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Sunday
Jul232006

Make-Believe

Watching Field of Dreams, I am pulled in hard and fast. I suspend reality for 2 hours and understand Ray Kinsella's compulsion to plow under his corn and build a baseball field for phantom baseball players.

As Peggy Sue Got Married begins, I get chills knowing how she must feel going back twenty years with all of her two decades of memories intact. Enraptured, I imagine what my own life would be like if I were to go back to high school with everything I know now. (Amusing how the clothes I wore then are back in style. Maybe it is thirty years ago?)

Reading Clan of the Cave Bear, I can smell the plants Ayla holds in her hands to make her tinctures. My heart melts with her love and a desire for Jondalar that transcends several volumes. I hear her world of modern silence, the roar instead of millions of birds, insects, animals and sparce human voices that ungh and click their communication.

Yet when those around me wax poetic about Lord of the Rings, I roll my eyes and yawn dramatically because I "just don't get it." A blog-reader's sister collects museum-quality LotR memorabilia including a half-wall-sized map of Middle Earth (I had to look up what it was called; I couldn't have known that on my own.). I really do not understand the draw at all.

The same goes for the Star Trek and Star Wars movies. That people really, really enjoy these movies is beyond me. What do they possibly see in them? I get that they have some giant philosophical purpose that I seem to ascribe to, but just don't appreciate in fake space movie form.

And then there's the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. For goodness' sake! How can I not get into a book-groupie experience?! I swear I tried to read the first book but was so amazingly bored I couldn't get through the first two chapters.

Comic-Con (the National Comic Book Convention) was in San Diego, California this past weekend. Hundreds of thousands of make-believers descended on the San Diego Convention Center, many of whom dressed as characters from the huge variety of comic and science-fiction books and movies. Laughing, I scoffed at their weirdo-ness while I watched the news showing them parading around in Darth Vader and Wonder Woman costumes.

What is it in our psyches that enables us to suspend reality? I look forward to learning about this in upcoming psychology classes. Why do I find it so odd that my twenty-year old would order a $300 Ninja costume and wear it out to a friend's non-costume party, yet it isn't weird at all that I have a room any eight-year old princess would dream of sleeping in? What is it that makes my make-believe quirks okay and another's laughable?

If I could, I'd wear flowing cloaks (a la Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera) or princess dresses like this, but I don't think people would think very highly of me if I did. I joked to my apprentice that if I could, I'd wear tutus all the time. She said, "I don't doubt that you would." laughing She was right.

I wonder what it is that lets some people lose themselves inside video games for hours at a time and yet others (like me) can chat on-line and blink seeing I've missed bedtime by a wide margin. Why is it so strange to me that whole groups of people play dress up in medieval costumes and pretend to go to war with each other, have fake royalty and fake serfs... I snort and think, "What are they missing in their lives that they have to fill it in with this crap?" Yet, I chuckle that they must wonder why I sit at the computer and write so damn much or how I could buy yet another Coach purse.

Each of us has our things, don't we.

I'm trying to be less judgmental. I look forward to studying that aspect of my behavior, too. I get haughty thinking I know so much - about health, birth, life, my family, dying - you name it, I've got a LOUD opinion about it. Isn't everyone entitled to the same LOUD opinion? Is this what blogging is all about? Airing our haughty opinions?

I call myself the "navelgazing midwife" because I want to keep looking inside - looking at where I need to soften the sharp edges. This aspect of myself - this judgmental attitude towards people's imaginations and amusements - hurts not only me, but also those around me who wear costumes on the weekend and who live for Comic-Con's weekend.

Is wearing fairy wings any different than donning cowboy boots and a garishly-bright shirt to go two-steppin'? Isn't dressing up like a Stormtrooper the very same as carrying a magic wand with streamers and glitter?

Isn't "girl" dress-up the very same as "boy" dress-up?

It seems to me, today, that it is.

