My Imaginary Friend Helped Me Become Who I Am

Most people grow up going to school and making friends, some more so than others. I have always been a social butterfly, so I know a lot of people and I always have a good handful of close friends. However, that wasn’t always the case. I used to have one friend who was only there for me and who I was only able to talk to -- an imaginary friend.

Now, I know having imaginary friends sounds kind of weird, but it is actually more normal than you think. The American Psychological Association said in a journal it is estimated that more than 65% of kids who are of school age have an imaginary friend. I am definitely part of that 65%.

I can’t remember when I started talking to my imaginary friend, but I have memories of her from before I started school. I never really had a vision in my head of this imaginary friend nor a name I associated with her. All I knew was that my imaginary friend was a female and she had wild, bright orange, curly hair and olive skin. 

My memories I have of my imaginary friend were always of when I was alone. If I had no one to talk to or I was bored or even in a pickle of a situation, I would talk to her. Sometimes I played dolls with her, asking what she wanted her doll to wear or what kind of story she wanted to play out that day. Sometimes she was my dance partner when I was listening to Beyonce and performing in front of a sold-out arena. Sometimes she was the only person I could talk to when I was stressed with a difficult decision or situation. She was always there for me and would always have the perfect thing to say.

Looking back, I don’t believe I had an imaginary friend because I was lonely. Like I said before, I had lots of friends and I would always have my closest ones at my house to play with. But upon reflecting on this childhood ‘friend,’ I have come to realize that my imaginary friend was actually me. She was my gut, my truest self, my heart, and my soul. She was everything I am today. I didn’t realize at the time how insecure I was about my decisions or situations, but she was always there to help me through them. Nowadays, I am still insecure about my decisions and I'm stressed about my situations, but I listen to my gut and I know if I follow it, I will make the best decision I can. 

All in all, imaginary friends aren’t bad or something to be embarrassed about. They don’t prove that you were lonely or had little friends. Imaginary friends are whoever you want and need them to be. For me, my olive-skinned, curly-haired imaginary friend was my soul, my gut, my heart telling me what to do. She taught me how to trust and believe in myself. 

Photo by Prateek Katyal from Pexels