Does everyone fantasize? I have asked that question for a very long time; simply because the topic interests me. The question is not limited to sexual fantasies, either. I wonder whether people fantasize about houses they might like to build or trips they might want to take or professions they might wish to have chosen. All sorts of things like that. And things not like that.
A fantasy I’ve had involves the ability to cause others to reveal their fantasies to me. Imagine, for example, you get on a bus (either pre-COVID-19 or post-COVID-19) and sit near the driver. You strike up a conversation with the driver, eventually leading you to say, “Tell me about your fantasies. What do you fantasize about?” Now, sit back and listen to the driver’s detailed explanation of her daydreams or wishes or desires or…whatever you call them.
The fantasy does not have to involve a complete stranger, either. Consider the same scenario, but this time the target of your supernatural ability to draw out secrets is someone in your church or a clerk you see regularly at the grocery store or even your own spouse. Oh, that may be getting a little too close. Would you really want to know about fantasies that could, conceivably, be quite upsetting? How would you react to learning from a work colleague that his fantasy involves shoving you out the thirty-seventh floor window of a high rise building?
One of my many fantasies involves living in an architecturally modern house on a huge tract of land, far away from cities and towns and people in general. The place would be littered with barns, workshops, gardens, tractors, chicken coops, and vast pastures where horses and cows would wander freely. I envision this isolated place might be in New Zealand or Scotland or…I don’t know, somewhere different but where, when I must interact with people, I could speak the language.
Yet another fantasy is at odds with that one. This other fantasy has me living in an apartment in a crowded neighborhood in a big city. At the street level, merchants who sell vegetables and fresh meats and flowers and sandwiches and all manner of other stuff would set up shop very early every morning. When I go down to take my dog for a walk, I would encounter dozens of people I see regularly, including some who I would call friends. The neighborhood is a close-knit enclave in a big, impersonal city that offers everything I might want. Except vast open spaces and utter solitude.
There are more. Many more. You who are reading these words might discover, if you could draw from me a complete revelation of my fantasies, that you play a part in some of them. Perhaps just a bit part. Perhaps a major role. Perhaps not. In some of these fantasies of mine, I discover that I do not play a role; it’s as if I am looking at another person’s life, but experiencing it through my emotional filters. It’s hard to explain. Imagine looking into a mirror and seeing a reflection of whatever is behind you, but not seeing your image. That’s it. Now you’ve got it.
Sometimes, fantasy is the only safe place you can go to escape the crushing reality of life closing in around you. Even though it is a temporary respite, it acts like a safety net, preventing the fall all the way to the ground from the thirty-seventh floor; the net catches you after you’ve fallen only one or two stories.
Very early this morning, I skimmed a few articles that described dissociative identity disorder (DID), a psychological affliction that used to be described as multiple personality disorder. Maybe that’s what triggered my thought about fantasies; perhaps DID is a greatly amplified version of multiple fantasies that consume one’s mental life? Probably not. DID sounds like the outgrowth of some horrendous experiences during the early years of one’s life. Parenthetically, I was reading about DID as background to a story I’m contemplating, not because I think I suffer from it. I also read about hypochondriasis and thought how much more difficult it might be for health care professionals to treat hypochondriasis that involves a mental affliction, as opposed to a physical affliction. Maybe that will find its way into my story.
I wonder whether my writing is simply an expression of some of my fantasies, a way to express them without revealing that they are mine? How silly to wonder about that! Of course! But only sometime. The trick is to differentiate between fiction, fact, and fantasy. I cannot always make the distinction.
This blog is littered with the retelling of a thousand of my fantasies. Most involve desolation, isolation, solitude. I wonder whether I belong on a planet I have to share with other people? I wrote, once, that in my daydreams of solitude I find solace; solace is comfort in sorrow or misfortune, or the alleviation of distress or discomfort. Where the hell is all this sorrow, discomfort, distress, etc. coming from? I think its source must be the same as my fantasies.