Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Secret lives

Just some drabble, nothing more...

I live secret lives. I am the daughter of an alcoholic. I'm a teenage mother. I'm divorced. I have a father who left when I was a child and has been hiding out by the FBI for most of my life. I've had three different sisters played by five different people. I have magic powers, I can see through walls and transport myself from one room to another with a single thought. I once shot a man in cold blood because he raped my sister.  The jury found me not guilty. I have an older brother who came back to life.

I'm more than me. I live secret lives. They're much more provocative than my real life. For years, I've buried myself in this alternate universe, my TV shows lasting long after the last line of the credits has rolled across the screen. I've built enough sitcoms in my mind to fill up thousands of twenty-three minute blocks. I have dozens of families, kids, sisters, brothers, steps, cousins...a virtual smorgasbord of imaginary relatives. One of my favorite families is my 'mother', my two 'sisters', and my 'stepdad'. They're from a TV show, my favorite sitcom. I'm the youngest, the baby of the family, everyone's protective of me. I have heart-to-hearts with my oldest 'sister', pouring out my feelings to get advice from her, sharing giggles over cups of hot cocoa and popcorn. We bonded when our mother was put in jail, and it was either foster care or her place. I didn't speak to her for a long time when she helped get a court order to hospitalize me for a drug addiction.

My 'mom' is a different story. We have a rocky relationship, but one always tempered by love. We're a constant thorn in each other's sides. I'm not the perfect daughter she envisioned (in her false, imaginary mind), and she doesn't always live up to the standards that I've created. But we relate to each other and that's what really matters. She and I share a common bond of trust in each other that never fails.

I used to wonder if there was something wrong with me. In high school, other kids would imagine what their future spouses would be like, what jobs they'd have, how many kids they'd pop out. I never wondered about that stuff. I was too concerned with what situation I could be put in that night, as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. As I got older, so did my story lines. My first kiss, my real first kiss was nothing next to my first kiss on TV. That kiss wasn't unsure, no groping hands to fight off, no worrying about what to do when I saw him in school the next day. That kiss was perfect, the kind of kiss you see in movies, where the heroines swoon and know that they're kissing the right person. Still, I know I'm grounded in reality. Other people have fantasies; I'm not alone in this. It's just that their fantasies don't involve shoving themselves into a fictional family. In elementary school, it probably would have been considered having a great imagination. In middle school, maybe a questioning look if anyone ever knew. But in high school, I'd be on my way for a one way ticket to Bellevue hospital. College? Forget it. I've tried to quit, really I have. It's like an addiction, though. I see something on TV that I like and I want to be a part of it. The closest I'll ever get is in my mind. Who am I hurting? Certainly not myself. I realize that it's not real. I know that everything is a figment of my imagination. But when I insert myself into this glowing world that I see on my TV, am I cheating myself out of a real life? Am I cheating myself out of experiencing it for real someday? I don't think so. Of course, that's just me.  I know that this is just a flight of fancy, a long, strange trip right before REM sleep hits, a way to entertain myself when there's nothing on TV worth watching. It's like those games we all used to play as children, House and Office and Doctor. We became someone other than who we really were.