I could not tell you when this habit began but it definitely did happen pretty early on and just like the other weird thing my head used to do just to survive and cope, like creating an imaginative person to bicker between so I could better express and verbalize my feelings. That and I did it so I could have someone to talk to about these things I kept away from everyone in my life at the time. It’s really difficult telling someone you care about (or really anyone that might be capable of getting you help) that you want to kill yourself. This other coping technique I wouldn’t say is as quite as weird as creating an imaginary friend, but it can be argued that this was much more harmful to my mental health. I’m sure I’ve probably written about this before or at least mentioned it but to either pass the time or to alleviate some anxiety I used to imagine certain “what if” scenarios that I liked to play out. The most notable examples of these is the “love letter” situation. That stereotypical, coming of age movie style telling your crush you have feelings for her moment. I spent almost all of senior year trying to replay this moment in my head how I thought it’d be likely to play out, how I wanted it to play out, and just random variations so I can have an excuse to just be able to once again experience walking up to her and being honest with her about my feelings. Sure, it was partially about finding out whether she might be interested in me or seeing if something could happen, but that was nothing in comparison to just how much I wanted and desperately needed to be able to come out of my shell, to be vulnerable and honest and not be afraid of feeling that way. And though I thought it was unlikely, to have someone accept that vulnerabilty and basically let me know it’s okay and that that didn’t make me any weirder or separate from anybody else. That’s a lot to unpack, I know. In summary I think I wanted to be more like them, than I wanted to be with them but that’s not what this post is supposed to be about!
While escaping away to these “realities” frequently is bad already in of itself because of just how little time I spent in our actual world, it got worse because there were and are times in which I grow attached to a specific scenario and keep continuing them as if it were some telanovela I was checking into every other day. This didn’t happen very often with the situation or with the person involved at all because of how fixated I was on that specific act of telling her about my crush that once that scenario I created reached it’s “conclusion” whether it ended in me being humiliated, me being too chicken shit so I just run out the classroom.. whatever ending I made up that day, I abandoned that scenario afterwards to create and experience a new one. There was one I remember sticking with and the fact that THIS is the one that made the cut, is probably further proof that this wasn’t entirely about the crush. There I was, having had all the life escape my body and my nerves acting overtime that every muscle in my body just tenses and freezes. She tells me what I didn’t really want to hear but was most likely. “I’m really flattered by this. It’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me, really, but I’m sorry I just don’t think I like you that way.” Which of course stings to hear, but is probably the nicest way to be honest about that and if I were to be rejected the way I’d prefer to be. Completely honest, not insulting, but just upfront about any lack of feelings or interest. It’s better than being led on, by being told its some other random reason or anything that keeps you from having to admit that you don’t feel the same way and still letting them hold on to some semblance of hope. I had a close friend who did that all the time, knew I had feelings for them and would just say no they can’t because of X or Y but those things were such small things that ultimately didn’t even end up being an issue the next couple of days so I suppose I kept attached to the idea that they might like me still it’s just the situation, or their reluctance because of past hurt that’s keeping them. I ended up showing them and expressing my feelings and giving them the same amount of affection I would had they reciprocated said feelings, except they didn’t so it was all just one sided and once I grew hurt and tired of being the only one expressing that affection I moved on to someone else who didn’t make me feel that way ever. And it was after they came back, guilting me telling me how much I hurt them by just walking away from “this” did I realize what I meant to them. And I have no tolerance or patience anymore for someone who only wants me around for the affection I give them. Holy fuck did I get off topic.. Amy tells me she doesn’t feel the same way but she’d like to be friends. And that’s what happens, I imagine her taking me to parties showing me around and finally coming out of my cage. I don’t remember too much about this world I created but I do know it ended up with me bringing my then girlfriend (who I completely just fabricated at this point) to a group together and being so excited being this new person who isn’t held back my anxieties and self-doubt, and to tell the person I loved about how it all started with some ultimately small and meaningless crush that evolved into an incredible friendship. Side note: I think it’s just generally a fantasy of mine to be able to introduce the love of my life to those closest to me. Like hey this is my favorite person, please meet all the people who helped shaped me to be who I am today and probably the only reason I’m still here today. Once I get to that moment, and the love of my life loves my friends and my friends and family love them.. then at that moment I could truly die happy. My life will have been complete.
