Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Daydreams and other things

So, what you might not know about me is that I daydream constantly. I used to be somewhat embarrassed by this. After all, normal well-adjusted people live for the NOW! What are you doing wasting time fantasizing about saving the library from super-villains? (Fast fact: if you ever chance upon me in the library with a vague satisfied look on my face, I've just protected a helpless child/the entire reference collection from the Legion of Doom (No, really). Some people might think that all this daydreaming is something to do with getting older, losing sight of one's real hopes and dreams. Nope. Not true at all. I've been daydreaming my entire life.

When I was little, I didn't have an imaginary friend, per se, but I did invent all kinds of situations with me and my pretend identical twin sister. I say she wasn't an imaginary friend only because I was completely aware of the fact that she wasn't real. Like, I didn't make people not sit on the chair next to me because she was sitting there or something. In fact, I don't know if anybody ever knew that I spent many an hour imagining in my bedroom about all the kinds of things me and my sister could do. I was fascinated by the idea of identical twins (switching places, etc..) but mostly, I was fascinated by the idea of having a sister, which to somebody who was an only child until she was almost 9 seemed just as strange and unusual. This imaginary sister fantasy evolved somehow over time to daydreams about really being from a magical world where I was a princess or something (my twin sister was obviously a princess too, but I was born first and therefore heir to the throne). Mostly, these imaginings had to do with my birthmark which looks exactly like the letter "J" stamped on my right butt cheek. TMI? I don't think so. Anyway, because my lovely birthmark was so perfectly formed, I constantly imagined that it could be a sign that I was really royalty/an alien/ a royal alien. Little kids are always coming up with the funniest situations, right? Of course right after I grew out of the royal alien thing, which if we are being honest didn't happen until I was about 12, I read Dune. I mentioned this a few weeks ago when I was talking about rereading books, but I was crazy crazy obsessed with Dune when I was in middle school. Like I even made a little concoction with sugar, cinnamon, and cumin or something and called it Spice and I would pretend to be the kwisatz haderach. Yeah... I was a weird little kid. I always justify my strangeness by emphasizing the fact that I knew that I was playing a game and didn't actually think any of these things, but it was still pretty weird for a 13 year old girl to daydream about a David Lynch movie.

By the time I entered high school, my imaginings had evolved into far less fantastical versions of their former selves. Instead of Dune, I became strangely obsessed with World War II and would watch History Channel documentaries when I came home from school. My dream man was Steve McQueen from The Great Escape and I had his picture up on the wall of my bedroom when other girls had Leonardo DiCaprio. I daydreamed about killing Nazis and Hitler and winning the war in some kind of bizarro past (Yes, this is why Inglorious Basterds was my favorite movie last year. It's like somebody looked into my dreams and put it on the screen). But by this point I had started to become self conscious about my daydreams. I started to realize that I was getting a bit old to be fantasizing about things. That is, of course, until we read The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in 9th grade English class. People sometimes think of the Mitty character with scorn, but for me, he was a hero. Well, not so much a hero, but proof at least that grown ups can still daydream. And so I never stopped. I don't think the story convinced me to keep on daydreaming, but at least it didn't tell me that I shouldn't.

Here we are years later, and I still daydream. I daydream about meeting famous people or being famous, I daydream about living in other times or on other worlds or being a man or nonhuman. Many of my daydreams are informed by TV shows and movies (lately Doctor Who, duh!), though some are purely random flights of fantasy. I should add that in addition to daydreaming, my regular nightly dreams are always wonderfully vivid and generally exciting. I never have those typical dreams of coming to school naked or missing a test or running into an ex boyfriend. Last week I had a particularly odd dream where me and Zach Galifianakis were out on a date at the Louvre when we were attacked by Velociraptors, if that's any indication.

I've often wondered what my dreams mean. Am I simply projecting an idealized Mary Sue version of myself into mental fan fiction in an attempt to live out unrequited desires? Eh, sometimes. However, I would also like to add that some lot of the time I put myself into fantastical situations without the benefit of vast wisdom or magical powers, which I think just means I'm bored. I also don't really see any difference in daydreaming and people watching a TV show or movie, except I write all the characters and they say just what I want them to. So yeah, I guess that's all I have to say about daydreams. I have an active imagination. Sue me.

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