I’m not the person I used to be. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I don’t know if I’m supposed to pretend that everything is ok or let people know how I feel. If I pretend everyone thinks I’m happy and that everything’s perfect. If I let them know they’ll pester me on why when I can’t put it into words. Maybe if I tell them they’ll send me to a shrink. Then my shrink will think I’m depressed and put me on happy pills. I wouldn’t be able to handle that! I am only 15 years old. I should be happy and free flowing. I’m not, though. I feel like I’m swimming in a pool with a ball and chain attached to my ankle and no one’s around to see me. I’m on a downhill slope that only gets steeper. People say I live in a fantasy world, but I don’t. I see the world for what it really is, and try to find an escape. If that means thinking up some elaborate fictional life in my head for inspiration to write about my favorite things, so be it. Or, if that means I live in a world of fantasy books and sci-fi movies and tv shows where the guys are hotter than the sun, but I know better than to think I could ever know them to the point I consider them family. I know better than to think my fantasies will come true. I live in the real world. The world where dreams have become an endangered species, and the people who chase them are far and few between. The world where little kids know Santa isn’t real before they’ve hit grade school. So, yes I fake through life and throw on a smile to make people happy, but I have my escape. I always will. Criticize me if you want, but don’t you dare tell me I don’t live in this thing you call a real world. Because I do. I live in the real world and it’s bringing me down. I have an advantage, though. I can get out. Can you?