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Flights of fantasy - Tactical Ninja

Jun. 14th, 2013

09:51 am - Flights of fantasy

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I think it's a normal thing, but it's not something people talk about a lot so I only really know for sure that it's normal for me. It's been happening on a reasonably regular basis all my life, so that's normal, right?

I was a passionate kid. From an early age I remember struggling to contain my emotions, and my parents (who incidentally were awesome) spent a lot of time trying to help me learn how to deal with them, how to not alienate people with my *insert strong emotion here*. Tantrums? You betcha. Embarrassing mooning crushes? Totally. Pits of despair? Yep, those too. The upside of this being a seemingly boundless capacity for pleasure, joy and happiness.

Anyway, long story short, we have to learn to live in a world that isn't keen on expressions of emotion, right? We're supposed to be in control, curb our desires, deny our urges. Life is better that way, from an objective viewpoint. There are very few people who get to spend their lives pursuing their passions - this is a mantra I learned early, pretty much from the first moment I was told I couldn't be a high country musterer. Very few people get to be artists either - that being the other thing I wanted to do. So I accepted that I couldn't do these things, and settled for a life of selling my time in chunks for money. Eventually I found something I'm good at, that pokes my brain in the right places, and pays well enough to sustain a lifestyle that includes a significant amount of passion-pursuit and hedonism. Go me.

I don't really think any of this is abnormal - I think we all sacrifice our passions for the sake of objective success to a certain degree, and that's probably a good thing. I'm not into chaos in a big way, eh?

But every now and then I get this yearning feeling. It's really hard to describe.. I want.. something, something that's just out of reach and that I'll never be able to have, but that has my mind flying off into romantic fantasies of what if. By this I don't mean romance in the traditional sense - I'm not talking about tall dark handsome strangers here (this was never my fantasy to be honest), I mean the type of romantic fantasy that involves galloping on horses on windswept moors shooting fireballs, or nights of passion with multiple lovers of my own invention, and most of all being in a world where I'm not limited by thoughts of the future and how I must consider that in all things I do. In this fantasy world I can express those emotions fully and freely and not suffer the real-world consequences of them. I'm perfectly aware that it's all fantasy, but I get some kind of sustenance from occasionally indulging this in my mind, allowing it to run down those tracks until I can't remember where I started. During times when this is happening I often feel as if I'm about to explode, and the mundane world seems kind of dull by comparison. It's a bit like that first flush of being in love, and because I'm kind of obsessive by nature, it takes over my waking life somewhat. After a few days of this kind of yearning/fantasising, things go back to normal and I focus back on the things that are important to me according to my values.

In a world where I must repress my inner self in order to fit in, this kind of escapism, IMO, is healthy - like a valve to let off pent-up passion. I wonder if this is part of what writers do. I wonder if anybody else does this. I know I'm not particularly unique or special, and that other people also have an inner life, but the point is, people don't share their inner lives. We've been well trained not to, and we all know through bitter experience that most fantasies should stay fantasies - and expressing them somehow makes them real. But - mine seem pretty harmless, you know? So I'm in the camp that says "This is healthy and probably helps keep me sane" and indulges the fuck out of it.

YMMV.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:June 13th, 2013 10:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Steady on there

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That is my actual life.

My fantasy life is a combination of NSFW and embarrassing.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 13th, 2013 10:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Steady on there

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I see your starships and raise them the ability to actually shoot fireballs and levitate.

Tentacles are so last week. This week it's villi. Because we're minimalist.
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From:rivet
Date:June 13th, 2013 11:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Steady on there

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My villi have bioluminescent filaments that reflect my emotional state.

Also, D&K have gifted me with self-snuggling pants. I will demonstrate them when I see you in a couple weeks. They don't bioluminesce, but they're awesome.
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From:danjite
Date:June 14th, 2013 07:27 am (UTC)

Re: Steady on there

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Skipped the stage of "getting in your pants" for the much more efficient "Getting you pants".
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From:decemberthirty
Date:June 13th, 2013 11:55 pm (UTC)
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I go through phases that sound similar to what you're describing here. I sometimes refer to it as "temporary madness," and sometimes (stealing a line from a Neko Case song) as "that teenage feeling." In fact, I went through such a phase not long ago and posted about it here; I remembered that you commented to say it happens to you too, which is what makes me think we're talking about the same (or at least a similar) thing.

I tend to fight against myself a bit when I go into this mode--perhaps the repression training is too strong, or something--and that makes it a bit harder for me to see it as a healthy release. I'm working on not fighting so much, though, since the situation doesn't seem likely to go away and it's never much fine to fight against oneself.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 14th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
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I remember that - you put it so much more eloquently than me!

I tend to look at it as a question. Does indulging this harm anyone? The answer for me is no. I'm never so far gone that I don't fulfil my daily requirements to function*, and ultimately it makes me feel good. I like it. And as you say, it's not going away so fighting it seems counterproductive.

* As an obsessive/compulsive type there are things that can affect my daily functions, but for some reason this isn't one of them.
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From:pombagira
Date:June 14th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
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yes... err as in yes i do similar things, fantasy world, where i get to do what i want. kinda of like a through exercise?

and thats about all my brain is up to, today cause i has lurgy and have taken drugs... everything is floaty and distract....

oh shiny
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From:richaarde
Date:June 14th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC)
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Same here. It would have been awesome to be in a rock band, except then I think about how much work it would take to actually make that happen and there's no way I'd ever really feel like putting myself through any of that. And that slaps me right back to reality.

