Just a little thing that I wrote for a competition, but I didn't end up submitting it. Guess I got a bit scared - stupid me! I hope that those ho read this can find that they can relate to it in some way, and that, just maybe, others know of what I speak and what I want.

Looking In.

Have you ever felt as if you were not in control of yourself? As if you were someone else, standing on the outside, looking in? If, even just once you have felt this way, then you will know of what I speak, and you will know of the lessons learnt after experiencing such a thing.

For as long as I can remember, my life was a parade of endless social events. I succumbed blindly to the seductive pull of advertising; buy this, see that, BE this. Like most people, I obliged; not thinking twice and thus letting such folly rule my life and existence. Worse still, I let them become my life.

They became everything; if I were stressed I would shop, if I were bored I would listen to music, and most importantly, if I wanted to escape the pressures of reality I would see a movie. I let the visualizations and audio effects slowly consume me, pulling me into that world until I believed that I was there, in what I thought to be a better place.

That was my life. My life was something created, something false and yet something spectacular. I would attend school, but really I was not there. Instead I was racing away in a fast car, fighting long dead mummies or on a valiant quest to destroy a ring and save the world. I became someone else, residing outside my so-called life and watched as my corporeal body did that which was expected. Yet my mind retaliated, begging not to have to be placed within that daily routine.

Days turned into weeks, weeks to months and months to years, and still I stood outside myself, watching my life fade and pass me by as the years started to reflect upon my face. By day I would do as I was bid to do. I would turn up to my classes, I would do my studies and I would fight the battle within myself, trying to crush down the need to be somewhere else.

But at night, well, that's when my mind would finally gain control. I would and could be anything I wished. I could be fighting aliens, or a vampire that could walk within the light of the sun. I could be thousands of years old, or I could be but a child, lost and seeking it's mothers comforting arms.

These feelings of being elsewhere were my salvation, the reason that I continued on with the day's tasks. But I was soon to realize that that was not the thing I loved most of these games in my head. I loved the fact that I was in control. No one could tell me what to do, or how to do it unless I willed them too, and even then, they were only characters within my head, non-existent. If they gained the upper hand or scared me too much, I could extinguish them like one would a burning candle. I was in control and that was all that mattered.

The troubles and tribulations of the day would slip away, be lost in the fog that shrouded the real word in which I was no longer a part. I could be anywhere and everywhere, anyone I chose to be, and even those that I did not for the sake of gaining access into their thoughts. I would be the one calling the shots and the one giving the orders. I was in control - the type that was both physical as well as mental.

Throughout the day, I was also in control, but not as I would have wished. For the daytime I created a mental mask, something that separated me from everything and stood as a barrier between how I felt and how I reacted to such events. It shielded me well by not allowing anyone to get close and I liked the safety that it provided. Indeed it was lonely, but in the long run it spared me from the hurt that could only be inflicted by a loved one - or one thought loved - as they did not understand the real me.

This barrier was my savior, my protector and my own personal champion. No one could beat it; no one could knock it from its well-grounded position in front of me, or even scale its walls. So strong it was, that, even if I wanted to do so, I could not have overcome it and seen it defeated.

It was the thing that made me like everyone else, that showed that I was and felt just as the next. Yet I knew that that was not true, for I, behind this mask, was someone else completely different. Soon the mindless chatter of the newest c.d., or the latest colour of the season began to have little impact on me. It was all meaningless and boring compared to the world within my own thoughts.

No one knew the real me, the girl within the fortified walls. I could smile through a million tears that were silently being shed on the inside and make people see me as this girl that lived within a golden world, full of light and happiness. But that was not the real me, not the me that was hidden deep, deep inside, begging for release.

Darkness was my curse, to only be happy when I could not be me, and that was only in the dead of the night. As a way of savoring the feelings that came at this time, of making my characters real and my dreams a reality, I began to write them. To breathe life into my thoughts, to shape them into words that would eventually become solid figures, moving on the page for all to see. Conversations in my head became whispered words of encouragement on the page. The day's experiences became twisted into the elaborate plots of the written world I had created. Emotions ruled all, making it real yet a different form of reality then that which was normal and expected.

The things that I had hidden inside me for so long became known to all. I was standing there with the remnants of my crumbled defenses about my feet and was utterly exposed for all to bleed as they wished. They could say what they liked, but never could they take my heart and mind from me, nor could they bring me to my knees. I was what I was, just as people were what they were, and if they cared to look down on me for my differences, then I would look down on them for their similarities.

Some said that I was simply dreaming, letting my imagination run wild and that I would never have a chance to write, to engulf myself completely within my own world. But others, very few others, seemed to understand, for they too shared the same thoughts, and fought the same battle for the right to be free and to do as they wished. They became my friends, people that I was like, yet people that were utterly different from me. Sure, they still talked of music, of clothes and of fashion, as did I, yet it was not so mindless and it no longer ruled us. They, as well as I, know knew that there was more to life than keeping up with the Joneses and we were more then willing and able to embrace it.

I became happy, fulfilled and whole. My mind was in control and within myself again and I had achieved that perfect balance between what was and what could be. I could stand there, studying others for inspiration and I could see what they could not. I became aware - like a sixth sense - of their minds, standing quietly outside of themselves, waiting for their chance to be free to do as they pleased. And until that opportunity came, they would wait, watch, dream, and always be looking in.