The Daydreamer

As far as column names go, The Daydreamer is probably as perfect as it gets for me. I have always been that kid with my head in the clouds. When I was supposed to be paying attention to long division, I was developing my latest story ideas or pondering moral dilemmas instead. I always thought this world that lived inside my head was the best place for me; a special hidden nook in the recesses of my mind. It didn’t have all the negative aspects of life, and I was in full control of what happened.

MEANING BEHIND NAME: In this column, I discuss the meaning behind the Daydreamer and what the name has taught me. (Photo courtesy of Karuna Chandran)

One day while we were supposed to be preparing for our school Halloween party, my fourth-grade teacher was trying to get me to concentrate on the task at hand, but my brain was elsewhere, floating along the surface of Mars or time traveling with my favorite book characters. It took her three tries just to get me to even hear her, but when I finally looked up, her eyes flashed with concern. 

Though my memories of elementary school are a hazy tinge, I remember the question she asked me clear as day: when it counted, how did she ever know she would be able to reach me if I was always stuck in my own head? 

I had always been proud to be my own person with a secret universe stashed in my brain, it made me feel unique. But I had never paused to consider that this personal world was preventing me from living in the real one. Instead of being so focused on how I felt, if I just paused for a second to listen to others around me, how much more would I learn? 

I became a better friend to those around me as I was much more attuned to their emotions and able to support them on a deeper level. I was able to ask them about their day versus being stuck on my own. I was able to understand different perspectives and from that was better able to understand myself. 

I still very much am that dreamer from my childhood days. I still write stories in my head I will never say out loud and imagine the infinite ways my life could go, that will never change. But I also take some time to look up at the sky and take in the serene view, sit quietly and really hear others, and learn not just about the future, but my place in it.