Bah.
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From:dreadbeard
Date:June 14th, 2013 02:50 am (UTC)
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remind me of this post sometime, and we will have an interesting conversation
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From:tatjna
Date:June 14th, 2013 02:50 am (UTC)
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We always have interesting conversations. But ok. I like talking with you.
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From:pixiebelle
Date:June 14th, 2013 03:01 am (UTC)
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You remind me of myself actually. I'm very passionate and always have been. I'm also a dreamer and want more out of life. So I get that feeling and trust me, I yearn for things I can't have along with things I may never have, but who knows?

I'm very open with my emotions and have found it freaks people out. Which is one reason I've stepped away from LJ a bit (that and my life is busy, yet boring).
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From:neverminetohold
Date:June 14th, 2013 09:56 am (UTC)
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I think it's perfectly normal and that everyone does that (well, except for my father, his imagination only fills a teaspoon - barely XD), it's just the degree that varies. I for one, life my fantasies during the nights - my dreams are better than Hollywood movies - saving fantasy worlds, surviving on a abandoned space station, riding a dragon? Check, check and check. Aside from that, I daydream pretty often - and I write fanfiction, which is another way to escape RL for a while. Video games help, too XD

I can't see anything wrong with that :)
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From:laughingmagpie
Date:June 14th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
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But every now and then I get this yearning feeling...
During times when this is happening I often feel as if I'm about to explode, and the mundane world seems kind of dull by comparison. It's a bit like that first flush of being in love, and because I'm kind of obsessive by nature, it takes over my waking life somewhat.


Oh gosh, this speaks to me so much. Sometimes I get so full of that feeling - which sometimes feels like homesickness or nostalgia to me - that there's part of me that just can't believe it's not real. At least in some tiny way. It's like I'm going to burst. I moon around for awhile, daydreaming, being sorta blue and sad, then make a costume about it.

There's a part in the movie "Galaxy Quest" that hit this feeling perfectly for me. When the crew of the fictional starship shows up at this fan's house, engaged in an actual quest with aliens and space and everything and they need the fan's help. They say to him, "It's all real." And the fan says "Oh my God, I knew it. I knew it! I knew it!"


A little self-indulgent, but I wrote a little bit about how I get consumed along similar lines here several years ago: http://laughingmagpie.livejournal.com/11902.html

Edited at 2013-06-14 03:24 pm (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:June 14th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
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Yes, that's totally it - and again, much better worded than my attempt. ;-)

Also, ditto on the costumes, and that bit about how the feeling leads to learning all sorts of things that are only barely related.
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:June 14th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
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I'm constantly running stories through my mind. Sometimes I just dip into them occasionally but I also go through phases when I dive into them more deeply. They're partly just an expression of the fact I have a strong imagination and a writer's brain - I can't not tell stories, my brain just does that. But they are also a way of expressing emotion and I can move myself deeply and be quite swept away by the stories in my head.

The difference is that my stories don't involve me - all the characters are original. There's always a female character who has some traits in common with me, but in many ways she's very different. I'm not really interested in imagining myself doing stuff - I mean, I do occasionally, but it tends to be brief and not very exciting. I much prefer playing with characters I've invented, with their own back stories and situations.

I definitely do actually NEED this - if I don't get enough time to dive into my stories I feel unbalanced and can get quite depressed. I also NEED to keep them to myself - I've mentioned them in very bare outline to other people but sharing them would destroy them and make them lose all value.
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From:devifemme
Date:June 15th, 2013 04:01 am (UTC)

Warm wishes for the evolving YOU!

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Well, quite a few people have responded to your exceedingly nice post today, Tatjna, and such an outpouring of fellow-feeling is cool. I too enjoyed your exploration of your need for intense emotion. Today's post fits into the sense of the passionate YOU that I've gradually constructed over several years of reading you. (Commenting not as often as I'd wish, alas...)

Anyhow, this particular piece DOES seem to take you much farther into self-awareness -- obviously a good and valid thing. (As is your parents and friends being supportive of such expressiveness.)

I hope that you're able to take this self-exploration into new realms of consciousness, and wish you Godspeed in your process of becoming! I'll happily watch and learn!

Kisses, Justine



Edited at 2013-06-15 04:03 am (UTC)
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:June 16th, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
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Oh yes, I'm the same like you. It's not pressing on as often as it did when I was younger overtaking everything, but comes and goes with periods of functioning normal without struggle inbetween. For me it's like you say, a bittersweet yearning, a painful longing for something that my rational and logical brain knows is impossible but that my emotions and imagination refuse to accept as unattainable and it breaks my heart.

I have a vivid imagination and daydream a lot and try to write. I think/hope writing can be a way to be able to live in my dream worlds, and that maybe one day I'll be able to make a living as a writer. The struggle is to phrase what I see and live in my brain the right way, not ruining it with words that makes it flat and colourless.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 16th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
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I've spoken to a few people about this now, and it seems that writing is a common thread of expression for this type of feeling. I'm giving it a go, but I'm really not much of a writer - my style is very matter of fact and that's not really conducive to a good flight of fantasy eh?
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From:fushia_darkness
Date:June 17th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
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And I'm way too detail-oriented when I write which makes the story flat and boring... Writing is NOT easy, that's for sure. But on those occasions when it works and I'm in a flow, it's pure magic!
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