The Unreality of My Reality


I don’t like reality. I think most people who know me even a little know this. Reality and I are not what you’d call pals. On the phone the other day, I was bleating/whining/griping/grousing/bitching about something or other, and my dearest, most wonderful best friend basically said the following:

“Well, you don’t like reality so you don’t take part in it. Maybe you should.”

If any other person had said it, I might have smashed them in the face (or at least shot back with a witty rejoinder), but Natasha only tells me the truth for my own good. So I sighed heavily.

“Yeah. I know. I have no idea how to do that, though,” said I.

The problem is that I don’t know how to take part in the world. I mean, I’m here, but I don’t participate.

I used to be praised for my imagination, back when I was young and you were still allowed to have one of those. I don’t think the grown-ups even realised how bright and shiny my imagination was, or the incredible detail with which I was endowing my unreal worlds. Some of it was so detailed that even now I can summon up the décor in a room I imagined twenty-five years ago.

Most games I played as a child were the make-believe type. Richard and I played our kids-running-away-from home game Ski-Boats at school, and we had a dozen others depending on the location we were in at any given time. With other friends I had other games, but they were all make-believe.

I was a princess, an adventurer, a warrior, an emperor, a god. I was king of the world before Jack in Titanic was even thought of. I was the master and mistress of my world. My worlds were the trees and fields amongst which I ran: the only good thing about being yanked out of London and plonked down in Suburbia. Even the school swimming pool was some Stingray-like place in my mind. Nothing was exactly as it appeared to everyone else.

But you’re supposed to grow up and you’re supposed to ‘get real’. Well, just as I never learned how to become pleasing, I never did learn how to get real. It’s a phrase my mum has used many times. Now, I love and adore and respect my mother, but I don’t think she understands imagination and dreaming… and nor do many other people. Maybe I was off sick when they taught ‘getting real’ at school.

I get called mad and crazy and other ableist type language just for viewing the world ever-so-slightly differently to the majority. I mean, I’m not actually that weird. I’m not the Last of the Great Eccentrics or anything, I’m just not playing the normal game.

Or maybe I am a bit off. You decide as I explain my attachment to the impossible:

Do you know how many times I’ve re-written history? I joke about my daydream to go back in time to the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 and find Jim Morrison, but I’m not really joking. If I could, I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s the same daydream I’ve had for fifteen years or more and as these things often do, with John Lennon. As the importance of his murder to me grew clearer, I began trying to find ways to stop it happening. I planned and schemed all manner of things, and all I needed was to, you know, be sent back in time. A minor point, one might say.

And then, there is Jim. I have never wanted someone to have lived so desperately as Jim Morrison. I mean, I would give my left kidney to have met my beloved, eternally-missed Mariolina, but I would pick Jim over her. This makes me feel bad, of course. I’ve even dreamed of it, of helping that undeserving sod kick his addictions. I woke up before I knew if it worked, but it was so vivid…

Did you know that John Lennon was murdered on Jim Morrison’s birthday? I did. I fancied that if – if only! – Jim lived, maybe that one not-dying could change the whole fucking world. Because if Jim Morrison and John Lennon survived, then that’s the landscape of western pop culture completely changed and from there… the whole damn world.

I was always willing to give up everything I have now, this life, youth in the 21st Century, internet, my family, my friends, technology, decent food, feminism, everything, for my daydream.

Of course, my daydream is impossible. Not just improbable, as Holmes would say, but impossible. It’s very, very easy to say I’d give up everything for something that simply cannot happen. I do truly believe that if I was given the opportunity, I would take it… but it’s just not going to happen. If there is a God, then he’s clearly a total bastard for letting them die in the first place, so he’s not going to send me back in time to fix his mistakes, is he? It’s not Doctor fucking Who.

I have constructed for myself an internal world of the impossible. This means I get to control everything, although always within the constraints of what I know of the participants. But I’m still in control. I get to be centre-stage at the greatest show on earth, if you like. In Clare’s Unreality, her word is God. In fact, in Clare’s Unreality, she is God, with power over life, death and everything in between.

