I told my friend the other day that as a child, sometimes I liked to lay in bed and pretend I was strapped down in a straitjacket, locked in a psychiatric facility. Her response: "...Ohhhh my gosh...you are so weird." And then she laughed.
The laughter was acceptable because I know that she accepts me in all my glorious crazy and won't judge me, at least not enough for her to stop being my friend. The thing is, guys, it's a totally true story. I don't know why I liked imagining being mentally unstable, just like I don't know why sometimes I enjoyed pretending I was actually a vampire and would suck on paper cuts, or just my own finger, until the faint taste of iron disappeared; or why I spent a lot of my time plotting ways out of my daily activities and escape routes for different scenarios as if I were some sort of criminal mastermind or fugitive.
If it sounds like these were mental games that I played as a smaller kid who maybe watched too many inappropriate for children Chinese movies, well, that's partially true. These were also things that I did well into high school...obviously by myself. Are you judging me now?
The thing is, I think the trend I'm noticing is that I used to love escaping from reality. I say, "used to," as if I don't anymore; I still do - and all the time. The escapes are somewhat tamer and more typical: what it would be like if I lived in a foreign city, what it would be like if I had that profession, what it would be like to be happy and fulfilled and in love. It's the stuff that Hollywood is made out of, am I right? It's probably why I don't tend to pick romantic comedies over action/adventure movies; I can picture my own rom-com, but what do I know about action or adventure? I've lost the imagination and know-how to dream those things up. Nowadays, life is action, romance is adventure.
What hasn't been lost is my amazing ability to fully immerse myself into what I'm pretending. It's not really like believing the nonsense, but more like...when you're in a dream doing something completely out of character or strange, and you know it, but you go along with it because it doesn't occur to you that now that you've recognized that it's just a dream, you can probably put a stop to it. So that's what I do.
That's what I've been doing.
I slide in and out of pretending things are just fine and that I'm happy and there is someone still there who loves me as much as I love him. It doesn't matter that I've deleted the numbers to prevent any more slips of desperation - I pretend that if I wanted to, I could pick up the phone and call, and there would be someone on the other end. It's a delusion I try to stay in, because I know that if I come out of it, I'll sink faster. But I know it's a delusion and just like you know you're in a dream, it isn't real. I just keep going with it. Because I have to. I have to believe in some false hopes, even though I know they're false, if for no other reason than because I am the type of person who needs something to believe in, and until I figure out something true, the false is all I know.
That sure is something, isn't it? The false is all I know. Sounds deep. I wish my falses would become trues. I think that would make me happy. But then again, what do I know? Lord knows I had put my everything into one basket, and it was probably a lesson in humility that the basket was made of straw and couldn't stand to hold my everything. That sounds like it could be a Bible lesson or something: 'don't put your everything into anything but the Lord." I can't say I've gotten more religious, but I can say that I think about God and spirituality a lot more, so maybe that's something, too.
I'm going to go thrash around in my comforter now, and pretend I've certifiably lost my mind. That's another sort of delusion that helps me cope.