the bathroom I saw a young woman crying and talking into her phone. I was probably eleven or twelve, and I didn’t realize that you shouldn’t just stare at people. I was wondering what she was upset about. I was thinking about how I could go and give her a hug and touch her life, and afterward felt strange about that. I realized that she wouldn’t want some random little girl coming up and hugging her, but then, what would have been different if I had?
I’ll never know why she was crying, or what resulted from it. And I’ll never know how things would have been different if I’d done something other than gape at her.
The little things we do affect our lives and others lives so much. To this day, I have trouble making little decisions (which muffin should I get?) because I don’t know what will come from it.
Now I want to share something that’s really important to me, almost more than anything else.
I know, that sounds weird. Let me elaborate.
I’ve always been a dreamer. A writer. A reader. I like to pick up books and go to other worlds, watch movies and let them carry me away. I daresay I like made-up characters more than I like most people. I’m not even an introvert, I don’t think. I’ve always been fairly outgoing, though I’ve become a bit shyer over the past few years.
It’s just, sometimes when I’m really stressed out or I feel alone, I imagine that my favorite characters are really there in their own worlds, living their lives. I imagine that those other worlds really do exist, and sometimes I collect all of my brain power and I try to bring them to me. Or, usually, I try to bring myself there. I look at things like keys and mirrors and wonder ‘what if it’s a gateway to another world?’ Or I wonder if this life is a dream and my real life is in Middle Earth, or some other fantasy world.
Some nights I dream about those places, and when I wake up I cry. Because it was so good to live in those worlds. Sometimes when I’m really sad about something or angry, I let the tears find me and I pray hard to God to give me an adventure to go on, to let me meet people who will change my life. Because the life I lead is a waiting game, waiting and waiting until it really begins.
Other days I see how big my life already is. I see how full of opportunities the world is. I see that all the fantasy I need is in books, and those are what make my world larger.
I realize that the characters portrayed in books possess qualities that real people have. The bravery that I admire, the courage of fighting dragons and going on journeys through unexplored lands, the love, and ambition that drives them… it’s all in human nature. I can find those things in real, living, breathing people.
Perhaps there aren’t fire-breathing dragons in this world, but there are similar things that people must fight. And when you show people you care about them, when you take on their burdens or hold their hand so they can more easily carry it, that makes all the difference. Because it makes you the hero in their story.
I’m still learning every day to think of others besides myself, and to live in the real world. To see it for all it is, glorified and so beautiful, for it has been shaped by the hands of God.
Maybe I still adore the mystical realms and characters that I read and write in fantasy, but that doesn’t mean I should shut out the real world. Because it’s meant to be lived.
I am C. Marie Bohley. I’m a fifteen-going-on-sixteen-year-old girl with a lot more talents than she deserves, an amazing family, and a whole world beneath my feet. I’m writing my own story day by day, step by step. I’m meeting the characters who make it up, growing resilient to the plot twists of life, and just living.
Live your life. Dream your dreams. Don’t let anyone tear you down, because you are Strong. You make your own character. You choose what you do, what you say, and who you are. Truly, you are incredible.