For the past week, I’ve been pretty distant from my blog. I’ve been debating about writing on a topic that I’ve wanted to share, but have not had the courage. It’s not anything negative. As a matter of fact, it’s something quite positive in my life, but it’s also something about which I feel quite ashamed and embarrassed. What I’m referring to is my fantasy world. I’m not really sure how to start this off or how to even explain it well, but I’m going to try my best to give an understandable description.
It’s More Than a Bedroom
When I go into my fantasy world, I’m somewhere that doesn’t exist. A place that somewhere may be real, but does not exist in the life that I live. However, it exists in my mind. When I enter my fantasy world, my mind takes real life experiences, and molds them into a brand new one. The people in my life become mere characters in my world, saying and doing what I want. Their personalities unfold into images in my mind that play before me like life itself. Everything that exists inside of them – their personalities, attitudes, and values – are laid out in my mind. I take all of that information, and create something new with it. I create a world where people know what I really am, and aren’t afraid of it. I live in that world and it feels good. It feels pleasurable and real. I know that doesn’t make sense to the average person, but it’s clear to me.
My bedroom is more than just a place for being alone; it’s a place for make-believe. It’s a world of its own that no one would ever know existed. To everyone else, it’s a bedroom, with all the makings of such an environment. But, oh what people don’t see. How can they not see it? How can all of that beauty, peace and enjoyment, escape their narrowed sight? For me, it’s not a bedroom. For me it is a salvation on this planet. I believe that there is an eternal salvation awaiting me when I die. But, as I live on this planet, in this life, my bedroom is an earthly salvation. It’s the place where I can enter the world that exists in my mind… the very mind that God has given me. Therefore, if God has given me this mind, which gave birth to my fantasy world, then it must be an earthly salvation. A place to which, for hours on end, I can escape from the invisible real-life force in my brain that continuously drags me down. Unless, I’m just crazier than I realize.
The Double Exposure
People just don’t understand. I’ve seen kids playing within their imaginations. They physically live in the world around them, but their minds are elsewhere. That’s what it means to be a kid. To often live in a make-believe world of your own, as you gain your bearings in the real one around you. But, then it’s supposed to end, right? The real world takes over and you’re left with just that… the real world. Our fantasy worlds disappear, along with the happiness and comfort that accompanied them throughout childhood. However, that doesn’t happen for everyone. I’m one of those people who has never lost my fantasy world. It’s in my mind, body and soul. It’s a part of who I am; yet no one ever sees it. Unlike creators of theater, movies, and music, my worlds are hidden from the rest of society. It is a shameful place. After all, I’m not a kid anymore… I shouldn’t still be living in my imagination. But, there’s a problem with that assessment, ‘cause well, I am living in my imagination during these times.
The average person might think I was completely out-of-touch with reality, if he or she caught me. That very moment when the world around me blends into another time and place is when I am most gone. Therefore, it’s also then that I’m most vulnerable. My physical self is present, but not my mind. My mind is somewhere far away. It’s what I call the double exposure moment… the point when the real world and fantasy world blend together to create a whole other time, place, and atmosphere. My bedroom is no longer my bedroom. It is a theater. The performance world is where my fantasies take me most often. Broadway musicals to be more exact. My full-sized bed suddenly becomes the orchestra, mezzanine and balcony seats that stretch to the back of a large theater, complete with lobby and entrance. The rest of my room becomes both the stage and the backstage, with my mind switching from one setting to the next without any hassle or second thought. I move from stage, to the seats, to the backstage, and into the lobby… all in the small vicinity of my bedroom. But size does not matter in my world. In my world, I can move about my small bedroom, with freedom. There are no obstacles, because my mind does not see them. Objects in my bedroom that should be obstacles instead become objects inside my fantasy world. The edge of my bed becomes the edge of a row of seats. I don’t see a bed. I see an aisle, and it’s clear as day.
How Can No One Else See It?
It’s so real. It’s so amazingly exciting. The audience. The voices of all the men, women and children resonate across the theater, as they sit in anticipation for the musical to begin. My family and friends are sitting front and center, eagerly chatting amongst themselves as they await the rising of the curtain. I see my family talking with my friends. They are discussing how exciting it is that I will be onstage. My family whispers to themselves how they cannot believe, “Summer, of all people, is going to be performing onstage.” I look out from backstage, anxious and excited to show them all that I can do. I look at the strangers, whom I’ve never met, yet whose faces are clear and detailed. I wonder what they will think of me. The theater lights start to dim, bringing a hush over the crowd. A friendly voice speaks to the crowd from beyond their sight, informing them of the final theater rules about phones and cameras. The orchestra then begins to play the overture. The show is about to begin.
