I feel most like me when I'm walking with my headphones in, listening to good music and heading toward the nearest coffee shop, my mind abuzz with all the ideas I'm accumulating, preparing to lay them all out on the blank, white page of my prized notebook.

I feel most like me when I'm lying in my bed beneath the window, staring up at the night sky and searching for constellations. I don't know very many of them and I know that even before I began - pretty much the only constellation I can ever find is Orion, but I look anyway, and I think about how far away the stars are, how vast the universe is, and I think about the incredibly unlikely thrill it is just to exist.

I feel most like me when I'm watching a movie or reading a book that I love, that I care about, filled with worlds and people that I want to know and hope for the best for. When I'm indulging in a Harry Potter binge, or watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or even just rambling on about Batman. These universes have somehow crept inside my soul, after all, and they are a part of me that I just can't separate myself from, not completely. And I wouldn't want to anyway.

I feel most like me when I'm writing, and writing well. When hours pass and I haven't even noticed them. When my hand tingles pleasantly and I don't know why, maybe because it's been in motion for so long, and suddenly my head breaks through the surface and I'm back in my reality, in a world that I didn't create but wherein I can create worlds. Wherein I have that power.

I feel most like me when I'm forced to get creative with costumes. When I have to find a way to make an ordinary shirt look like it's been through the zombie apocalypse, or when I'm given a pile of feathers and beads and told to make something of them. When I'm playing around with make-up, trying to find a way to make myself look like a 1950's pinup girl, an Amazon warrior, a pagan goddess. I feel most like me when I'm dressing up as someone else.

I feel most like me when I have time to think, to wonder about the world, to try to figure something out even if I know I won't. Why does this person feel that way? What function does this serve in society? Is that really how things are, or is that just how tradition tells us they should me? I come up with questions and I think them through and I try to answer them, even if my answer isn't the only answer. Even if my answer isn't even correct, and I change my mind about it later.

I feel most like me when I'm free to be creative, when I'm uninhibited and thinking critically. I feel most like me when I don't have the weight of the world weighing me down, telling me how to think and what to do. And I don't want to lose sight of any of that. I don't want to lose track of who I am as I head out into this massive world and try to find my way in it. I want to always be me, no matter where I am or what it costs me.

Published by Ciara Hall