Create into Oblivion
When I was very young, I liked to imagine myself in grand stories, being spirited away, having meetings with heroes I idolized, and saving the day. And as I did this, and as these dreams failed to materialize – for I was never told by a mysterious shaman I was “the chosen one” to save the world, nor did I develop super powers or the ability to travel through time – I began fearing that by imagining a situation, I was also destroying it. That whatever I conjured in my head would not come to pass. This fear only became more frustrating when I began imagining more commonplace things as I grew, like how a conversation would go. For as soon as I shaped I knew it would never happen, for nothing in my memory had ever done differently.
Of course as adults we know that nothing unfolds exactly like we want or expect it to. We learn to understand there are far too many variables to consider, that it is out of our power to control a situation to such a severe degree. However, in my child’s mind any formulations I made directly influenced the future by destroying that potential happening. After I created, reveling in otherworldly adventures, came a sense of loss, sometimes very deep. At some point, I heard about turning weaknesses into strengths, and began using my “ability” to imagine away horrible scenarios into oblivion, all the while still imagining being transported to some different place.
When I was nine my mother told me she was “sick”. I was introduced to new concepts – “chemo” “malignant” “benign”. In my little make believe worlds, “Coming back with a cure” from wherever place I had managed to venture became a new staple in my creations, in spite of my fear of destroying. I felt bad, leaving her here, suffering, while I gallivanted around other worlds and times, and so I reconciled that feeling with the assurance I would bring back a fix at the end of it all. Surely some otherworldly doctor would know the remedy.
But I could never bring myself to create away her death, because how could I possibly imagine a life without my mother? As more time passed, I recognized my “ability” as a child’s misconception. But I would be lying to deny the thought has always lingered in dusty corners, innocuous, coming forth when I am presented with something wholly out of my control. My mental equivalent of a safety blanket or teddy bear.
After she died, scenarios I formulated still did not come to pass, but why would they. My fantasies are no longer plagued by the fear of their demise while they are created, though there is still a small sense of loss. As an adult, I’ve learned to guesstimate how situations will transpire instead of worrying over every detail. But guesstimation isn’t the same as creation, more accurately it is the adult substitution of creation; for we understand our dreams are not the same as reality.
To that point, I’ve guesstimated many times how my dad will die. I would not be caught off guard like I was my mom. But I never imagined he would get ‘cancer’ too.
It struck me the same way my mother dying did. A giant wall of impermeable white. White nothingness everywhere.
Why hadn’t I imagined he would get ‘cancer’ too? Because it simply wasn’t possible. I was going to get a call one day saying a car hit him. That was possible. I would one day come home to him dead on the floor from a heart attack. That was possible. He was going to outlive all his siblings because he lived his life the hardest so of course he would, the universe has a sense of humor. That was most probable.
Why is it what ends up happening is never what I imagined?
Did I destroy too many of the other possibilities? Leaving ‘cancer’ to take the prize?
I don’t want to imagine anymore. I’m afraid to imagine any more.
Which brings me to my current condition. A ‘young adult’ unwilling to guesstimate or imagine. But before one can “cope”, one must “imagine” coping. Without coping, one cannot properly appreciate a situation and act. Instead is a giant, blank, white wall.