Friday, November 30, 2012

My Fantasy Life in the Witness Protection Program

One of the ways I survived my crazy dysfunctional childhood was by escaping into a fantasy world of my own creation.


Now, lest you start to worry, I didn't suffer actual breaks from reality or anything - these were more like carefully crafted daydreams or "thought vacations."

I had fantasies of every stripe and variety. There were the Please Rescue Me fantasies of my younger days, which usually involved being adopted by some loving teacher, neighbor or family. These easily morphed into the Prince Charming fantasies of my adolescence which grew ever steamier and complex as I got older.


Then, of course, there were the I am SO Good Enough fantasies, which generally involved Olympic medals, hit songs and Academy Awards.


But when things got really bad, I could always resort to one of my Leave Me the Fuck Alone fantasies, which included things like being marooned in a tropical paradise, or the darker more nihilistic kind where I would awake in some sort of post apocalyptic world to discover that I was the only human left on the planet earth.


But of all of my fantasies, one of the most enduring and flexible has been the Witness Protection Program fantasy.


I still catch myself drifting off there now and then whenever life starts to feel a bit overwhelming (like, say, when I'm faced with the illness of a beloved pet.)



So here's the scenario:

Through some quirk of fate I happen to witness some sort of Mafia transaction - one which will surely result in my being "rubbed out" in short order, until the FBI sweeps in and takes matters into their own hands. I'm left with no choice but to testify against the bad guys, abandon my life (the FBI fixes it so everyone thinks I'm dead) and enter the witness protection program.


Now, depending on how badly I want to escape from myself, the fantasy sometimes involves plastic surgery, amnesia, and/or the mysterious disappearance of several inches of height - but none of that is really a necessary component.


At first blush one might think this fantasy is simply a convenient way to escape from a painful past and an uncertain present. A unique opportunity to finally have what I always wanted... to "be normal" (whatever the fuck that means.)


But the interesting thing is that the sort of life that my witness protection self always seems to create is generally a very small and quiet life. I mean, if the mob is after you, the last thing you want is to draw attention to yourself, right?


So in this little dream, I've given myself permission to simply melt into the fabric of society... to be ordinary... to stop trying so frickin' hard... and it's always such an incredible relief.


And when I look back and compare the reality of my daily life to the life of my younger self, it is rather remarkable how much like the witness protection fantasy my actual life has become.

No... I didn't disappear, or change my name (well - except for the purposes of this blog) or move to a different city, or anything like that. But my life is certainly quieter and smaller. There are fewer people in my life now, and I don't spend nearly as much time worrying about what they think.


Once I stopped working, I learned pretty quickly that my "big important job" wasn't really all that important after all. And while there are plenty of issues that I care deeply about, I've sort of given up on the idea that my purpose in life is to fix everything. In a real sense, I guess I've stopped trying to "matter" so much.


To my former self, all of this would have been unthinkable. If I wasn't striving, and working, and suffering, and achieving, and proving something to someone all the time, I honestly felt like I didn't have the right to exist.


I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this... I mean, it's not like I've got everything figured out now, and that my life is totally peachy keen. But there is a certain peace in surrender, and it's sorta nice not to need the threat of mafia hit men in order to allow myself to let go a little bit.


So, I guess I'll just leave it at that, and offer up one of my very favorite songs from back in my younger days. Yes... I was  HUGE John Denver fan, and he was the object of many-a Prince Charming fantasy!



So how about you? How does your fantasy world compare with reality?

24 comments :

  1. I am totally on board with little mind vacations to break up the monotony. The pictures you chose are hysterical. Love the REALITY poster.

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    1. Ahhh yes, the game of reality! If only I was better at playing that one!

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  2. For some reason, this got me all choked up, even though my reality right now compares pretty favorably with my fantasies. But I remember times when I created elaborate escape fantasies. I love the way you cut from serious thought to great cat gifs; I'm a sucker for a funny cat gif. Thanks.

    jesinalbuquerque

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    1. Funny cat gifs make everything better, don't they?

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  3. My fantasies have never been so much about how my life could be better, as how I'd cope if something terrible happened. I guess that means I've always been pretty happy with my life (read: total denial when things are really bad).

    For someone who's so devoid of fantasies, I've somehow ended up living other people's fantasy life, which is rather odd.

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    1. I've had my fair share of "coping with something terrible" fantasies too. It's like I'm trying to convince myself that if I can feel all of the horrible emotions ahead of time... when the bad thing hasn't really happened yet, then I'm somehow inoculating myself against the true weight of what I'd feel if/when it really did happen. Unfortunately, I've sorta come to the conclusion that it doesn't really work that way. Being "prepared" won't make it hurt any less - in fact it often just prolongs the agony.

      Anyhow, I'm trying really hard not to let myself go there anymore because ultimately you don't get to decide what you feel, and there's just no way to prevent pain when bad things happen.

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  4. Replies
    1. Well... he's not doin' so great. But we FINALLY got a decent urine sample so we could do a culture and determined that he doesn't have a bacterial infection. So that narrows it down to either cancer or cystitis (which is basically idiopathic inflammation.)

