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Apr 2015
When I was younger, I had this wild imagination that never stopped. I was constantly dreaming, constantly in a whole different world. This imagination was born out my hopeless desire for all things unrealistic and this burning determination to always be the best. See, if I was a princess for the day then you can bet I was the best **** princess around. No princess was nicer, more beautiful or more desperate for a prince than me.

And this imagination really helped me because inside my head, I’ve always felt lived all these different people. Now these people all look like me because they are me but all of them have polar opposite personalities. They all represent all the different personalities I have. And in this world I created they would all meet together and sit around a table at a tea party and talk and debate with each other. And this escape was crucial to my childhood because I was the kid who always failed personality tests. Now how this was possible, I wasn’t sure. I was always the last to finish them because each question was like its own test to me. One answer never applied because it was either all of the answers or none of them. When I finally submitted the test the results would always come up as “not available” or “try again.” And for so long, I wanted to know what personality type I was but I was never able to fit into these boxes that people had created. And when you’re in middle school, all you ever want to do is fit into this box. A box.

And I always had a hard time with the saying, “Be true to yourself!” Because I never understood which “self” they were talking about and I still don’t understand what that means actually.

But in my world, there were no personality types or “self-s” because all of my “me-s” got to be whoever they wanted to be. And there was no confusion or embarrassment or suppressing any of the people who lived inside me. And when I was meeting all the different people in my head I got to experience all the different aspects of me that when I was around people, I tried to hide because not all of them were “nice” and “polite.”

And while I got to know all these people, I realized that all of my stronger personalities were the rebellious, outspoken and not really “socially acceptable” ones. And during these encounters I realized that one was very ******. Now no one knows me as a “******” person or whatever that might mean. And my whole life I’ve struggled with trying to conceal this person inside me because I grew up in this environment that was scared of women sexuality. The church I grew up in, the youth group there had this, “*** outside of marriage will **** you” policy and only marriage *** is good *** and everything else is the devil and you will blow up if you have other ***. Now ironically, we had three girls in my youth group get pregnant that year which destroyed this perception of *** outside of marriage makes you blow up that I had, had. And it began this process of my really beginning to understand my sexuality, and not in the sense of like, feminist, claiming my body, I-can-do-whatever- I-want sexuality, but understanding what I liked and what I found attractive and really beginning to comprehend this personality that I never thought I was aloud to talk about. This environment that my youth group had created made me believe that I wasn’t aloud to have this personality, which was really hard for me because I thought, “well if this person is bad, then who else inside of me should I never show?”

And I began, “experimenting” I guess you could say—secretly—and I discovered at thirteen while I loved kissing boys that was all I liked. I remember the first time a guy wanted to do something more than kiss and I was utterly traumatized and confused. And while I loved one aspect of sexuality I realized that *** itself, absolutely repulsed me. Like the idea of seeing a boy naked terrorized me and thinking about being that vulnerable and open around another human being had no appeal to me whatsoever and it wasn’t until I was seventeen actually that the idea of *** actually had an appeal to it. Now I never told anyone this because I thought that this wasn’t normal at all and I wasn’t aloud to talk about it. I saw all these girls around me having *** and talking about it and I just sat there like a lost sheep trying to imagine it and wanting to curl into the fetal position.

And to this day, this idea of being so open about sexuality is so foreign to me. And along with discovering this, I also discovered that I loved being rebellious and taking a stand and “fighting for justice.” Now this was absolutely contrary to what I had been taught. I was taught to respect any authority figure no matter how dumb they were. And this concept was just mind boggling because while I had this intense need to please people and be the favorite, I also had this insane impulse to constantly question and debate authority. Which, this ended up being a game to me because I got so good at “respectfully” being a rebel—or a **** in my teachers eyes—that none of them could punish me but they would groan as I walked into the classroom. Now not being the favorite was a totally new concept to me that was introduced in high school, and I struggled for a long time with this idea that I couldn’t be this strong questioning person who couldn’t be concealed. I was constantly getting in debates with my mom or family members over “knowing your place as a teenager” which to me is the dumbest excuse for anything. Nothing ****** me off more than that saying because they act as if I’m less of a person with less of an opinion because I was a teenager. And this idea that this personality wasn’t aloud to be created one of the biggest internal conflicts I’ve ever experienced. Because while one person in me desired to please, this rebellious person was quickly taking over and I was testing out the “be true to yourself” philosophy.

For so long, I believed I shouldn’t have all these different personalities and I tired to tailor to the ones which people liked more while trying (and failing) to ignore the ones that people didn’t. And for so long, I believed that I was the only person with this problem and it wasn’t until way later in life that I realized that everyone has all these different personalities inside them. We are taught that we have to choose who we are and be “true to that self” when in reality, that is about as wrong as it gets. We are told to whom we are supposed to be true to without being given any room to test who we are and figure out which sides of us need to be let out. And don’t give each other the room to change everyday and to allow each person inside of us the room to breathe.

So my challenge is to be true to your imagination, because that’s where you get to discover all that’s inside you. And once you begin allowing yourself to be all the personalities that live inside you, you get to experience all the different aspects of life and this world that you need to. Hiding from these people inside you only makes them louder. So go on, give it a try.
Savannah Charlish
Written by
Savannah Charlish  20/F/Portland, OR
(20/F/Portland, OR)   
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