The curtain rises, and the cheers rise with it. “That’s Summer! That’s Summer!” My family and friends whisper in excitement. My heart quickly races. It’s so real. It’s so very real. I can actually feel the nervousness. I feel the bright lights beating down on me. I look out at the sea of faces staring back at me, with eyes filled with hope that they will be entertained. And then, it is show time. My cast-mates and I begin, and that whole world of auditions, rehearsals, the make-up, the wardrobe… now all of it comes together. The show is now underway.
Yet, no one else sees it. It does not exist for anyone, but me. It causes me such pleasure, happiness, and relaxation, though. I feel good about myself. I actually am someone in my world. I’m not a loser. I’m not a pathetic waste of space. I’m not alone in my world. In the real world, I’m alone. I’m not alone physically, but mentally, I’m all by myself. But, in my fantasy world, I am not alone. I am someone with a purpose, with a meaning, and with something to show for myself. I’m more real in my fantasy world, than in the life that exists outside. My post on How Gaming Saved My Life discussed how gaming gave me a purpose and a place where I could belong. Well, my fantasy world is my own “gaming” world that I create in my head. However, it isn’t a game. It’s very real. It’s more like an alternate universe of living.
For this reason, it’s jarring to be suddenly removed from that fantasy world. It feels like someone is physically yanking me out of my world and into his or her own. They are forcing me to leave the world where I exist, and live in the world in which they are able to successfully survive. But, they don’t care. They don’t care, ‘cause they don’t know. They can’t know. Even if I tell someone I know what I see, that person still cannot know. It is impossible for that person to understand, because he or she cannot see it with his or her own eyes. Therefore, I would purely be seen as “crazy”, if I told someone.
What Does It Feel Like?
I wish there was an easy way to explain it. I wish I could find that perfect combination of words and phrases that can describe what it’s like to exist in a world that’s not real. Even more so, I wish I could find that perfect way to describe how it feels to want to go there, and never leave.
The best that I can do is to compare it to being a child who knows he or she is about to head to an amusement park. That feeling of excitement knowing that the day is going to be filled with fun and thrills. The enjoyment the child feels as he flies through the air on roller coasters, or the smile that’s glued to his face after winning a stuffed animal. The feeling of accomplishment for finally daring to get on that ride that his big brother always teased him about. It’s a sign that he’s growing up. He sees himself as finally stepping up that ladder in life. He’s no longer a little boy… he’s getting older, and has taken that next step toward becoming a full-functioning member of society, by denying his fears and taking a chance. He’s someone special in that park. Every so often, as he defies gravity soaring high over the park on rides, he catches a glimpse of the real world continuing beyond its walls. He doesn’t look, though. He turns his eyes away, because that world is not his. That world is unwanted and needs to stay as far away from his mind as possible. He manages to keep it at bay.
But, then it’s time to leave.
It’s that time when the day has come to an end. He’s not ready for it to be over. He wants to stay. The walk back to the car is the worst. The real world is becoming ever more present, as the laughter and screams of those still on the rides pierce the night’s sky from behind. The boy turns around. He looks at the lights that illuminate the park in the evening, and he wishes he were one of those people still enjoying his time. He turns back around, continuing his walk to the car with his family, who seem to enjoy the fact that the long day is over. The real world awaits them, and they’re content and at ease with that. Even his older brother can’t wait to go home. But, not the young boy, he wants to stay. He listens as the park’s sounds grow ever so distant behind him, and as the quiet suddenly engulfs his head when the car doors slam shut.
His parents are talking softly, and his older brother is just checking his phone. But, not the young boy… he continues to yearn for the clock to turn back to when he and his family first arrived at the park. The car pulls out and makes its way out of the parking lot, while the whole time, the young boy’s head is turned in the direction of the lights and high roller coasters that reach far above the walls surrounding them. He struggles to keep any sight that he can in his view. He holds onto each and every image that remains in his vision as the car moves farther and farther away. He must watch it. He must keep it in his grasp as long as possible. But, unfortunately, he can’t hold onto it forever. Against his will, his family’s car passes that final landmark in the city that obscures what’s left of his day. The park is gone, and the boy is now thrust back into the real world.
