Not *exactly* psychotic

During a session today (at my day job as a therapist), I was challenging a kid by telling her that it is a choice to be bored. I told her there is no reason to ever be bored, as long as she had her brain and her ***IMAGINATION***. (Picture me doing little spirit fingers in the shape of a rainbow. We’ll call them “rainbow fingers.”) Though we were at the end of session and I couldn’t work any more with her today, I vowed that next time I will bring a stick to session and ask her to come up with ten games/things she could use the stick for. Sometimes I’m amazed at the lack of imagination in the kids I work with.

To me, imagination has always been such an integral part of who I am. Clearly it’s impossible to write well if you don’t have an active imagination. When I was bullied in middle school, I would escape to the worlds in my imagination and live there. I can remember sitting in school and counting the hours until I could go home and daydream. (I would never daydream in school, I was an excellent student.)

I also acted out my stories with my dolls and Barbies. I LOVED my Barbies. Of course, my stories couldn’t be normal stories that normal little girls have, where Barbie gets dressed and drives with Ken in his convertible and then changes clothes and then goes to the mall and then changes clothes and then walks around her house and then changes clothes. No. Mine were always stories where Barbie gets herself into some sticky situation for some nefarious reason and has to figure out a way to get out. When I was probably four or five I melted Barbie’s hair on a lightbulb because I think she was being tortured for information. I tried to cover it up, but there’s no mistaking that smell of burnt plastic…

I’m pretty sure my whole family thought there was something seriously wrong with me, especially as I got older. They would walk into my room to find Barbies tied to the ceiling fan (carnival, anyone?), hiding in the plants (jungle safari!), or tied up in my mini-fridge (there was nothing else to keep in there, and they needed a place to cool their heels until they were rescued {get it? COOL THEIR HEELS!}).

One time, when I was doing home-based therapy, a little girl wandered in carrying a Barbie tied up and completely submerged in a jar of water. The mother leaned in and confided that she was concerned about her daughter when she did things like that, and asked what she should do. Flashing back to the Barbies in my freezer, I was like, “She’s FINE. She’s using her ***IMAGINATION***. LEAVE HER ALONE.” Except I said it much nicer, and more along the lines of, “Oh yes, that is normal.” (I’m not actually sure it is.)

In fact, now that I think about it, it’s a wonder I didn’t land in therapy myself as a child… Clearly my parents sensed genius. And all that ended when I discovered that I could write my stories down and KEEP THEM. Amazing.

But…I definitely still daydream. After all, there really is no excuse to be bored.

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2 Responses to Not *exactly* psychotic

  1. Excellent! While my Barbie had a fair amount of wardrobe changes, they also had amazing adventures, and long before the congressional conversations about women in combat zones they fought and sadly some perished along side my brother’s G.I. Joes. It wasn’t no baby that made her head pop off, it was artillery fire.

  2. Christy Heath says:

    It’s so funny that you bring up the Barbies….my goodness how we would come up with some of the craziest things for them to be doing. We had so much fun! And yes, COMPLETELY normal for children to have an imagination. Think about it, we were allowed to express ourselves in truly creative ways and our parents didn’t stick us in therapy for it. We turned out to be “fairly” normal, whatever normal really is. I’m so glad you started doing this!

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