One skill I have in abundance is imagination. Unfortunately, that imagination usually expresses itself egocentrically– or however you would change the root “ego” to mean myself + those most important to myself.
The first category would be run of the mill daydreams. While disruptive to productivity, they are both entertaining and hopeful (admittedly, downright insane.)
I can clearly envision myself:
- a published author
- hosting a NYC poetry reading
- negotiating movie rights (because you’ve heard of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, right?)
- stammering nervously while being interviewed by Letterman
- the first SNL host so beloved by the writers, I’m invited to “guest write” for the first time ever
The farm, the car, the canine I’ll someday acquire dance with the sweet heat of success before the frost has even lifted.
Even more simplistic (and less optimistic) I hold imaginary conversations with real people: family, friends, obsessions. Most of these imagined conversations occupy my brain while performing mundane tasks: driving, vacuuming, exercising, gardening, etc..
But these fantasies consume only a small slice of my imagination time. Perhaps an evolutionary survival skill, dark daymares cloud my mind constantly.
If the baby is too quiet or naps for too long, the horror creeps slowly towards me. I can almost see her contorted, broken body lying at the foot of her crib/base of the stairs/bottom of the pool.
I play the accident all the way through to the funeral on the day my sister drives home in the snow.
After a violent outburst prompting the final separation, I could see my estranged husband lurking upstairs, in the basement, behind the shower curtain; feel the kiss of cold anodized steel; play out a thousand scenarios on what he’d say and how he’d murder me– some including my entire family.
I see myself failing at life– being poor, unsuccessful, unpublished, unfunny, fat and forever alone. More than a failure complex or an ugly sister syndrome, my imagination feeds a growing paranoia. I worry countless times each day about possible harm fated for my family or self.
Ever since my sister’s obese pug died on my watch, I even construct worry-stricken death scenarios for our dogs. I can’t help wondering if some part of me is psychologically broken.
Is overactive imagination a blessing or a curse?
And who needs horror flicks? Real life is quite scary enough, thank you.