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Once upon a time, there was a girl who was just starting to grow up, but she was very, very lonely, and very sad. All of her childhood friends had gone on to other things, she no longer had school, no college or university would take her, and no one would pay her to do the only thing she thought people would pay her to do. On top of that, she hated her own body and didn't know why, and she felt like no one would ever love her. So, she spent her days bored, lonely, and sad, doing little except wasting time, waiting for something interesting to happen in her life, or for some way to escape life as she knew it. Such things never happened.
One day, she heard about something that sounded like fun, and being the bored, lonely girl she was, she had plenty of time to look into it. She expected to see a bunch of people who had a weird hobby, but what she found was so much more. She found a world where everyone wanted to be her friend, where she could be whoever and whatever she wanted, and where she could escape her miserable, dull life, creating a new one however she wanted. She might even find love in this new world!
This new world brought her adventure, as well. It took her to far away cities for exciting events, where she was absolutely overwhelmed with new experiences and spontaneity. Where she had previously lived a predictable, pre-planned lifestyle, she now had excuses to drive hundreds of miles on a whim, for all the fun she could hope for, with little more than a few hours notice. And for a time, she was the happiest she had ever been.
Unfortunately, all this adventure led her to neglect her old life. For awhile, she lived with a boyfriend she could only have meaningful conversations with when they were immersed in her exciting alternate life. She held occasional jobs to pay for her alternate life, and still went into debt to go on adventures, but mostly spent the entirety of her time entrenched in her alternate life. When she wasn't immersed in that world, it was all she could think about, to the point that she considered leaving her real life entirely on multiple occasions.
But, her alternate life helped her through the dark times. It helped her discover why she hated her body so severely, so she could lay out a plan to fix it. It helped her meet more new friends than she could ever imagine, friends who cared only about who she truly was, and weren't interested in the layers of masks and bravado she created in her real life over the years to make it more bearable. And, most importantly, it helped her discover that she had creative talents that were worth more than she ever dreamed possible.
Strengthened by her alternate life, she set out on the greatest adventure of her entire life, a quest to seek out the sort of real life that she thought was only a dream. Equipped with a fraction of her belongings, she took the scariest step of her life, a step away from the safety net of her home. Surrounded by the incredibly deep love of the friends she met in her alternate life, her confidence blossomed, and she put her creative work in front of wealthy people, hoping that someone would pay her to pursue her passions. And, after several months of this quest, when her resources were dwindling, her quest paid off.
Suddenly, in her real life, she had more money and power than she ever dreamed possible, with more available in the future. Her real life was no longer painful to think about, it was something she was actually proud of. She had the money to go on more quests and adventures than she had time for. And, her friends from her alternate life were so proud of her, and so happy for her, that she cried for days just from the sheer, overwhelming joy surrounding her. Her alternate life brought her so much joy over the years, brought her true love in a way she never imagined even existing, and above all, it brought her the strength, courage, and ambition to turn her real life into something that didn't bring her pain. And it did all that without her having to pretend to be anything she wasn't. She didn't have to wear a mask with her friends, she could show everything in her heart, good and bad, and trust that they would love her with all their hearts, just as she loved them with all her heart.
But perhaps most importantly, she now knew that she didn't have to escape into her alternate life ever again, because for the first time in her life, she knew with certainty that she had the power to change her real life to look like what she truly wanted. And, in time, she knew that she no longer wanted to leave her real life. Instead, she knew with certainty that she could continue reshaping her real life, until it simply became her alternate life, without sacrificing any of her fun, or any of the love in her life.