Growing up the only girl and second born of four children I would use books or stories in my own head to escape. Our family reality wasn’t the best economically or socially, myself and my brothers were stuck out in the countryside with miles and miles of mesquite, sand spurs and dirt between us and the closest civilisation, a small soutwestern town in the middle of the desert.
As I said, my escape from the reality of being stuck with no place to go and no means to get there was reading and daydreaming. I have used books and my own head to escape from reality for most of my life, I’m not sure just how healthy this is, but so be it.
When I was about ten years old my mom gave me a copy of The Secret Garden, at this time we had moved to New Mexico only a few months before, and were living in my grandmother’s mobile home while she was working as a PN in another city. My grandmother had planted a few bulbs and plants in front of this home, and after reading about Mary Lennox digging around the sprouting bulbs in the long-lost secret garden, I immediately did the same, though there was really very little grass to be found. I also started planning my future home, which would be a huge mansion, with a different theme for each room, Asian, Louis XV, baroque and so on. I was convinced that I would, as an adult, have tons of money and would be able to have everything my child heart wished for; peace, quiet and a fancy curly-ended phone.
My other escape was my inner fantasy world, where I told myself all sorts of tales and stories, where instead of being a chubby distracted child I was a wise, talented and admired princess, where I met all sorts of people, where I time travelled to visit Walnut Grove, a royal court, the giant’s castle or became a figure skater that would bring the audience to tears with emotion.
I would escape from my brothers “teasing” me, from being the worst in class at maths, from the heat, from not living the apparently normal life that other children had on tv, not having money for clothes or fun trips or much of anything. I escaped from being lonely, from being different, from where and when I lived, from being forgotten by my father. I would escape from what my life really was and lived another reality.
Now that I’m middle aged I still tend to escape into my head, writing stories, envisioning success. Some things, like this blog, have become partially concrete, others are just fantasy and dreams.
“For in dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let them swim in the deepest ocean or glide over the highest cloud.” Albus Dumbledore