      Soooo... at the moment he's on pain meds, which is the only think keeping him from running frantically from one litter box to the next, and we've started him on amitriptyline (which is an anti-depressant that sometimes helps with cystitis.) Unfortunately, it takes a while for it to build up in his system. We're also doing an ultrasound/biopsy to check for cancer next week.

      Oy. To tell the truth, I think all this is harder on me than it is on him! But I am quite grateful that I've got pet insurance - which I sometimes have thought is a silly expense. At least I'm able to make decisions based on what's best for him rather than on how much it's gonna cost.

      Heavy sigh.

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    2. Glad you went the route of the amitriptyline. I had great results with Carson. He eventually had to have a urethrostomy (http://www.vetsurgerycentral.com/urethrostomy.htm ), probably because the vet left the catheter in too long. He did fine for many years afterwards. Fingers, toes & eyes crossed!

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    3. Thanks Connie... I have to admit that I'm not feeling very positive at the moment. But at least today he's been able to go about 3 hours between trips to the litter box. I'm thankful at least that since he's a total pig giving him pills has been easy - I just use those pill pockets and he practically inhales them. I'm also getting better at giving Sub-Q fluids. Fingers crossed...

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    4. Have you ever tried any of Bach's Flower Essences? I know next to nothing about holistic medicine, but I keep Rescue Remedy on hand. It's kind of a broad spectrum essence, and seems to help calm the cats & dogs when I've used it.

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    5. I have a friend who swears by them, and I have tried Rescue Remedy before on other cats with no effect. But it couldn't hurt! I think I might have some hanging around somewhere... does it go bad? Hard to imagine that anything homeopathic could, since the whole principle of homeopathy is that you water down the thing until you can't even measure it's presence! (I'm a tad bit skeptical about the concept... can you tell?)

      Anyhow, I'm sort of afraid to say this lest I jinx it, but he seems like he might be doing a bit better this morning. It's been nearly 12 hours since his last pain meds - and instead of being frantic he's currently sitting in my lap purring. Plus, there were only 2 pee balls in the litter boxes this morning and both were normal sized! (Unclear which cat or cats left them - but it's a good sign.)

      So I'm hoping, hoping, hoping this means that the amitriptyline is working.

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  5. BTW, I too love the cat photos. I don't think I've ever seen a "gold" cat like the one that matches that old velour couch. Freaky!

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    1. Maybe it's some sort of freaky chameleon cat!

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  6. Ah fantasy, first while I enjoyed John Denver, it was David Cassidy that was in my fantasies. My fantasies when younger were to prove the world wrong. I was going to be super successful, and have more than anyone else had. Ha! I have less money than most and more of everything else. I'd say my fantasies were nothing compared to real life.

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    1. Ha! A friend of mine had a life-sized Sean Cassidy poster that she would practice her kissing technique on. I'm thinking he's David's little brother, but since I never got into them I'm not sure.

      I can totally understand where a person with your history would want to prove the world wrong, and in my book you've done so... and then some!

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    2. Thanks, yes Sean is David's half brother. Same father, different mother. Shirley Jones who played the mom on the Partridge family is Sean's mother and David's step mother, interesting? Oh well, I have lots of dumb info in my head. :-)

      I never went so far as to practice kissing him, my obsession wasn't that bad. It wasn't the persona of his character on the show it was the long hair and bad boy image he had off-set that I was attracted to, something I carried over into real life I should add.

      I think there is a little rebel in all of us. I may have just held on to more of it.

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    3. Ahhhh... the "bad boy" attraction. I think my crushes always were of the "older man" variety. Probably something to do with the quest for a father figure...

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  7. I fantasise about living in a hotel! No housekeeping, no bills except to the hotel. No cooking, no shopping. If the shower goes wrong it is someone else's job to fix it! Yeeesss... People used to live this way quite a lot (see Terence Rattigan's play, Separate Tables) or in serviced apartments but not nowadays. At least not in the UK. One of these days..... Frances.

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    1. OK... believe it or not I've actually heard this fantasy before. While I understand the draw of having somebody else deal with everything, I guess my dislike of having other people in my space is big enough that it overrides any desire to have people do my cooking, cleaning etc.

      I totally HATED living in an apartment because just the thought that there was a manager out there who had the keys to my apartment, and the legal right to enter made me uneasy. I think that's why I prefer to do most home repairs myself... even the stuff that's purely outside - I just can't stand having strangers around, even if it does mean that I get a new appliance or a painted/repaired something-or-other. It just weirds me out.

      Wonder what that says about me?

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  8. Thanks Eco Cat, you've provided me with the fuel for many fantasies. I wonder what the world would be like if we all lived like we were in the witness protection program, quietly, humbly going about our business without fanfare or foofaraw! I like it, I like it a lot!

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    1. A world full of humble people... wouldn't that be something!

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  9. I had a similiar dream about the witness protection program, and at the end I just walked away. There was some kind of monetary payoff for being in this program. I don't really know why I walked away except that it was in a place that reminded me of being used and extreme poverty. I didn't want to live there or live in fear. One of my daydream fantasies has always been that whenever someone I care about dies, I would imagine they aren't really dead and they are really in the witness protection program, maybe some are?

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    1. Oooo... now that's an interesting twist - the part about loved ones being in the witness protection program. I suppose that's sort of the "hollywood thriller" version of reincarnation or some sort of afterlife. :-)

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