Thursday, February 05, 2009
My Imaginary Friend
Current mood: J contemplative
I'm the first to admit
that I'm quirky. At 37, I don't have relationships but I still have pretend friends
to hang out with. They have something in common which is they tend to wear
masks and carry sharp bloody objects or blunt instruments and don't say
anything ever. Which is a million times better than disembodied voices that
keep one awake at 5am, if only slightly more worrying in the sartorial and
accessorising department. I even call one of them JV after Jason in Friday
13th. I don't find them threatening, I just think of it as a story idea trying
to develop. I even dressed up as one for a work do last year.
However, writing the other night I solved where they come from. I've had eight operations, meaning that imprinted on my brain are men in masks with drills and scalpels and chisels with all my blood on who made me better. Six of these were eye operations, and two of those I was awake for. This means that in terms of physics, photons of men in masks with sharp things and blunt things and needles have imprinted on my brain spending quite a lot of time in very close proximity to my eye receptors. Far more time in close intimacy with me and with pattern-recognition in my brain than anyone else has. Violence and silence that's making me better.
My grandma sent me a photo
today of me with a doll when I was four, and the first doll I recall owning was
called Bye Bye Peekaboo, who would raise and lower her arms holding a cloth to
hide her face and peep over. So she was probably my very first imaginary friend
that I played with - a doll that hid her face and didn't talk. Again, not a
threatening object to me or anyone else. So the scary characters that live in
my head aren't that scary - they don't exist because of any future purpose,
they exist because I remember them visiting me already, and the creative part
of my brain has reconstructed them into a very strange kind of psychological
comfort blanket (just like my doll's hide-and-seek blanket). Surgeons probably
have the hardest job in the world, enabling people to recognise themselves in
the physical sense. And in my last operation I trusted them to finish the job
effectively and said afterwards that I felt completed.
Maybe surgeons, like artists, leave something of themselves in their work, and I've been left with weapon-touting masked characters who don't mind a bit of blood, waiting to appear in stories. They're not so much Imaginary Friends as interpretations of people I remember, consciously or subconsciously. It's the closest I can imagine to what a memory of a relationship would be like if I'd had one, where the real person is distorted in retrospect into a two-dimensional good guy or bad guy, caricatured like on Jeremy Kyle. Someone who's seen the inside of my head or I've entrusted to cut my throat and take a thyroid out is my equivalent of intimacy, and when their close-proximity image reaches you subliminally as well under anaesthetic, because the photons don't stop just because you're unconscious, it's left an impression yet to be replaced by the kind of memories other people interpret about trust, intimacy, human contact and interaction.
I don't mind Jason
Vorheese hanging around me at work, in my job he fits in quite well, and even
though I've never mentioned it, I think it keeps the customers a bit wary of me