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The Negligence Of Reality
By Danielle Johnson, Seycove Secondary School, North Vancouver, BC

--"I respectfully decline the invitation to join your hallucination"--

Reality: more of a concept than a word really, a concept that society seems to want to diminish, to ignore and overlook. We do so with our creations of science fiction blockbusters, fantasy novels and outlandish tales of fictionist lives. The most influential cohorts of society feed the populace with images of imaginary creatures, mystic lands and bizarre concepts on life and mankind. We must learn to tailor our concepts to fit reality, instead of trying to stuff reality into our concepts. Reality has become the unknown, the feared and the evil of our time. Society has become increasingly eager to push reality aside and fill it with supernatural tendencies. All the aspects of reality: school, work, love, pain, happiness and money, to name a few, have been created by the very society that now fears them. As the plots to our imaginary fantasy lands thicken, reality is just going to wait for us on the other end, and there is only so far a mentality of imagination can take you in our contemporary society. "I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it," I was once told, and at first, I believed it. Could life be more fulfilling looking at it through the eyes of fantasy, with majestic creatures, perfect love, thoughts of fame and fortune, or would it just leave me to be naive and unable to cope in the "real world," when it finally comes around to haunt me?

The taste of reality can be a rather bitter one, but yet it is a taste that is so inevitable to our lives. Everyday reality touches us in a variety of ways, such as a news report on a fallen soldier in the Middle East, or a friend who was hurt in a car accident. Notice how both these incidents are negative ones. The irony is if I mentioned your boyfriend professing his love to you, or you winning money in a contest, both supposed outcomes of reality, but rather perceived by society as elements of fantasy, as they are both positive incidents. Positive events in life have become detached from feelings of reality; only negativity is posed as true reality. "Well back to reality," one mutters after a week's vacation, knowing that work and daily routine are waiting for them at home. Common comments such as these have shown how reality has become such an unwanted aspect of our lives, but isn't reality - life? Without reality there would be no certainty or truth to our lives, our world, our society. The truth of the matter is society has formed such a negative image towards all the true aspects of life (work, school, family etc.) that it has caused us to fall deeper and deeper into lives of depression, unhappiness and denial. I feel that the key to true happiness is accepting reality and realism, the good and the bad, and becoming true to yourself and your life, not hiding behind walls of imagination and fantastical fictions.

Accepting the truest reality of life is a difficult task in our world of sugarcoated catch phrases, generic psychobabble, bright lights and false promises of wealth and happiness. I have found that surrounding myself with people who I know are not only true to themselves, but true to others, keeps my mentality grounded. Finding just one influential person to show you the light in dark situations can help you grasp the realities of your life. Once you can grasp these realities, you can overcome such devastation and destruction with a grounded state of mind. Almost any experience can be turned into a lesson learned, or can be accepted as an element of life. Seizing life for what it is, not for what you wish it to be, can be more fulfilling than spending your days praying for a different sequence of events, whether it be not breaking up with your boyfriend, not having a certain colour of hair, or not having that fight with your mom. Understanding the raw, pure concepts of your life can help create a familiar surrounding for yourself, whereas wishing for another life, will only leave you uncertain and jumbled in our fast-paced society where it is so important to know yourself, your friends and have your feet firmly planted on the ground. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. Reality will always be facing us, why deny it the justice it deserves? Though we have become distracted with the artificial creations of fabricated happiness, we must find purities to life and the happiness we all deserve to encompass.

Our so-called civilization has painted over the realities of ourselves with establishments of fake lives. We cover our flaws with plastic surgeries, we cover our pollution with excuses, we cover our faults with lies and we cover our unhappiness with consumerism. What would become of us as complete individuals if we were to just accept the imperfections of our skin, the inhabitants of man on our earth, the debts we owe and the daily problems we face? Personally, I believe if we were to accept these, take them for what they are, and believe in taking the negativity in our life and turning it into something real and positive, such as a friendship, or influencing others by sharing the trials and tribulations of life, society would have a much better grasp on the concept of reality, rather than consuming themselves in imaginary lives and broken hopes. The desensitization to what's real and what's not in our society has completely caused mankind to scramble for an answer to life. We haven't acknowledged reality, and the result of this is the absurd and bizarre concepts of what reality is. For example, the concept of The Matrix, our mindset is so distorted to the meaning of reality, that now we are trying to explain reality with fantasy. We are trying to define reality with fantasy- and this is what will cause our world to become numb to the realism of life.

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality. Finding the fundamentals of actuality, accepting the bad, believing the good, and not escaping to supernatural lives, will help us learn who we are, why we are here and how to achieve happiness with our given circumstances. Though, I believe I am not one to yet have fully discovered happiness, or have come to fully accept the realities of my life, I believe with every obstacle I am given, I will learn to embrace it as a learning experience, and not try to overlook it and reassure myself with mindless banter, such as "life is unfair," and "it happens to the best of us." Creating a world where reality is a goal, not a fear and where realism is urged upon us, not imaginary fantasy lands, will strengthen the mind, and the life that mind possesses.


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