To Be With Him or To Be Him… what’s this attraction truly about?

Clint Eastwood

“It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.” – Clint Eastwood

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Ah, fictional characters! So easy to fall in love with, to love, and never have to deal with any of the icky, sticky, and tricky side of love. They’re so reliable, always there for you, never reject you, and they think you’re great because your love for them keeps them alive.

Yet… that kind of love is unrequited. They can never love you the way that you love them… sure you can pretend that they do, pull them out of fiction and imagine them being real, but they’re not real even when they seem more real than real people.

However, even though they aren’t real, the love you have for them is, and so are you.

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What we love about those fictional beings who become the object of our affection is… what is it? What does our real love for them tell us about ourselves, who we are? Are we loving ourselves through them, perhaps?

The Daily Post asked todayYou have to spend one day as or with your favorite fictional character. Which one would it be and what would you do?

Which coincides rather nicely with the series I’m doing – The Mistakes of Attraction – wherein I’m sort of exploring attraction, and what it reveals about or means to us personally.

This series is inspired by a question which olivebranch asked in a comment recently on this blog – What type of people are you most attracted to now?

Today I’m sharing a few of the fictional characters which I’ve been attracted to in the past.

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count of monte cristo

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I didn’t want to be with them or them with me, I wasn’t interested in a romantic liaison.

I wanted to be them, but not to shed my skin and put theirs on.

What I really wanted was to be more like them.

I related to their character’s characteristics, their behaviour and traits, their story. They were expressing a way to be which appealed to me, and my love for them, my attraction opened a way for me to learn from them, to mature what was a growing seed within.

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Take for instance, Clint Eastwood, and the quote I coupled with his picture above. I chose that quote because being aware and responsible about the power you have over the lives of others has always been an issue which has made itself important in my life.

I could have just as easily chosen this quote of his:

I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.”

But not because I want to be the only one with a gun, not because I want to have that kind of power. That quote speaks to me of the child I was stuck in a family with two adults who were often in a Mexican stand-off, or guns were blazing, bullets were flying. They always had the guns, I did not, and I often got shot, lay on the floor mortally wounded, bleeding profusely only to be told that I shouldn’t bleed, and wasn’t allowed to be wounded. I just wanted control of the guns, so the threatening to shoot or shooting would stop.
They were very irresponsible with their power, over me and over others…I did not want to be that way.
Many of the fictional characters to whom I was attracted were people who were disciplined in their use of power, and they often fought against abuses of power.
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sandokan
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Ultimately though, all I wanted was just to be myself…
… and my attraction to those characters helped me to help myself find my way through a mess of messages, mostly from real people who kept telling me not to be myself, who kept wanting me to be whoever it was they needed me to be for them, to who I actually am.
What attracts me the most to fictional characters or real people is… authenticity (which is a funny thing to say about fictional characters, but… sometimes they do it better than we do it, make it simpler to understand).
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What about you? What the story of your relationship with fictional characters?
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ps. I know Clint Eastwood isn’t fictional, but I only know him through his the characters he has portrayed.
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21 thoughts on “To Be With Him or To Be Him… what’s this attraction truly about?

  1. Here’s a classic – The Wizard of Oz. I did a lot of escaping into fictional characters as a child, as you say, I wanted to be more like them. I’m not much into fiction any more – I love reading biographies. 🙂

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  2. This made me think of when I was young and Mum and Dad and I had moved to this huge lonely, cold house that was in the process of being built, and the guy went backrupt so we had to move in and live there in the middle of a very cold winter and my sister was sent to Nana’s where it was cosy and warm. Anyway I was missing the old house so much because I spent the whole time playing with my two young neighbours who I loved and at the time my source of nurturance and relief were hardback editions of the Mary Poppins stories. I fantasised about her all the time coming to whisk me away to a dream like world (Mercury/Venus/Jupiter square Neptune) but I also wanted to be like her.

    It was really fascinating to watch (I think it was a BBC docco) it aired on our Aussie equivalent a few times about the life of PL Travers who wrote those books and the genesis of the charter of MP who was almost like a saving figure who appeared in the midst of her trauma at a young age when her mother tried to commit suicide but changed her mind and PL Travers was left alone to mind her sister by the fire and she imagined a horse like Pegasus figure who would fly down and take them to safety which then morphed into Mary Poppins in her book and I believe she has Moon Saturn like me and I do believe there are strong Moon Saturn energies around the MP character.

    It would be an interesting thing to look at what we are attracted to in astrological terms via synastry as its very spot on and powerful, since shadow qualities that we reject or admire may be what we are attracted to consciously or unconsciously. We may have lessons to learn around the integration of the energy and it often represents a par of us we might not see but other might (not all the time but sometimes.)