You knew I was arrogant, but perhaps you didn’t know the scale of my ambition? To be God, again, wanting the impossible. I’m clearly not God, because Chuck Shurley is. Hell, that’s probably one of the reasons I’m a writer: I get to play God. My Unreality is just another tale I’m spinning, except I have my entire being, my soul and heart invested in it. Truly, if it were a choice between my life and Jim/John/Rory/Philip, you wouldn’t ever see me again. My Unreality is a seductive world, and it got me hook, line, sinker, lock, stock, barrel and the rest.

I’ve internalised things for a long time. I think one of the reasons I am so self-centred, so self-absorbed and talk about myself so fucking much of the time is because for such a long time, it really was just me, on my own. For years, I was the only company I really had. I mean, my mum and dad were downstairs, and my brother was around, and there were people at school, but it was really just me. There was nobody to stop me building my internal worlds (and as Natasha pointed out, my internal walls, which rival those of Troy) and no reason not to do it.

I even get sucked into things which allow me to dream somehow, like The Sims. Man, if ever there was a game designed for me, that’s it. Controlling fake people, cheating/bypassing money, death, time and everything that bothers real humans… sounds awesome to me. I must really like playing God.

I don’t like Reality, so I made my own Unreality… but it’s not useful, is it? It’s probably emotionally toxic at best. I use some of it to my advantage for writing, but mostly not. Mostly, it’s what must be keeping me locked away.

Now, how do I sort this out? Do I even want to? No. Should I? Yes. Man, it’s just like the Doors song ‘Unhappy Girl’:

Unhappy girl, tear your web away, saw through all your bars, melt your cell today …  You are dying in a prison of your own devise.”

So you see, Jim knew what I was about more than a decade before I was born. There I am, right there in the lyrics of a daydream’s real song.

Not so long ago, I headed off into HMV in search of a movie. Couldn’t tell you which one, and it doesn’t really matter. I was immediately assaulted by larger-than-life images of the Twilight dudes – the one with a face like a foot and the wolf kid. Everywhere I turned, there was Twilight, infecting each section of the store like smallpox in the 19th Century. My goodwill towards humanity, meagre at the best of times, drained away. I left HMV empty-handed and absolutely bereft. I felt I had no investment in the world at all, and that therefore the world had no investment in me.

Now as much as I’d like to blame Smeyer for that, I know I can’t. Twilight is a cultural disease, but it’s not at the root of my disquiet. As Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Robert Plant both sang: nobody’s fault but mine.

What I don’t know, what isn’t clear to me, is how I dig myself out of this particular hole. How do I re-engage with the world? It’s ridiculous: I live at the centre of the universe, really, and I don’t do anything with it. I have in fact, managed to create a life for myself in the centre of London without much in the way of other human interaction. It’s an achievement, you must surely agree, although not one I’ll brag about too much.

I went for a walk on Sunday, as I often do. I wandered up towards Shoreditch, the down to Spitalfields. At the market I was surrounded by people and hadn’t felt that alone in years. My God, the feeling of not feeling was crushing. I wandered all the way to St Katharine’s Dock just trying to feel something, and/or anything at all. I was surrounded by people there too, and as I passed by The Tower of London, but I might as well have been the guy in 28 Days Later as far as I was concerned.

Old habits die hard. How the fuck do I sort it out? Several someones have said, ‘oh, get a boyfriend’, as if that’s the be all and end all, and that once that’s done I’ll be both a Success As A Woman and Happy Forever.

Several problems here:

  1. I am the pickiest, most demanding person on the planet. I mean, I have a little thing called The Valentino Test going on, so anyone I’m willing to spend time with will have to be as beautiful as Valentino, as charming as Flynn and as touched with greatness as *insert name of deceased rock legend here*.

  2. There can be few people easier to live with than me. I have been alone for such a long time that I can’t imagine giving up my time and other precious resources for anything less than epic – as if I’d have the first clue as to then how one goes about it.

  3. Anyone willing to put up with me would surely be crushed under my arrogant, self-absorbed, domineering bootheel and therefore would certainly not be anyone I’d want to bother with in return. I think Elizabeth Bennet makes a similar remark in Pride and Prejudice.

