Finding Yourself Through Fantasy

Do you fantasise?

If yes, what do you fantasise about?

Do you fantasise about changing your physical self, living in another body, being endowed with certain abilities and talents, moving to another place, having a different job, being in a perfect relationship with a partner who is everything you’ve ever dreamed someone else could be, getting and keeping something or someone, owning things, a home, money, power, winning a life lottery…

Are your fantasies practical, close to your reality, ideal tweaks to the real, daydreams to keep you on course while you do the tedious groundwork of building the stairway to your ambitions realised step by step…

or are your fantasies for entertainment purposes, a vacation, an escape from the drudgery of real life, a place to go to be someone you aren’t who lives a life you don’t live surrounded by people you’ll probably never meet in your social circle…

Are they serious or casual

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How far do you go in your fantasies…

and would you go that far in real life?

What does fantasising mean to you… and what does it mean about you, what does it show you about yourself?

Shortly after posting my previous post –  Discovering Who You Are – while thinking about the thoughts it had stirred up for me, like silt in the pond of the mind…

I had a flash of memory about a story I wrote for myself over twenty years ago…

starting at about the age of thirteen, around the same time that I finally stopped playing with Barbies…

and I should probably mention here that the way I played Barbies was a bit like David Lynch might play with them. They did not ‘play house’ (unless the house was haunted and full of booby traps) or get dressed up to go on dates with Ken… well sometimes they did but the date usually ended up with them being shipwrecked on an island where lived a madman (who tortured people and expected his torture of them to make them love him), being kidnapped by an insane control freak (who thought total control would lead to happiness), or something along those dramatic lines… and most of the meat of the story was about surviving freakishly bizarre circumstances and people. Ken was rarely the hero rescuing Barbie… one Ken had to play the baddie (unless another Barbie was playing the baddie, but she often had a Ken lackey doing her dirty work… evil Barbie tended to pretend to be kind while blaming Ken for all the evil she did and making him appear like he was the puppet-master when it was really her all the time), while another Ken was the hapless wannabe hero who usually got Barbie into the mess in the first place… Barbie (the good one… or at least not the as evil as evil Barbie one) had to figure out how to rescue herself – sometimes she failed or I got bored of the story.

In retrospect… my Barbie play reflects how I felt about my parents and the drama they created, how it affected me… and other elements of my psyche during that part of my life and phases of development…

and how I got it out of my system and/or made some sparse sense out of it…

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Anyway… when I was about thirteen… what I used to act out through my Barbies (and Kens and Skippers), had to find a new means of expression once I stopped working with those tools. I suppose I could have kept going with the Barbies, but that drug just didn’t work anymore (I didn’t quit playing with dolls for peer pressure reasons, while I could be influenced by pp there were certain things it couldn’t penetrate… and most of my peers didn’t know I played with Barbies because they never asked and I never told).

The outlet it found was through fantasy of a different sort… I began writing stories for myself, ones I’d tell myself each night to send myself to sleep.

These stories were as complicated and convoluted as the Barbie ones only this time I became a protagonist in them. I guess it was time for the writer/director to live inside his own creations instead of making others (even though they were only dolls) live them for him (I suppose I should have used her instead of his/him but… whatever).

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In Hollywood 2017 my stories would been categorised as – with a Strong Female Lead. But I must admit that I didn’t design my stories to be that way, they just invariably ended up like that because my character was too stubborn (and often too stupid) to ask for help, play the damsel in distress, trip, fall, cry for help, and wait to be rescued by a traditional hero, and other stereotypical female roles which are more a fantasy of females rather than what real females are genuinely like…

One of my favourite stories, the one which popped into the front of my mind after I’d posted my previous post… and which filled me with a certain nostalgic and sentimental warmth (neither of which are a regular feeling for me)… was about a spy/mercenary/secret agent type who had been hired to infiltrate the home of a visionary scientist who was working on an invention that would revolutionise the human world as we know it… and thus ruin certain capitalist Scrooge McDuck ambitions (the capitalist SMD’s were the ones who had hired her to possibly assassinate the scientist).

This was a very silly story/fantasy (you haven’t heard the silliest part of it yet), but it hit a spot for me at the time and so it played itself out… but it never made it very far… I still don’t know what happened in this story as it was cancelled (can’t recall why) halfway through the first season (yep, my fantasies had seasons just like a TV series).

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I think the reason I cancelled it was because it hit too raw a nerve for me with one of its components…

En route to infiltrate the home of this scientist – a home which happened to be on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific (or was it the Indian Ocean) – the small plane the spy/mercenary/secret agent type was on crashed and, of course, she survived by being washed up on a desert island. She also happened to get rescued from that desert island by none other than the scientist (whose file had said he was very reclusive and hard to get close to)…

but by then she’d lost her memory of who she was, why she was there and what she was supposed to be doing…

I told you it was silly… but boy did I love that silliness!

