Sometimes I wonder if I've become numb or if I am just on constant, overfiring overflow from the mechanizations of my life. If it's simply mute reflex to the frustrations of all the things I witness, daily, and feel powerless to change, all the boring maintenance of existence.
When I was a wee young thing I used to lie in bed at night and make up stories. Elaborate fantasies about who I was in an alternate reality and who I might become. What I'd look like and what they'd say and how I'd wow the world and change people's lives and amaze and impress and save the world. How I'd help. How I'd be indispensable. How I'd be happy.
There were many alternate universes alive in those days, and they were as real as the world I witnessed. Perhaps more so. I was more familiar with the OTHER house I lived in or the OTHER school I went to than the color of my tooth brush and the same walk to school. I laid my head down and without even trying my secret places enveloped me, my worlds opened before me.
I don't know when I stopped experiencing this. I imagine it faded, happening some nights and not others, happening at times of greater insomnia, happening in moments I most needed escape. I do know I don't do this anymore. I know I climb into bed and I feel the bed and sometimes that is a wonderful wonderful sensation, and sometimes I think about my body and how it feels and struggle against the various discomforts. Sometimes stress gets to me and I mull over details of the past I cannot change and the likely outcomes of these transgressions.
But I never...go...anywhere...anymore. I never travel.
My imagination, once vivid like a movie on a screen peeks out in strange and unreachable ways. I'll find myself saying something I didn't realize I was thinking. I'll look at a painting and know that image has once been seen, in my minds eye. Sometimes I hear music and I travel and mild sensations like a wafting scent return me to things I am thinking and I don't know how I got there or even sometimes, what I just saw. I can almost feel the wall in the head. The solid gray matter than separates the screen I am looking at this very moment from the beautiful mountain tops beckoning my hopes on the other side.
This seems patently unfair to me. As we age things become...well, routine. Every day I drive over the same bridge and I might be too tired to even conduct a conversation but I can navigate to work without even seeing the scenery. I get out of my car. I catch a shuttle. I get a cup of coffee. I rinse the same mug out. Over and over again.
I once read something by Joan Didion where she described the comfort she felt in daily repeated activities such as I just described because they mimicked the ongoing necessary cycles that nature perpetuates. Because they are about the build up and tear down of daily existence.
I do not have this reaction to the daily ins and outs of things. I cringe when I realize routines I have fallen into. I start to pull into the same parking space, day 4, and almost cry. I can feel myself drying on the dish rack. Again.
And then I want those places. I NEED those places where I have super powers and every day is an adventure and today I am a pop singer and tomorrow a poltician or maybe just at an elite boarding school away from the pressures of home and able to concentrate on what I want when I want. I miss the moments when I am me, but me better, me prime, in a world shinier and prettier and much more unpredictable.
I need any hour in which I am saving the world, and not combing the internet for a better deal on my facewash or looking for the perfect dish rack.
Perhaps it is just the loss of youth, the inevitable cruelty of age. Or maybe it is something more. Maybe it's like a secret password still held in your subconscious, a passkey sitting on the floor infront of that wall, waiting to be picked. Maybe I don't need a passkey at all. Maybe I can just walk through that wall without even trying if I remember I can do that.
Or maybe I am just too scared to walk through and see what these worlds look like, right now, with my adult eyes. Maybe I'm scared I'll walk through that wall, get in the car parked next to dream house, and on autopilot simply drive to the store to pick up another carton of milk.