Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cheer Up, Sleepy Jean

I first started an outline of this particular post in the earlier days of February, but it's taken more than two months of stewing in my head and drafting to get it to where I feel it's ready. This is one of the most precious things that I hold close to my heart, and I wanted to be sure to express it the best way I can. I hope I've succeeded.

I just want to feel real love fill the home that I live in
Cause I've got too much love
Running through my veins
Going to waste

I am a chronic daydreamer. I always have been. For as long as I can remember, I've had an extremely vivid - and active - imagination, which I admittedly have pretty much always indulged.

I used to have entire, in-depth conversations in my head with storybook characters on the bus home from elementary school. (Sara Stanley from the Avonlea series was my closest confidant in fifth grade.) I made up a whole other world called "Woodland Girls" where we lived off the land like Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain and made my sister and my cousin enter that world along with me. (I'm pretty sure those hours we spent in a nook in my parents' backyard amounted to a whole lot of peer pressure and them doing what I wanted to keep me happy, but, to be fair, they seemed to have fun climbing trees and eating berries.) I would stay up late at night as a teenager and imagine rapid-fire dialog between myself and my celebrity crush from television. (Anyone remember Jonathan Taylor Thomas?)

And for about a decade now, I've been dreaming about the man whom I will one day be proud to stand beside and be delighted to sleep next to every night. Unlike the fictional characters I lost myself in as a child, hopefully this is a more realistic dream.

I imagine our connection. What we'll talk about. How well he'll know me - and I him - and it'll be a closeness and intimacy with another person that's like nothing I've yet experienced.

I know that as hard as I try, I can't really know what it'll be like. I can have glimpses, and I can dream, but until it actually happens, I can't know for sure. In fact, God spoke to me a couple of years ago and said "It will be completely different than anything you could ever imagine."

And the experiences He has given me in the last two years have given me just a taste of what an incredible, wonderful surprise it will be.

You once thought of me as a white knight on his steed
Now you know how happy I can be

I was a braces-wearing, frizzy-haired, painfully awkward 17-year-old the first time I realized that there were actually other people in the world who think like I do.

While most girls my age were making out with their boyfriends in the back of a car, I was reading Stephen King's book On Writing and daydreaming my - at that moment, vastly disappointing - life away. The following ten years wouldn't see a huge amount of change in those activities, little did I know.

At this point, I honestly don't remember what most of the book is about, but there's this moment when Stephen King is talking about the Ideal Reader - the one person you write for above anyone else. For him, that person is his wife, Tabby. He thinks about her when he's writing - if she'll find something funny that he wants to be funny. He describes her laughter and how much he loves it. He calls it the jackpot when he gets her to laugh out of control, and that when he gets ahold of something with that potential, he twists it as hard as he can.

Oh yes.

I couldn't even tell you how many times I've read that one paragraph. It changed me. It made me feel like maybe I wasn't a complete freak show. (Okay, well, maybe I am and Stephen King is, too...that's also a possibility. But whatever, at least it's not just me!)

I have longed for the jackpot ever since then. Stephen King wrote that passage to instruct his readers about one of the many technicalities of writing. He had no idea that a misfit teenager in a tiny town in Pennsylvania would dog-ear that one page and would still be reading, writing, and thinking about it ten years later. For him, it was about writing. For me (perhaps because I'm a sappy girl), it was about love.

It all made such perfect sense. And since then, I've spent days' worth of hours dreaming about it.

I don't want to be a faded memory
I don't want to be the ghost that you can't shake
I want to be the real thing

More often than not, my daydreams are much better than reality - at least, they have been so far. Don't get me wrong, I've had a few of those movie-esque moments, those snippets in time where you wish you could bottle the feeling of pure glee and open it up whenever you liked, those moments (or hours) that you can still vividly remember and smile about years later. One was my 21st birthday. A couple were sprinkled throughout last year. And there were a few that happened even in the last several weeks. But, sadly, for me, they're often fleeting and far between. Also, I know that what I'm really dreaming about is more than just a moment (or even a few hours) anyway - it's about something secure, strong, and lasting - a deep friendship that blossoms into precious intimacy and God-led, unconditional love, just like Christ's love for us.

Several times in the last few years, I've thought about cutting myself off from daydreaming. Going cold turkey. Making myself climb out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off or trying to focus entirely on whatever task I have at hand, rather than drifting off into my own little fairyland as I normally do pretty much all the time. I've even tried it, forced myself to JUST STOP, because it's time for me to grow up and face reality...right?

Ultimately, as you've probably guessed, it didn't work. All I did was sporadically make myself utterly miserable until I realized there was no point in torturing myself that way. Unfortunately, they don't make patches for daydreams. And as hard as I try, I just keep losing myself in my imagination.

Because someday...oh, yes.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

I try as best I can, every day, to do just that.

And I wait in glorious anticipation for God's perfect timing...and for the jackpot.


Angela said...

There's a reason we go into writing - it's because we're chronic daydreamers. While my daydreams as of late involve imaginary characters (playing a lot of video games will do that), fact still stands that I'm forming identities and storylines and editing. We be wouldn't who we are without our daydreams.

But the more I daydream, and the more my imaginary boyfriend and I hang out in my mind, the more impatient I am over the fact I don't know who he is. I love him, and it kills me that I can't tell him. Even though we haven't met.

I could go on for ages about this; I kind of recently mentioned it in LJ. Our time will home, sooner rather than later I believe, because all this love within us is just about ready to explode.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what Angela said. Also, part of what I really like about the movie Labyrinth (other than David Bowie's large and prominently displayed, um, talent) is that I totally was Sarah (the main character) when I was a kid--a dreamer who'd go outside and act out stuff from her books. The only difference really is that by the time I was 15, I realized that I got far less weird looks if I wrote that stuff down instead. And that's how I became a writer.

Sorry, I appear to have hijacked your blog to gush about my current movie obsession. But anyway, to get back on topic, I don't know where I'd be without daydreaming. Life would be absolutely more boring than it actually is, and, anyway, what kind of stories does that make for? To quote the philosopher Jagger, "Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind."

P.S.--I must check out this Stephen King book. I have a feeling I'd be more inclined to listen to him than to some like, oh, say, Gary Fincke....