I spend a lot of my time pretending not to exist. I don’t enjoy reality most of the time. Simply existing to go to work, so I can make money to pay for my rent and my bills is boring and it’s pointless! And half the time I’m not even at home because I’m always at work…I feel like I’m wasting my life. I’m not taking risks, going on adventures or trying new things because I’m too busy trying to just make it through the day. I’m tired all the time, I don’t see most of my family and any time off I have I don’t tend to do anything because I’m too busy trying to recover from my week. Now don’t get me wrong there are very large parts of my life that I adore, like my boyfriend, long walks in the country with the dog, looking up into the night sky and seeing a million stars shining down at me (something that growing up in a city I never fully appreciated before). But I still feel trapped in an existence that isn’t yet making an impact on the world.
I have to find means of escape where I can, so I turn to the other universes that exist within our own. Books, tv shows, movies and music. There are so many incredible worlds hiding in plain sight on my bookshelf. I can delve deep into the fantasy universe created by Tolkien – fight dragons, kill orcs or destroy the one ring – I can fight dark wizards with J K Rowling, solve crimes with Sherlock Holmes and enter hidden tombs and caverns to discover history which has been a mystery until now. I can be anywhere and anyone, I can create magic with just a few pages in a book.
At university I actually wrote a piece of theatre called Alice in Disneyland which was all about escapism into the world of books. I am completely fascinated by them and I think I might turn my short piece of theatre into a short film at some point because I personally did myself proud with it and believe it speaks about issues deep within ourselves. I venture deep into my own imagination and also the imaginations of authors all over the world who have dared to let themselves escape from everyday life and live in a world completely of their own making. It was received very well because people could relate to it, no one really wants to be stuck here in this life, we all want something more.
I found a fantastic quote by W Somerset the other day on the subject which says
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life”
and I think it’s beautiful. Through fiction and pretence you can hide from anything, you can be transported – even if it is just for a little while – into a place where your problems don’t exist. Escaping from reality is one reason why I spend so much time in the theatre.
I know I’m not alone on this one too…
When I’m playing a character I don’t have to worry about something that happened to me that day, the financial problems I may have, the deaths that recently happened. I become the character, their problems are my problems, their thoughts become my own and I think that’s why I’m good at it! I escape from one life to be inside the other. It is a relief and it is a joy that a lot of people do not understand because they don’t allow themselves to step outside of the real world. Dreams exist for a reason, and I don’t mean the type you aspire for, I mean the ones in your head as you sleep at night. It’s your brain saying “go be this crazy person for a while! Let loose! Be free!!”. As an actor I let myself dream during the day too, I just perform those dreams on stage and don’t care what people think when I’m doing it because it’s fun and it’s different to when I’m at work all day selling jewellery and being miserable.
I know I always have to come back to reality, I know it’s always going to be there looming over my shoulder. I’m not naive. But it’s nice to get away, it’s nice to pretend even for just a little while that I am this other person, or that I’m with the people in my books off on an adventure in a distant land. My problems can wait until I’m done playing in my head, and I will sort them out because I don’t hide from them forever, I just don’t want to deal with them all at once and I don’t want to do it today.
Reading books, writing books and performing on stage are the things I hold most dear. They give me a chance to develop myself into a better person with a fuller understanding of the world, the people in it and even in some cases incredibly detailed folk lore meaning I could probably kill a demon if I needed to. You can learn a thousand things from a story, even the ones you wouldn’t expect, about loyalty and trust and friendship and morals. All stories come from somewhere, so embrace everything they’ve got! Run into them and be free!
Sometimes you just need to escape from the things that are getting you down and live in another world. Even an hour outside of your life can make you feel better and change your perspectives.
I do it all the time, maybe you should give it a try.