Sadly, the car ride away from the park becomes my reality each time I exit my fantasy world, and it’s difficult and jarring each time. However, it’s not for the reasons that one might think.
That young boy isn’t sad ‘cause the fun and games are over. He’s sad ‘cause the world that existed behind those walls is no longer his reality. The emotions attached to all of his day’s experiences have now been taken from him once again. To his mother, father and older brother, they will regain that feeling elsewhere. Something at home, in the real world, is going to provide them with that pleasure once again. But, for the young boy, his pleasure is gone, until he can once again return to the park. Unlike his parents and brother, it’s more difficult for the young boy to reincorporate his body and mind back into the real world, because that world is foreign to him. There is no success, pleasure, or understanding out in the real world. Out there, he’s alone, as no one understands his thoughts, feelings, or actions. He’s an outcast in the real world, but in that amusement park he is a star. He’s brave, a winner, and a functioning member of society. He’s more real within those walls, than beyond them.
I was that young child. Each time we’d leave an amusement park, I would hang onto it as long as it remained in my sight. I would not look away, until I could no longer see some piece of that park’s existence.
It’s Just So Real
It’s a sad realization when the fantasy world you’re living provides more happiness and contentment than the real one that everyone else is living. It’s a lonely and confusing feeling. It’s not supposed to be like that, and you can’t understand why on earth those around you don’t feel the same way. How can they not feel the same way? They just can’t see it. They can’t see what I see. They can’t feel what I feel. They can’t understand what does not exist before them. So, once again, I’m left alone if I stay in the real world, rather than just move to my fantasy world where everyone whom I care about surrounds me. They appreciate me for who I am, and don’t look down on me. I am someone of whom they are proud, and not the failure that their real life counterparts see. I have that smile of winning a stuffed animal, each time I stand on that stage. The feeling of accomplishing the terrifying ride hits me each time I hear the applause in my head. And, that next step up the ladder of life seems to be not so difficult.
Most people will never get it. They think it’s merely daydreaming. But, it’s not. A fantasy goes beyond the realm of daydreams, the moment it becomes so real that you can see it, touch it, smell it, and feel it. The moment you can physically walk from one end of a bedroom to the next, and never see the bed or desk in your path, is the moment that a fantasy becomes more than just a daydream… it becomes a world of its own.
So many people in this world think that they know what goes on in other peoples’ heads. These individuals think that others have to see the world in a specific way… right down to imagination. We should be able to snap out of imagination as adults, ‘cause that’s what all other adults have done. Those individuals cannot fathom what it must be like to live in a world that doesn’t exist, because the world in which they live is physically and tangibly real. What these individuals can’t understand, is that my fantasy world is just as real to me. It is physically and tangibly real to me. When I touch that bed, I’m touching a front row orchestra seat. It’s real to me! It’s not anything other than that. I can look before me and I see rows of people. They are alive! They breathe, talk, laugh, cry and even think! How do I know this? I know this, because they are me… I am them.
Many of the human beings that I see in my fantasy world are people whom I love and care about, but their thoughts, actions, conversations, and emotions, come from me. I can be performing a song, and part of my brain is centered on that performance, while another part is focused on my audience’s reactions. I’m able to switch my thoughts, vision, focus, and emotions to whichever person is in my sight, and then quickly switch back to my own role in my world. It all happens so quickly, that my mind sees them all as living individuals, with independent minds of their own. And, this can go on for literally hours.
I can ache to get back to my fantasy world. As I lie down at night, I can slip into my worlds that I create outside of the performance themes. These worlds range from the simplistic to the complicated. I will fall asleep, then wake up, picking up right where I left off prior to nodding off. When I’m in a hypomanic state, then it can continue to engross my mind at almost every waking hour, making the real world fade from existence more and more, with each passing minute.
How is it possible for an imaginary world – a fantasy – to yield so much enjoyment, for so long? I wish I had the answer to that question. I think that actually may be the one missing piece that could help others to understand. For now, though, I guess the best way for me to answer that question is with another question.
Would you want to leave a world, in which your life actually exists?