"Why don't people care about me more?"

A question I already know the answer to. A question I'm afraid to say out loud. A question that haunts me and escapes my interest at the same time.

Apart of me wants to be the queen of all things. Grabbing life by the lapels, dancing in the spotlight, captivating anyone who gets even the slightest taste of me.

But another part of me wants to do nothing and be nothing. Just getting by, sleeping, eating, indulging in things that I enjoy like video games, film, fashion, and more capitalistic greed.

Instead, I live in between these two states of mind. And that, my friends, is the reason why I get nowhere.

How can you crave applause with such intense stage fright? How can you win a trophy if you never even run the race? How can you expect praise when you're hiding under the covers in your bedroom?

It's quite hilarious, actually. Logic does not escape me. In fact, I know exactly what I need to do to "bop to the top." I also know exactly what to do to live the ideal American life. Instead, I'm existing in the purgatory of lifestyles.

Provincial life is terrifying yet it's also kind of the American dream. We all like to pretend we want to be adventure addicts, waking up in a different state every other weekend, never knowing where our next experience will take us. But most of us spend out days doing errands in our 2006 Honda accord. We wake up, we work, and then we rush home to watch Netflix and eat Chinese takeout.

I'm trying to figure out how to do both. I'm in no rush. I mean, I'm only 21-years-old, right? Unfortunately, when your social identity isn't clear, you quickly escape the minds of those around you which has been sort of difficult for me. I can't complain about it though, because I do it to myself.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast spent her entire childhood in a small town wanting so much more. "I want much more than this provincial life," she sings beautifully in "Belle."(I'm talking the Paige O'Hara and Susan Egan Belle, not the trash Emma Watson one.) 

Then, once she found herself trapped inside of Beast's castle, she discovered that provincial life isn't always the worst thing in the world. At least it's home. At least you're around those you love. At least you're safe. Being trapped inside a dark castle might be adventurous and spontaneous, but it sure as hell isn't home. 

"What I'd give to return to the life that I knew lately / and to think I complained of a dull, provincial town," she sings in the Broadway version. 

Spoiler alert: Belle eventually ends up finding that "homey" feeling while living her not-so-convential life, mainly thanks to the adorable enchanted objects. But is that possible in the real world? Can you mix provincial life with an over-the-top, adventurous lifestyle? 

I see myself in Belle for that exact reason. She's always been true to herself, right? And while she spent most of her life not fitting in, she eventually found her place in the world. She's managed to balance everyday life with a life of adventure. I don't think I've figured out how to do that yet. Because of that, I'm not Belle. Instead, I'm villager #14. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in the background of my own life, you know? How can people notice me if I don't see even myself as the starring role of my life? How can people care about me if they don't even know who I am?

I am Maria Elena. While I know who I am, I don't know how I fit into the outside world. But you know what? That's okay. I'm not living "happily in my own little world" for nothing.

One day I'll figure out how Maria Elena fits inside the outside world. And if I don't, who gives a flying fuck y'all.


Maria Elena

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