The scientist took her into his home while she recovered from her injuries and amnesia… the latter happened in dribs and drabs, and far more quickly than she would have liked as… of course… she’s forming a bond with the scientist and the idea that she’s there to harm him repulses her – she hates the person she used to be even though she only has glimpses of who she used to be and thus doesn’t know why she was that person… but she does know that she’s no longer that person…

This fantasy series ended with her struggling with who she is with amnesia and who she is without it – her present self (who’s been given an opportunity for a new life, a new self, a new way of being… perhaps a real way of being instead of whatever manufactured who she had been) versus her past self (who obviously was an effed up mess of dark shit – willing to be an assassin for hire and ruin the lives of others for a paycheck!).

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I was going through dark shit, an intense and rough time, when this fantasy became my bedtime story (it helped me to get to sleep when sleep was such a hard thing to do… but very much needed), and its central theme – the amnesia – reflects something I had come to perceive as a ‘solution’ to my problems.

I kept wondering who I’d be if I didn’t know who I was… who I thought I was… who I was conditioned to believe that I was… who I was told (over and over again) I was by others… who society seemed to think I was based on boxes ticked and boxes not ticked… I felt cornered, trapped, stuck in an impossible situation – my identity was not going to lead to a happy ending, but perhaps it would if I could kill it off without killing myself – hence ‘amnesia’ as a solution.

If only I could forget everything and start from scratch, start with a blank slate… at least when it came to ‘who I am’. Who I was was just too crowded, cluttered, chaotic with things which I didn’t want… like nagging, criticising, mistake-making, psyche-paralysis, fear, anger, regret, and infinite supplies of misery…

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I think part of the reason I cancelled this series was because it stalled in one spot, in one episode, and nothing I did could move it past that point…

the character was driving along a dirt road in a jeep (I had a thing for jeeps at the time – I should point out that I’ve never learned to drive, so driving is a fantasy for me), alone, battling with her own mind, fighting over who she was – trying to understand who she really was, what she really wanted, and drowning in information – the data she had gathered while she remembered nothing at all, the shards of painful memory which had resurfaced, everything she did not know but which she might possibly know if she recalled everything she had forgotten… suddenly she lost control of the jeep (which is not a surprise since she was focused on anything but driving) and ended up in a ditch…

In one version I had her being run off the road by another spy/mercenary/secret agent type who had been sent to check up on her and her lack of progress (and find out why she hadn’t contacted those who had hired her, and maybe do the job instead of her, bump her off too, because she had been compromised).

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The story hit one of those critical points passed which it couldn’t move because the author was stuck there in real life…

In real life I had hit a similar wall, block – I needed to change but… what? How?

The whole – spy/mercenary/secret agent type – aspect was also a relevant point… it’s a reflection of how I felt being the child of Narcissists, my parents were always trying (and often succeeding) to use me against each other, to spy on each other, and to assassinate (not literally, but maybe even literally) one or the other in some way or another… I wasn’t a person to them, I was a tool, a means to an end, a way for them to make their own fantasies real…

and when those who are the ‘shapers of reality’ for you treat you that way…

Thanks to my fantasy and lack of movement and resolution for the story, I did realise one thing – Amnesia was not a solution to my problems… because there were certain things which I needed to remember even if being aware of them was hard, painful, a cause of suffering, and meant that I couldn’t be the person I’d prefer to be, the one who didn’t know what I knew… about myself, about others, about society, about life, etc…

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In many ways the fantasies I had helped me to find myself, not always by a direct route…

usually in circuitous ways…

sometimes all they did was to aid me in not losing myself completely in someone else’s fantasy – one which they were convinced was real, or they could make real if they bullied, begged, bribed others enough to support them in it, and believed enough in it themselves (at least enough to sell it to others who could then support them when their belief wavered)…

sometimes they showed me what truly mattered to me – in fantasies you can have anything and everything, but you don’t usually choose to have it all, you choose what you really want, what really matters, what is a focal point for you… and that in turn shows you a part of who you are…

you can also be anyone and who you choose to be tells you something somehow… but hearing what it’s telling you can take awhile as the ears aren’t always tuned into listening… to what is truly worth hearing…

sometimes they were where I got to be who I could be if… and sometimes it was a relief that the ‘if’ was only in fantasy…

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Being reminded of this phase I went through was…

well, it was almost a surprise as I’d almost forgotten it…

I haven’t indulged in fantasy, not of that sort, not like that… in almost two decades…

I have dabbled with it on and off during the last twenty years but… just as a thirteen year old self moved on from Barbies, an older self moved on from telling themselves fantasy stories to get them through the night, and the day, and the night, and the day…

but just as with the Barbies, those fantasies in retrospect show me myself… they showed me myself then too, but my vision was not as clear as it is now about them, that, and about me…

they helped me to appreciate what is real, and to see it for what it is…

or maybe they didn’t do that at all.

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Over to you – How have fantasies helped you?

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