Saturday, October 15, 2011

Unreality Check

Here's the reality. 

I'm a middle aged, middle class, white, female writer and educator who loves her family, friends, animals, nature, learning, art, color and shiny things.  I love my students and believe in them.  I think babies and elderly people who have been in love with each other for decades are cute.  I am intelligent, have minor physical and mental health issues and can't keep the house clean.  I am emotional and expressive.  I haven't had the money to visit international destinations as much as I would like.  I've overcome some serious obstacles with the help of others.  I cook healthy, basic meals, struggle with weight gain but exercise regularly.  I often engage in body hatred.  I can unconditionally love, even some of  those whom many people would consider unlovable.  With others, I have zero patience and that leaks into my communications.  I am a pretty normal person.  I lead a less than exciting life, though I consider it meaningful and somewhat successful.  And especially when I get stressed or bored, I turn to my imagination.

It's something I've done since I was a kid.  I've talked before about how I used to take long walks and narrate my life in my head.  "She was cautious as she considered her mother's warnings that she should stay on the side of the street and never take rides from strangers."  Even then, my life wasn't exactly thrilling and I had good reason to want to escape, but narrating made everything seem bigger than it was.  As I got older, I learned to embellish.  I was a model in beauty camp, out for my daily exercise.  I was a dancer, preparing for the next ballet.  I was a runaway, stealing apples from farmers' trees.  I was a tough boy daring anyone to mess with him.

Press the skip ahead button.  I'm a woods elf making an epic journey somewhere for some crucial purpose.  I'm a man.  I'm a mother fleeing with her children to the forest camp that the invaders have not yet discovered.  I'm an unrequited lover pining away for a chance glimpse of my object de amor, a meeting of the eyes, a brush of the hand.  I'm a pretty woman with a blackbelt and a gun.  I'm a famous writer with enough money to save a goodly portion of the Eastern seaboard.  I'm a whistleblower who brings down white collar criminals and saves the nation billions of dollars.  I'm the one with endless energy and resources and a beautiful body, but I've never become disconnected with the poor and oppressed.  I'm tough and gritty and people think I'm cool and that doesn't embarrass me in the least.  The camera rolls to the tune of rock music and people are interested in my life's dramas.

There are some pretty hot sexual fantasies in there somewhere, too, but that's private.

The point is, I've not outgrown hanging out in unreality.  I guess you could say that daydreaming is my drug of choice.  Writing is often an expression, a fusion of what is and what is definitely not, the lines pretty indecipherable to readers who care to make Freudian passes at my work.  And yes, I kind of stick my tongue out and say, "You don't really know what's in my head.  My thoughts are mine and I share what I want to."  And thank God there are no mind readers, because some of those thoughts are real doozies.  I guess that's kind of normal, though.  I would hate to be a mind reader.  I have enough of a burden dealing with my own thoughts.

Some people escape into narcotics, some into partying, some into sex, some into gambling and others into even more risky business.  Some people escape into exercise or making money.  Some people escape into their work and/or creative efforts (I can be like that).  Others, like my husband, escape into things like game playing.  We all need to escape somehow, but the way we do it and the frequency with which we do it must be monitored.  Are the escapes healthy?  Are they too often?  Are they taking over our lives?

As an imaginative writer, I have to be even more aware of potential imbalances, keeping one foot in reality, the other in imagination.  If the foot in reality is not fully planted, I can easily become undone.  And so I set my boundaries accordingly.  There have been times in my life when I could not honor those boundaries, and those were bad times.  Imagination stole into my real world, a dangerous threat to everything I have built and accomplished.  The good news is, I have always gotten out of it.  Drugs never allowed me to ruin my life completely, and I have the universal powers of spirit and love as well as earthly angels to thank for that.

I don't know how to end this entry.  My thoughts continue their travels to unknown places. I guess that means I will continue to explore and share more on this topic later. In the meantime, here's to imagination and a real world that does indeed need it.    
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