“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ― Oscar Wilde
Even as a child I knew I was a dreamer. Maybe it was because Disney was telling every child that all their dreams and wishes could come true. Or because my teachers were always telling me to get my head out of the clouds, ( I apparently daydreamed too much), but for whatever reason I just knew. When most children my age were going to sleepovers and birthday parties, I was at home, in some quiet secluded place, with a book in my hands, imagining my next magical adventure. I dreamed of the places I would go, the people I would meet, the sights I would see. I dreamed of being a member of The Babysitters Club, what it would be like as a child in The Boxcar Children, and even how different my life would be if I lived with Ramona Quimby.
My earliest childhood book memory was when I was around seven years old. I lived in a small rural town that was lacking in the entertainment department, but we had one locally owned grocery store that supplied stamps for prizes according to how much money you spent on groceries. At one point the prizes offered were books, which were like winning the lottery for me. When my mom had a page of stamps filled up, she let me pick out a book for the prize. The book I decided on was The Wizard of Oz, such a classic in the eyes of a child.
Reading The Wizard of Oz opened my eyes to a whole new world. It was a world of magical adventures and fairytale characters. Oh, how I wanted to be Dorothy and wear the ruby red slippers. It didn’t even matter to me that a wicked witch was chasing her. I just felt that the world belonged to her at that moment. That is where I learned that women could rule the world with the right pair of shoes! I envied Dorothy for the freedom she had, the friends she met along the way, and the adventures that she owned. But by the end of the book, I felt a little homesick for Dorothy, and that is when I realized that books were the gateway to the world. See, like Dorothy, I could also have freedom, new friends, and grand adventures, and when I began to feel homesick, just like Dorothy, instead of clicking my heels, I could close my book and come back to reality.
From that point on, books inspired me to set goals for myself, to achieve my dreams, but, most importantly, with books I learned my identity. Stories taught me who I was and who I wasn’t, but could also give me a break from my identity when I wanted it; I could be anybody I wanted to be. I could be Stephanie Hirsch learning how to be coming of age in the Judy Blume novel Just as Long as We’re Together. I could be Mary Lennox skipping rope and stumbling upon The Secret Garden. And when I wanted to go to a magical world unlike anything I had ever known, all I would need to do was open the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I would automatically transport into a land where reality was just a distant memory.
So yes, I may be a dreamer (as many still point out), but I would rather be a dreamer and leave this world with a life full of magical adventures than to leave this world with a life full of regrets.