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    1. I agree, I’m considering doing an astrological post about attraction, but I never know what I’m going to write in the way of a post until I do it, what I want to do isn’t always what I end up doing 😉

      Mary Poppins is such an iconic figure, and an archetype for many children (as well as for our inner child). I was thinking about her just the other day because I have a lot of tidying up to do in my home and her kind of magic would be useful.

      I haven’t seen the Documentary about PL Travers but I did read an article about it and her which was very interesting.

      At those times in our lives when we are children facing a confusing time in our lives, where the adults don’t offer the security and stability which we need, we sometimes find that in characters who capture our imagination and give us nourishment for the developing soul. We never forgot what those characters did for us at a time when we needed their influence the most.

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      1. Yes wouldn’t that subject make a really interesting blog? I loved the image of a flying horse coming down to the children huddled by the fire facing a confusing time. There is sometimes in spirit a benevolent presence we can feel in dark times as PL Travers did.

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        1. The challenge we always face in life is finding that sweet spot where fantasy meets reality and blends, merges… many of the authors who created our favourite characters were very human.

          I saw a biopic of Beatrix Potter which made her out to be a rather bad mother to her own children while being an awesome inspiration to other children. Not sure how accurate this was in the way of a portrayal.

          We all seek to escape from being human because it’s a difficult experience, and some people do it so well that they pass their ticket to Narnia or Wonderland onto others. They found being a child/adult difficult, and that difficulty was a muse which inspired a new fanatsy-reality, one that offered an escape to us from what we were not ready to deal with at the time that their characters appealed to us.

          Our child self needed the fantasy because that is the realm of the child – the imagination.

          Our adult self needs something more grounded than the fantasy which our child self loved – but it can still benefit from the fantasy, it just needs it to be more real than unreal.

          So, if we loved Mary Poppins as a child, the pure fantasy was awesome for the child, especially if the child was using the fantasy to help deal with a difficult reality. However, as an adult we need to explore the part of Mary Poppins which is more grounded in reality. What was real about Mary Poppins? What can our adult self integrate from that attraction to the fantasy – how can we incorporate it into reality?

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          1. Yes, it is interesting as Mary Poppins doesn’t really appeal to me now but she did offer an imaginary escape to two children who had parents that were not really emotionally present but had their attention in a different direction, which is probably why I related to the story when young.

            We do grow up hopefully and we can gain great understanding from our inner child but we need the inner parent too to give that child boundaries without destroying its access to imagination which as you say is a great escape a times, if we can use it consciously not to escape all reality but to find some relief from it for a time. Its all about not being too black and white, denigrating all fantasy and escapism as something childish or worthless and being able to integrate it into daily life… the balance on the spectrum between, say Saturn and Neptune… Would be interesting to explore if PL Travers had a connection between these energies in her own chart. I might go off and do that now.

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            1. Mind you reading that back at times if reality is so painfully tough its good and necessary for a time. In really bad trauma we naturally dissociated as the trauma may be too much to bear. Imagination may be a form of dissociation but one that has meaning and purpose and helps us to place painful experience in a new context.

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              1. Our systems tend to opt for the thing which will ensure our continued survival. Imagination plays an essential role in the primal instinct to keep going. As does forgetfulness. We don’t always have a say in what we do to survive what happens to us. Maybe later we can deal with it, but maybe later we have new stuff which we need to survive and so… confronting reality may not be what is supportive.

                It’s kind of interesting that as much as we study the mind and brain, we really don’t understand anything about it. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and even that confounds us 🙂

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                1. Yes even more interesting to me is the fact that they now know there is a bigger mind in the gut than in the brain in terms of nerves receiving messages there and relaying them to the brain. The more we know the less we know really I guess as ours is a split off society based on intellect in many ways and there are larger truths and realities that science cant always penetrate, understand or explain.

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  3. Going straight psychology with this one it seems. Is the attraction to the fictional character being a reflection of you similar to comic strips of Freud relating everything back to one’s mother? If one could say that the attraction to a fictional character says something about ourselves, then really, the same is said about any relationship, whether imaginary or real.

    Whether it’s a real person or a fictional character there is something you see that appeals to you. That may say something about you, your tastes, your hopes, and all those other things that come along with preferences of any kind. The love cannot possibly be real with a fictional character because it’s based off bullshit, although I suppose that happens many times with “real” people too. If I wear a certain kind of clothing all that may say about me is that I like that certain article of clothing, chances are there is no depth to it. I’m thinking most likely the same is said about a fictional character, you like the character, but unless you’re truly delusional, you are aware that it is a fictional CHARACTER, you cannot love that which does not exist. Of course, if it’s a “real” person playing the fictional character that appeals to you, then that’s a whole other thing. You may despise their character but like what you’ve gathered about them in reality or vice versa, one never really knows.

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  4. Loved this. I was just recently trying to explain to someone how I could want to be more like a fictional character, but he couldn’t understand attraction, admiration, resonation, that wasn’t romantic. Thanks for expressing it!

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