Pray tell, what do you think a child dreams of? Perhaps they wonder what it's like to soar through the sky? Or they dream of exploring the infinite universe? Or maybe they think about what growing up feels like? Each child has their own dreams and wonders, their own desires and destinies that they wish to pursue. So why is it that, in a world where following ones dreams is a universal goal, very few manage to get there? I'll tell you why. These dreams children often have, dreams that make them smile and excited for the next day to come as they rest their heads for the evening, are crushed by those who had their own desires smashed to bits in front of their very eyes. We dream to be whatever we desire before those wishes are blown to dust, and then we grow up only to do the same to our own children. Why does this cycle of misery continue so often? Why is it so hard to break this link, this chain, that holds many of us down? I once dreamed of many things. I wanted to be a ballet dancer, then a singer, then a firefighter, then an artist, and then soldier working to protect my country. All of those dreams were decimated by my family. I understood well enough that they had good intentions, and their reasoning was everything but illogical (we are too poor to pick ourselves up after the fall after all). However, everything has become different for me now. I fear of the future, and my desires are unclear. Do I chose what is best for my family's sake, as well as my own, or do I follow my heart's true wishes and let my dreams guide me through the rocky stream of life? Do I work simply for the pay so I can live a better life, or do I work because I enjoy it and love doing what I accomplish? My life has made it all hard to choose. I had grown up believing that I can only have one, not the other, and thus cannot formulate a plan to achieve both goals. Even in writing--for I once shared my desire with my brother only for him to tell me I could not simply because I couldn't earn enough money unless I had plenty of wealth and connections at my disposal, in which I had neither nor--I know not whether to pursue this dream or to abandon it like all the others. My love for stories, helping others in need, children, and the creatures of this planet that we hold so dearly to our hearts is what drives me to pursue these careers. Yet, the need to do better than those before me who did not go to college, who had children at a younger age than they should have, and are still too poor and can barely afford rent every month drives me to pursue careers I have no interest in whatsoever. My whole life I have been stuck in this infinite loop of choices, deciding the pros and cons of each path, and I still have not found my way. Now here I am, a junior in high school almost ready to leave for college, and I still have the same broken mentality of my younger self. The version of me who could not decide for herself, and thus let others do it for her because it made them happy. The version of me who did what she desired in secret and was forced to wear a mask around her own flesh and blood. The version of me who at a young age continued to foolishly follow her heart only to have it broken again and again, over and over, until she could take no more and grew a lust for revenge against her transgressors. The version of me who was once so innocent and so pure, and who is now nothing more than a walking sag of flesh waiting until the day she can finally rest and leave this world behind forever, relieving her of all that has saddened and angered her for decades. So, again, I ask of you: what do you think a child dreams of? Space? Love? Adventure? Well, one thing is certain. This child here dreams of being herself again. She dreams of freedom, true love, and a happy life. It matters not to her how she gets there. She cares not if she is poor or rich. She cares not if she has a 3-acre mansion in LA or lives in a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. The only thing she cares about is finally being happy again. That is her childhood dream.