  4. My God, I just referenced a regency romance. I am so screwed. Or rather, the exact opposite. (boom boom). I don’t even like Austen.

 

Do you see what I just did there? I just talked myself out of a certain sort of reality. I’m very good at that, being blessed with either a silver tongue or blarney, depending on your opinion.

Of course, that’s not all there is to reality. It’s just the version presented to me most often (another post for another day, of course). Someone I know jokes to me every so often that I should just have a baby – that’s reality enough, Clare, she says! However, it seems a bit extreme (also callous) to create an entirely new life just so that I’ll live in the real world. And anyway, I can’t afford that.

So what else can I do? I have little enough energy at the best of times…

I can do what I should be doing already: music. That’s the real world I’m willing to accept: gigging, writing, playing, possible fame and fortune. That’s the real world that I want, even. It’s the real world I’ve been dreaming of for so long…

And so what’s stopping me? Fear of the unknown? Meh, I’m not scared of that. Fear of failure? Now, that’s a horse of a different safari, as the song goes. In my Unreality, I am God, so I do not fail, not when it matters. In Reality, I am most certainly not God and can most certainly fail.

I can live without living, but I can’t live with the failure of my dreams, I suspect…

But, I think right now just to feel alive would be a start. I couldn’t tell you when I died inside, not to the day, but it’s been like this for much too long, and I don’t know how to get out of it, or if I have the energy and/or strength to do so.

Suggestions on a postcard to the usual address.

