I’ve been told that as a kid I was a huge liar. Apparently the majority of what came out my mouth was completely untrue. I would come home from kindergarten telling all who would listen about the fireman that came to show and tell, and skip in from a day out with my dad boasting to my family about the fancy dessert we went out for that evening. As a child, it was fairly harmless, and also pretty easy to spot, as kids tend not to know when they’ve gone too far. It was unlikely that this fireman offered me (and only me) a lift on his engine and took me to put out 7 fires, letting me sit on the top of the engine “for a better view”. Similarly it’s not overly convincing that my dad let me have “18 ice creams cause I sat really nicely in the car on the way”.
My mum tells me that my lies, while not convincing to many others, had me well and truly fooled, and I sometimes found it hard as a child to seperate reality and fantasy.
There is a well known phenomenon of teenagers (often boys) who construct alternate personas through comic books or video games to escape the torture of adolescence. Fanboys (or Fangirls) are often so obsessed with their topic of choice, that they know even the minutiae, unfortunately moving them further away from any hopes of being popular or accepted. Luckily, the teenage years pass eventually.
But some people seem to have this problem well into adulthood. if you google re-enactment groups, there are endless fully grown adults, who spend far too much of their free time dressing up in costumes and pretending to be someone else. Supposedly, preparing for the role of the Joker contributed to the demise of Heath Ledger, as he couldnt shift the character from his own. Jack Nicholson (the original Joker) has said something very similar. The internet has opened doors for all of us to try out alternate characters and find like-minded individuals from across the globe, however odd our fantasy of choice.
Just a bunch of adults out for some sport. Great to keep fit and active and spend time with friends. Look closer. What are they holding? Is that…? Yep. Broomsticks. These ‘adults’ are out for a friendly Quidditch match. With no sense of irony whatsoever. No cameras, no sarcasm, just good clean wizarding fun.
I dont get it. Isnt there enough going on in real life without hiding behind fantasy? I wrote recently about those with seemingly impossible dreams, who try out for reality TV. I would class that as fantasy also. We all have secret wishes and hopes that will probably not come true. We all like to pretend certain things to ourselves when no one is watching. If you have a look at Iamneurotic.com, you will see that most of the people around us have secret weirdness that they believe in, which the rest of the world may find strange. I truly hate going round a roundabout more than once. I dont know what I think it going to happen, but it freaks me out just thinking about it now. As a passenger not a driver, this is pretty difficult for me, but if I had the choice, I’d rather go fifteen mins out my way if I’ve missed my exit, than go round again. -Shudder-
Here’s another secret. Until I was a teenager, I used to talk to the numbers while making a house of cards, bargaining with them which ones I would use if they didnt fall down on me. If the house collapsed, the ‘offending’ card would be exiled and not used again. True story of a much younger, youngest child.
So dont we all have idiosyncrasies that border on the fantastic? Whether it is a full blown persona, an impossible dream or just a secret belief, we all dip into fiction from time to time.
I think the real secret is how we channel it. An old teacher of mine once said to us during class that love was only okay because we had made it socially acceptable. In reality being so obsessed with one person that you only wanted to be with them and you moved in together, got married, stayed together for your entire lives was entirely irrational. It was as much an addiction as any other drug or toxin, only society had put the word ‘love’ on it and made it pretty for us. Perhaps the same is true with imagination. Channelling your fear or your dream into creativity, art or music or writing, and labelling it ‘fiction’ or ‘expressionist’ makes all the difference. Certain things I’ve seen in the Tate Modern certainly would not be seen as art unless they were on that podium.
It’s when we let our imagination take over our lives, and we lose sight of ourselves and our day to day life underneath it, thats when we get into trouble. Because we cant stay hidden in fantasy forever, and we cant let it impact on our reality, for when the lines blur too much, how do we even know who we are? Certainly we’re not acceptable judged against societal norms.
Seriously though, playing Quidditch. That’s just weird.