Before I start into this post about fantasy worlds, let me first address something from my last post. My slight paranoia, which I know is caused by my tendencies towards Asperger’s Syndrome, has me believing that any Americans who read that post believe that I hate the country. True, I declared that I did back in 1986 and I don’t deny that. However, it’s been 27 years since I made that declaration and I stopped being that angry young man many many years ago. This doesn’t mean that I’ve yo-yoed the other way. Instead I have concluded that pointing out when America gets it wrong does not mean I hate the country. In fact, I see it as a parent correcting a wayward child. On the other hand, saying when America gets it right doesn’t make some sort of fanatical flag flying redneck. I love the country I was born in even if it gets it wrong and sometimes the words and actions of some of my fellow countrymen embarrass me.
Now fantasy worlds. My work with people with Asperger’s Syndrome has shown me that many people with the condition can often have them. Many who don’t have it can also create their own little worlds as well. It often results from things being so bad for a person in the ‘real’ world that they create their own little world to escape from it. It is a world where they feel safe and they have complete control over. For the most part, the world is harmless and provides an outlet for escape from worldly pressures. However, if these pressures become to great or don’t get resolved, that is when there is a danger of the fantasy world colliding with the real one.
Bullying can be a big cause for people retreating into a fantasy world. In three of the four books I have covered on here, including my own, the bullied kid, before he goes and does the deed, retreats into a fantasy world where he is in control. In Jodi Picoult’s “19 Minutes,” Peter creates his world where he controls, where he can exact revenge on all of those people who are horrible to him. However, the bullying issue doesn’t get resolved and that is where the fantasy becomes reality. In “Endgame” by Nancy Garden, Gray’s retreat isn’t so far. He plays computer games as an escape but it doesn’t become obscured with reality. Unfortunately, after he goes into the school and shoots people, the media uses it against him saying it does.
The same goes for Mark in “He Was Weird,” only his fantasy world was mine too. His fantasies are more sports related. The first one is when he goes to the playground and plays American Football games alone. He runs plays where he passes to himself and even tackles himself. He is oblivious to the fact that he probably looks ridiculous but he doesn’t care. He’s having fun and he’s the star player. As the bullying gets worse, the fantasies get more pronounced. In his mind, he’s playing for the Philadelphia Flyers Junior team where he’s the top scorer. He plays the games either on his computer or in the back yard. On the final game of the season, he scores the goal that gives his team the championship. There is some reality in this world because the team loses the odd game and to him, that makes it more believable. Mark’s major mistake is that he tells people about it and it only serves to convince them further that he is a liar and deserving of the grief he gets.
Roll on a year and Mark is now playing for the Woodhaven Blue Blazers. They were previously a poor team who now with Mark, have turned around and become champions. They go undefeated in the regular season and only their only loss is in the game three of the final round to the Junior Flyers. The Blue Blazers win the other four games. The fantasy season doesn’t end there. The bullying is becoming more unbearable so to cope, the team is now playing in the National Championship. Again, he scores goals to lead his team and why the one chapter is dedicated to the National Championship final. The Blue Blazers win 5-4 in overtime and while he doesn’t score the winning goal, he does get an assist on it and he scores two goals in the game making him the man of the game.
Mark’s fantasies were mine. I had retreated into the world where I was this great hockey star. It was a world where I was the hero not the goat and I was respected and it provided the ultimate escape from all the hell I was going through at the time. When I moved out of the town, I attempted to carry on my hockey fantasy in my new town. I played two exhibition games (pre season friendlies) and I think one regular season game and my team won all of them. However, when about to begin another game, I found myself telling myself, “I don’t need to do this anymore” and never played a hockey game like that again. So, I can only conclude that those fantasies were fuelled by the severe bullying I was suffering.
Bullying isn’t the only cause. I did have a fantasy world in high school. It started one Friday night when I was home babysitting. There was nothing on TV, so to amuse myself, I got my trash bin out of my room and rolled up a piece of paper and using the kitchen clock as my game clock, had a basketball game. Soon, I was doing it more and eventually an 18 game season in a league with 16 teams sprang up in my mind. I think the reason for this was boredom and my league lasted the last three years of high school. In the second season, I replaced the rolled up paper for a nerf ball. I wasn’t even the star player, I averaged 7-8 points a game but the rest of my team, who I was acting for was just as good. We only won the championship once in those three years so again, reality in the fantasy. I never told anyone this until now and I think the entire reason for it was boredom combined with my overactive imagination.
This was not to diminish the fact that bullying can have an impact on the victim creating their own little world. It certainly does as does Asperger’s Syndrome, which also played a part in my own creations. I believe that mine and most fantasy worlds are harmless. It is when factors such as bullying and the condition of the creator’s mind are weighed in, that the borders between those two worlds can become skewed.
Next post: Further Evidence As To Why I Have DAMP