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-I don't like reality. I
think most people who know me even a little know this. Reality and I
are not what you'd call palOn the phone the other
day, I was bleating/whining/griping/grousing/bitching about something
or other, and my dearest, most wonderful best friend basically said
the followin“Well, you don't like
reality so you don't take part in it. Maybe you shouldIf any other person had
said it, I might have smashed them in the face (or at least shot back
with a witty rejoinder), but Natasha only tells me the truth for my
own good. So I sighed heavil“Yeah. I know. I have
no idea how to do that,
though,” said
The
problem is that I don’t know how to take part in the world. I mean,
I’m here, but I don’t participatI
used to be praised for my imagination, back when I was young and you
were still allowed to have one of those. I don’t think the grown-ups
even realised how bright and shiny my imagination was, or the
incredible detail with which I was endowing my unreal worlds. Some of
it was so detailed that even now I can summon up the décor in a room
I imagined twenty-five years agMost
games I played as a child were the make-believe type. Richard and I
played our kids-running-away-from home game Ski-Boats at school, and
we had a dozen others depending on the location we were in at any
given time. With other friends I had other games, but they were all
make-believI
was a princess, an adventurer, a warrior, an emperor, a god. I was
king of the world before Jack in Titanic was even thought of. I was
the master and mistress of my world. My worlds were the trees and
fields amongst which I ran: the only good thing about being yanked
out of London and plonked down in Suburbia. Even the school swimming
pool was some Stingray-like place in my mind. Nothing was
exactly as it appeared to everyone elsBut
you’re supposed to grow up and you’re supposed to ‘get real’. Well,
just as I never learned how to become
pleasing,
I never did learn how to get real. It’s a phrase my mum has used many
times. Now, I love and adore and respect my mother, but I don’t think
she understands imagination and dreaming… and nor do many other
people. Maybe I was off sick when they taught ‘getting real’ at
schoo
I
get called mad and crazy and other ableist type language just for
viewing the world ever-so-slightly differently to the majority. I
mean, I’m not
actually that weird.
I’m not the Last of the Great Eccentrics or anything, I’m just not
playing the
normal
gam
Or
maybe I am a bit off. You decide as I explain my attachment to the
impossiblDo
you know how many times I’ve re-written history? I joke about my
daydream to go back in time to the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 and
find Jim Morrison, but I’m
not really joking.
If I could, I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s the same daydream I’ve
had for fifteen years or more and
as these things often do,
with John Lennon. As the importance of his murder to me grew clearer,
I began trying to find ways to stop it happening. I planned and
schemed all manner of things, and all I needed was to, you know, be
sent back in time
. At first, I
was just going to take some/all of the bullets for him, but that was
when I really didn’t mind if I died. As I put myself back together
mentally, I amended it so that I either took a few bullets and we
both survived, or I got to MDC first or something less extreme than
martyrdo
And
then, there is Jim. I have never wanted someone to have lived so
desperately as Jim Morrison. I mean, I would give my left kidney to
have met my beloved Mariolina, but I would pick Jim over her. This
makes me feel bad, of course. I’ve even dreamed of it, of helping
that undeserving sod kick his addictions. I woke up before I knew if
it worked, but it was so vivid.Did
you know that John Lennon was murdered on Jim Morrison’s birthday? I
did. I fancied that if – if only! – Jim lived, maybe that one
not-dying could change the whole fucking world. Because if Jim
Morrison
and John
Lennon survived, then that’s the landscape of western pop culture
completely changed and from there… the whole damn worl
I
was always willing to give up everything I have now, this life, youth
in the 21
st
Century, internet, my family, my friends, technology, decent food,
feminism,
everything,
for my daydrea
Of
course, my daydream is
impossible.
Not just improbable, as Holmes would say, but impossible. It’s very,
very easy to say I’d give up everything for something that simply
cannot happen. I do
truly believe that if I was given the opportunity, I would take it…
but it’s just
not going to happen.
If there
is a God,
then he’s clearly a total bastard for letting them die in the first
place, so he’s not going to send me back in time to fix his mistakes,
is he? It’s not
Doctor fucking
Who
I
have constructed for myself an internal world of the impossible. This
means I get to control everything, although always within the
constraints of what I know of the participants. But I’m still in
control. I get to be centre-stage at the greatest show on earth, if
you like. In Clare’s Unreality, her word is God. In fact, in Clare’s
Unreality, she
is God,
with power over life, death and everything in betwee
You
knew I was arrogant, but perhaps you didn’t know the scale of my
ambition? To be God, again, wanting the impossible. I’m clearly not
God, because Chuck Shirley is. Hell, that’s probably one of the
reasons I’m a writer: I get to play God. My Unreality is just another
tale I’m spinning, except I have my entire being, my soul and heart
invested in it. Truly, if it were a choice between my life and
Jim/John/Rory/Philip, you wouldn’t ever see me again. My Unreality is
a seductive world, and it got me hook, line, sinker, lock, stock,
barrel and the resI’ve
internalised things for a long time. I think one of the reasons I am
so self-centred, so self-absorbed and talk about myself so fucking
much of the time is because for such a long time, it really was just
me, on my own. For
years,
I was the only company I really had. I mean, my mum and dad were
downstairs, and my brother was around, and there were people at
school, but it was really just me. There was nobody to stop me
building my internal worlds (and as Natasha pointed out, my internal