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Reader Comments (6)

Heheh at the moment I have an obsession with the US version of the office ... I am SO in love with Jim's in love-ness (yes I'm making up words!) with Pam ... oh it's delicious. I think the show is hilarious but it is Jim's glances that have me hooked!

Something had to replace my yearning for Brian to profess his love for Justin on Queer as Folk. I was bereft when I saw the last ever episode...

I love nothing better when my mind has "somewhere to go" like that. It's great that movies and books and music can stir the emotions so powerfully - so I won't have to run off and have an affair to do "newly in love" again LOL

July 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Leah: See, now yours I understand! I, too, had a COW when Brian and Justin didn't get together forever, but we will never know what really ended up happening. Shoot, they got together and broke up so many times, the likelihood of it not happening again is remote.

I don't watch _The Office_, but know I would LOVE it. That Steve Carell is a dang hoot.

I'm glad you understand. :)

July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I think it is, too.

Hh

July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Star Trek (not so much Star Wars) love is about the dream of living in a world that's overcome most disease, poverty, war (sometimes) and hunger, and also features aliens you get to meet and some cool looking vehicles and getting beamed everywhere and all.

I personally like to think about computers that custom-create your clothes to fit you, fresh-cooked food you don't have to cook, and especially the medical advances. They just zap broken bones and can treat almost anything instantaneously. In fact I saw an episode once with a difficult delivery where they just beamed the baby out! And I said, ok, that would be so COOL. Much better than a c-section. Though I couldn't help wondering if it worked with a placenta...because I am a geek like that.

July 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee

Oh, I understand dressing up. I actually do dress up in my belly dance costume for the Rennaisance Festival. What is missing from my life? Nothing! I love fantasy and imagination and faeries and dragons and knights in shining armor (or Scotsmen in kilts!)

I think a rich imagination leads to enjoyment of fantasy.

July 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterOne Hot Mama

Hmmm....do I strike you as so very weird?

As one of the fans who attend Comic-Con, and who has for over a decade...maybe I can help explain the attraction.

Though to start - to misconceptions...Comic-Con is not just comics anymore, and hasn't been for over a decade...it's about the popular arts.... comics, TV, movies, games, and videogames. It's also an international convention; virtually every continent and nation is represented, as well as virtually every race, color, creed, nationality, and sexual orientation. Over 130,000 attended this year alone...actually that many were there in a single day...(Saturday.)

For those into Cos-Play (Costume Play) often it's a mix of a desire to lessen inhibitions and/or gain attention they'd never get in the real world, combined with a love of the characters they'd represent. That mousy librarian might become a sexy superhero, can enjoy being admired/adored/lusted after and then go back to her safe identity.... and not have to deal with the downside of being "beautiful". Sometimes it's a desire to show off their skills in polyfoam, sewing, or metalworking, skills that are not often admired today.

But Cos-Play is a very small part of comic-con...I think what cements us all together is a tendency to be far more intelligent and/or educated than the general public, and feeling as if we don't "fit" in the real world, and I think that's what's missing in their and my own day to day lives.

As a society, we do not tend to make such deep and abiding friendships. We don't speak to perfect strangers.... in the fantasy world of Comic-con or the SCA, or Adria...I do, and then those friendships tend to last for years.... even if we see each other only rarely.

In many ways, it's a lot like your blogging, you've formed deeper relationships, and probably longer-lasting ones than many in your “real” life…it’s just that conventions have been around longer than blogging.

It’s also a chance to shed some of the “grown-up,” to see things with the eyes of a child, and in fact my own daughter is re-awaking some of that even further.

And if I get to lust after Michael Shanks, Katee Sackoff, or James Callis…well that’s just Gravy….and for the record, I wouldn’t kick any of them out of my bed for eating crackers! ;)

So much for your image of me as a White, Middle-Class, Straight, Neo-Conservative, Republican Sheepie huh?

July 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterOpening Pandora

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