I had a conversation today with a friend who is going through a tough time in life, and the topic of being able to take a vacation from yourself came up.
Sometimes you just become tired of yourself and your problems. Personally, I’m guilty of annoying myself. But you can never run away from yourself…. or can you? (and of course I am completely talking in non- suicidal terms if anyone is concerned lol)
Due to the nature of my parents’ employment, as a child I moved more than 10 times. Just in elementary school I attended 7 different schools. Each time one moves you have an option to recreate yourself. I can’t say that I ever drastically did this. But there was one or two things about myself here and there that I didn’t like, and I ended up changing. I actually have a hard time living anywhere longer than three years, because I feel a need of different scenery and a new opportunity to start again.
Prior to graduate school, I was an extremely quiet and shy individual. And while I am not saying that I’m still not, when I moved to the location of my graduate school (which was very far from my undergraduate college), I allowed myself to become more loud and extroverted. Of course this all changed this semester when I became practically a recluse.
Behavior can truly effect your thoughts and your personality. I remember when I had a huge blow out with a friend in high school. This friend told me I didn’t care enough about anyone besides myself (which was true to an extent and an eye opener I needed), I came back the next school year a different person. Always concerned about others and putting myself to the side. Initially I did this to show my friend that I wasn’t self-centered. But there comes a point when the mask that you put on to hide who you really are…. becomes who you are.
I would say this is a good thing. But I am not completely sure. I mean now we have the problem that I care too much about other people to the point that I am not taking care of myself because I NEED to take care of others (such as refusing to eat anything in a public place in fear that someone is allergic to whatever I bring to eat).
But anyway I’m digressing from what I wanted to talk about: pretending who you aren’t just for a few moments. I usually do this by reading books or watching a really good movie. And for a few minutes/hours/days (depending on how long the book is), I can pretend that I am the heroine of a real event (even if it is in a fictional world). I can pretend that in the end everything turns out ok. By the time that I finish reading the book/series, for a few moments I have a hard time separating myself from the character.
While reading the book, it is a fantastic feeling… I am someone else. I can finally have the adventure that I have always wanted! I can be Alanna. A girl masquerading as a boy in order to train and become a knight. I can vanquish evil. I can win the hearts of the kingdom and a significant other. I can change the world. The things I do…. are significant… while I am that character. While uncertainty and tragedies happens throughout the book, there is resolution in the end.
I hate reading tragedies… characters suck me in to much. Such as Anakin Skywalker (yes I know no one likes Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars but get over it I do lol). From the beginning I knew this was going to be a tragic story. The story about how a boy grows up to be the most feared individual throughout galaxies. By the third Episode Anakin has turned evil through a series of events and MY HEART BREAKS. Its as if I can feel his/Padmè’s/and Obi- Wan’s pain. Although Anakin turned evil there was still some good in him, he was not totally void of feeling. I can feel the heartbreak that he must feel when he realizes that Padme is dead and that he has not only destroyed his own life but thousands of others. I can feel Padme’s soul crying when she realizes the one person she loved and depended on is no longer the man she married. And I can feel the heart-ache of Obi- Wan when he looses that individual who was like a son/brother to him.
This is why I tend to stray away from tragic books/movies. I hate the feeling at the end. The feeling that since you were the character(s) you could have changed it, but you couldn’t because that is not what the author had planned. I want to see good everywhere… tragedy just breaks my heart (one of the many reasons I also hate watching/reading the daily news).
This is also why I don’t let myself read during the school semester. For even in great happy ending books…. I get so depressed when I finish reading it and realize…. oh… that isn’t my world… that… wasn’t me.
But while you are reading these books its the most fantastic feeling.
One of my favorite series is that of the The Chanters of Tremaris. (Yes I know its a “teen series” but I still love it). I used to HATE fantasy. Mostly because my sister was obsessed with it, and I would do anything in my power to not be like her (an ironic story for another day lol). But when I read this series…. I am CALWYN. I think reading this series was the first time I ever truly got sucked into a character. Calwyn, a shy timid girl, living a sheltered life. Breaks out of that life to become the heroine of the world. At first in the adventure she is shy and timid and not wanting to take on the responsibility of the power that she is slowly realizing that she has. In the end though she is able to reach her full potential (without putting anything to the wayside, such as people in her life) and save the world.
If you haven’t see the Brandy version of Cinderella. You should watch it. You can find it on youtube. I believe in the song “In my own little corner” my thoughts are portrayed beautifully. Although in the end she says she is happy to realize that she is just in her own little corner, you can see in the sadness in her eyes and the want for something more.
You can learn from books. You can learn from fantasies and dreams. I truly believe one can better themselves through reading. But…. but… it gives me to high of expectations of life…. or should these be the expectations that I want and should get?
Two of my favorite books (ok I have a lot of favorites) are about Africa. One is about the Mercy Ship and a fictional character who was able to change the world… even though it was really just by affecting a few lives. The other book was an autobiography by a girl who survived the genocide in Rwanda (a really epic tragedy but it really puts your life into perspective. Allowing you to be grateful for the place in which you live). After reading these two books… All I ever wanted to do was to go to Africa. If I could just affect one life in a positive manner… it could change THEIR WORLD… and changing at least one world of one individual is good enough for me. Yes, I realize I can do this anywhere even in the good USA, but my heart was set on Africa.
But now. With my OCD. The thought of ever going to Africa scares the crap at me and it breaks my heart. I feel as though now I will never be able to change anyone’s world for the better, because I am too afraid of screwing it up and making it change for the worse on accident… and also contamination.
Its hard to explain the sorrow that I feel when I lost myself this semester and all these wants. Its as if my heart is perpetually breaking and my soul is ever crying. I’m doing better yes, but I don’t think I will ever be who I was again… and that scares/saddens me.
So I guess for now…. My Own Little Corner and My Own Little Chair will have to be sufficient in order to take a break from myself. I will never get to be who I want[ed] to be… but at least for a few minutes I can pretend.
Is it healthy? Probably not. But sometimes, as I already pointed out, pretending can become reality.