walls, which rival those of Troy) and no reason not to do i
I
even get sucked into things which allow me to dream somehow, like The
Sims
. Man, if ever there was a game designed for me, that’s it.
Controlling fake people, cheating money, death, time and everything
that bothers real humans… sounds awesome to me. I must really
like playing GoI
don’t like Reality, so I made my own Unreality… but it’s not
useful, is it? It’s probably emotionally toxic at best. I use some of
it to my advantage for writing, but mostly not. Mostly, it’s what
must be keeping me locked awaNow,
how do I sort this out? Do I even want to? No. Should I? Yes.
Man, it’s just like the Doors song ‘Unhappy Girl“Unhappy girl, lie
fast awake, saw through all your bars, melt your cell toda
You are dying in a
prison of your own devise
So
you see, Jim knew what I was about more than a decade before I was
born. There I am, right there in the lyrics of my daydream’s real
sonNot
so long ago, I headed off into HMV in search of a movie. Couldn’t
tell you which one, and it doesn’t really matter. I was immediately
assaulted by larger-than-life images of the
Twilight
dudes – the one with a face like a foot and the wolf kid.
Everywhere I turned, there was
Twilight, infecting
each section of the store like smallpox in the 19
th
Century. My goodwill towards humanity, meagre at the best of times,
drained away. I left HMV empty-handed and absolutely bereft. I felt I
had
no investment in
the world at all, and that therefore the world had no investment in
m
Now
as much as I’d like to blame Smeyer for that, I know I can’t.
Twilight is a cultural
disease, but it’s not at the root of my disquiet. I am, of course. As
Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Robert Plant both sang:
nobody’s
fault but mine
What
I don’t know, what isn’t clear to me, is how I dig myself out of this
particular hole. How do I re-engage with the world? It’s ridiculous:
I live at the centre of the universe, really, and I don’t do anything
with it. I have in fact, managed to create a life for myself in the
centre of London without much in the way of other human interaction.
It’s an achievement, you must surely agree, although not one I’ll
brag about too mucI
went for a walk on Sunday, as I often do. I wandered up towards
Shoreditch, the down to Spitalfields. At the market I was surrounded
by people and hadn’t felt that alone in years. My God, the feeling of
not feeling was
crushing. I wandered all the way to St Katharine’s Dock just trying
to feel something, and/or anything at all. I was surrounded by people
there too, and as I passed by The Tower of London, but I might as
well have been the guy in
28 Days Later
as far as I was concerne
Old
habits die hard. How the fuck do I sort it out? Someone said ‘oh, get
a boyfriend’, as if that’s the be all and end all, and that once
that’s done I’ll be both a Success As A Woman and Happy ForeveSeveral
problems hereI am the pickiest, most demanding person on the planet. I mean, I
have a little thing called The Valentino Test going on, so anyone
I’m willing to spend time with will have to be as beautiful as
Valentino, as charming as Flynn and as touched with greatness as
*insert name of deceased rock legend here*There
can be few people easier to live with than me. I have been alone for
such a long time that I can’t imagine giving up my time and other
precious resources for anything less than epic – as if I’d have
the first clue as to then
how
one goes about it
Anyone
willing to put up with me would surely be crushed under my arrogant,
self-absorbed, domineering bootheel and therefore would certainly
not be anyone I’d want to bother with in return. I think Elizabeth
Bennet makes a similar remark in
Pride and PrejudiceMy
God, I just referenced a regency romance. I am so screwed. Or
rather, the exact opposite. (boom boom). I don’t even
like
Auste
Do
you see what I just did there? I just talked myself out of a certain
sort of reality. I’m very good at that, being blessed with either a
silver tongue or blarney, depending on your opinioOf
course, that’s not all there is to reality. It’s just the version
presented to me most often (another post for another day, of course).
Someone I know jokes to me every so often that I should just have a
baby – that’s reality enough, Clare, she says! However, it seems a
bit extreme (also callous) to create an entirely new life just so
that I’ll live in the real world. And anyway, I can’t afford tha
So
what else can I do? I have little enough energy at the best of
times.I
can do what I should be doing already:
music.
That’s the real world I’m willing to accept: gigging, writing,
playing, possible fame and fortune. That’s the real world that I
want, even. It’s the
real world I’ve been dreaming of for so long.
And
so what’s stopping me? Fear of the unknown? Meh, I’m not scared of
that. Fear of failure? Now, that’s a horse of a different safari, as
the song goes. In my Unreality, I am God, so I do not fail, not when
it matters. In Reality, I am most certainly
not
God and can most certainly fai
I
can live without living, but I can’t live with the failure of my
dreams, I suspect.But,
I think right now just to feel
alive
would be a start. I couldn’t tell you when I died inside, not to the
day, but it’s been like this for much too long, and I don’t know how
to get out of it, or if I have the energy and/or strength to do s
Suggestions
on a postcard to the usual address.

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3 Responses to The Unreality of My Reality

  1. You know, I don’t often comment on your journal, but I have to say I really enjoyed reading this entry. I mean, I really enjoy reading all your entries, but this one especially. I don’t like participating in reality either. Reality is full of disappointment and I like the reality that *I* create in my head (or on the sims!) much more than the one that other people create around me.

    • apollarock says:

      😀 😀 Good Friend Nightfall, I always enjoy reading yours too, but I never feel like I have anything useful to add!

      I think my problem currently is that I have gone too skewed to Unreality and that’s not really a good thing… or it just bothers me this week and I’ll be fine tomorrow.

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