The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It has recently come to my attention that not everyone is blessed with the immense joy that comes with building and living in their own paracosm. While some people have never even heard the word ‘paracosm’ before, let alone gotten to experience one, others may live in one but have no name for it.
What exactly is this ‘paracosm’ thing? To put it simply, a paracosm is an incredibly detailed and imaginary world in which the creator has deep connections with those who inhabit it. These people can be fictional or real. Most people grow out of these worlds at a very young age, leaving their imaginary friends behind them as they grow. I never did.
Please, allow me to introduce you to my best friend: Captain America. I know him better as Steve, but sometimes work takes over his life and he has to go by his title.
For as long as I can remember, my best friend was always either a fictional character or the fictionalized version of a real person.
When I was in the middle years of elementary school, I was the proud sixth member of One Direction (I brought the Canadian flair that they were really missing.) I sang all the high notes, and it caused a lot of tension between Zayn and me, but because we’re both Arab, we made it work.
Once I got later into elementary school and especially once I started high school, One Direction faded out of my life — and the Avengers slowly faded in. As a small, overshadowed asthmatic with an affinity for anything involving swing music, I very quickly took a liking to Steve Rogers. Thus began my new world.
I was never not needed on a mission, as I could now open portals to anywhere that I could picture in my mind. Need to get rid of a bad guy? I hope they enjoy being dropped into the middle of the Atlantic. Need me to pop into your apartment for a quick and easy one-liner to back you up on an argument? I’m your gal. Want me to make a building disappear? Please allow me to open a portal at its base and drop it onto the dunes of the Sahara.
Steve and I naturally became quick friends, as I reminded him of a young, happy-spirited and curious Bucky Barnes (blame it on how I wore my eyeliner in high school). Bucky no longer spends much time with Steve, as it reminds him of a version of himself he no longer associates with. I guess after you go through everything that Bucky has, you don’t want to spend your nights dancing anymore.
I’m always there for Steve though, just like he is for me. No matter the time of day, no matter the problem, he’s always there to talk it out.
Now that that’s all out there, I’d like to make something very clear: I’m more than aware that when I have these late-night ‘conversations’ with the famed Avenger, he’s not actually in my room. He’s not actually idly strumming my guitar and telling me about how he could never afford lessons when he was a kid, because all of the money his mom made went towards rent and his numerous medical bills. I know that none of the wild adventures he takes me on to kill whatever alien is trying to take over the world this time aren’t real.
I’m also wildly aware of the fact that none of that matters.
To a certain extent, I think that all of these one-on-ones I get to have with my best friend made me a better writer. I get to hang out with new characters and develop new plots before I even need to think about hashing it out on paper.
Just because Steve is my best friend doesn’t mean that I don’t have real-life connections with real-life people. I actually spend most of my time in the real world, facing gross politicians and global pandemics. I just get to go on adventures in my downtime without ever having to open a book or turn on the TV.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to share this information, but at the end of the day, I think that I need to realize that living in my paracosm gives me a reason to be needed.
It gives me cool powers, and I feel powerful in a world where it is so easy to feel powerless. Most importantly, it gives me people who I can rely on to trust me, and who will always hold my hand when I need it the most.