There has been many other situations in which I created these different scenario’s and held onto them for either a day or two at a time or in some really bad cases I’d get attached to them for months at a time. I’m embarrassed with some of these and I’m not quite sure where the original idea stemmed from. I think the one where I imagined myself (okay I have to preface this was back in 2011-2012 back when I was still in high school and before this person’s whole celebrity persona kind of took a 180) but there’s one I was stuck in for a while where I got to work with Miley Cyrus, we became really close friends and started something together while she showed me around and introduced me to this whole new celebrity world but at the same time she liked knowing me because of how low key and laid back I am so it was nice being able to have someone show you this scary but exciting world and hold your hand the entire way but also have someone who loves to just stay back and hide away together and do nothing. I had the biggest crush on Miley then because of this and it all started with a random dream that just felt so lifelike that I wanted to continue the experience of. However it was just that Miley I had created that I had a crush on and not the real one.. The real Miley Cyrus ended up doing that whole twerking thing with Robin Thicke in 2013 and let’s just say.. nothing quite like the sweet girl in my head I fell in love but I mean that’s inevitable when it comes to imagining scenarios that include my figments of real people. These scenario’s aren’t just about crushes and girls.. or more accurately “people” that I like. In fact most of them actually have nothing to do with crushes at all. They tend to be more geared towards letting me the know the aftermath of working on or finishing a certain project. Whether it’s something I’m already working on like one of my games, my book, an imaginary movie adaptation based off said book that stars a mixture of the real life people who helped inspire the characters of the story and famous celebrities/musical artists that I thought could also portray these characters I’ve created in my mind. It’s also something that I wish I worked on, either like a movie adaptation of one of my favorite musicals or of my favorite books and what that fame would bring me. Speaking of my book though that also is it’s own fake reality/scenario I created the only difference between In My Head and these other stories is that In My Head has actually been written down and doesn’t star me but instead stars basically my wish fulfillment based self-insertion, Daniel Riggs.
Anyway I’m writing this because I tend to do these during extreme times of either dissatisfaction towards my situation, anxiety towards the future, or a severe depression and loneliness that I feel the need to escape and run away to these situations where I have more control over and have people who actually care about me the way I want them to because well… I control the story but either way I still have it try and play out as “naturally” as possible. This stopped being a problem the past couple of years after I graduated. I focused more on just actually writing In My Head, and these blog posts helped replace that coping method mostly. However I have recently gotten back into it and it wasn’t until I am now almost a month into this “story” and I am having some slight trouble differentiating between feelings this scenario me has and well actual me has. What is this scenario you ask? Well its one of the common ones, what happens after I finish finally writing and publishing “In My Head.” I actually piggyback this off of a scenario I had a year back where I got the opportunity to create a movie adaptation due to it’s surprising success and wanting to keep a personal touch to the movie version deciding to direct it myself and actually ending up hiring members of The Regrettes, to play most of the cast and we ended up becoming real good friends because of this as they helped me create the film version of this adding their own personal touch to their characters too. Well I was thinking a little ahead of myself and well I thought hey what would happen if that movie also increased my popularity as both a writer and now a director and (i already imagined a scenario and consequently an outline for what id like a part 2 of the book to be about) they were asking me to finally make a second movie. Fine okay, I thought I’d hit up Lydia and the rest of the Regrettes to see if they’d be interested in making a second movie. And perhaps because I was tired of imagining that exact sequel but I didn’t want to scrap it’s existence I created an issue that started off this world. I don’t know how much this problem would actually make sense in real life, but I had Warner Bros (Regrettes Music Label) call and say they can’t agree to having everyone show up again without them getting a major pay increase with a hefty portion of that cash going to the record label because of how we used their appearance in the movie to get leniency in their music being used in the soundtrack so now it’d count as a “band cameo” which the company would need to be paid for… I think way too much about the details of these things I swear, but fair warning it only gets worse from here. However, since the original sequel “outline”/published book in this scenario had it mainly based around the characters they starred as, especially since I cast Lydia as the best friend turned love interest. I think at the time of drafting the idea for what I’d write a sequel about I was trying heavily to move on from certain people and things going on in my life the main theme around the story had a lot to do with moving on from the relationship Daniel and Zoey sort of start at the end of my book. Spoiler alert maybe if I ever end up actually finishing this and publishing it although the ending is not set in stone. So yeah that book had a lot to do with moving on and with the introduction of a new love interest who turns out to be very controlling and manipulative.. the core themes of moving on from past relationships/events, not returning to past ones simply because of loneliness, and taking comfort in toxic relationships for a quick feeling that you’re getting love and affection would not work without a lot of these characters returning.
So using the fact that “In My Head” has become a household name (more popular than my own name and my status as a writer and director), I decide fuck it let’s just create a new story that doesn’t replace this one but just follows afterwards. In My Head takes place during Daniel’s senior year in high school, Through Her Eyes (the name which i thought up for the book sequel which honestly i dont like much anymore) was just following year 1 and 2 of college, and now In My Head 2 (movie sequel, named 2 because it continues the story of the first movie super confusing but hey welcome to Hollywood I suppose) follows Daniel just about to end college and figure out what he wants to do with his life. I had the idea let’s do what we did with the first movie and call up a relatively unknown bands and see if they’d like to star as the cast and let’s try and get a quick movie out based on the ideas we all come up together. So I call 2 bands; Remember Sports and Beach Bunny. The idea for the sequel in my head I admittedly didn’t flesh out too much because my fantasy around this whole thing more centered around the creation and production of the sequel rather than the contents of the sequel.. Daniel is in a band now, he’s the drummer (because he likes to be a part of the punk rock scene but is still not a fan of the spotlight so he enjoys being the silent drummer) for a “fake” version of Remember Sports and Beach Bunny being one of our main competitions in the “battle of the bands” we are competing in. Carmen Perry’s (the lead singer of Remember Sports) character ended up becoming close friends with Daniel, and the “actual” Carmen teaching me how to play some of their songs on the guitar and like how to actually look like I’m playing the drum and then there’s Lilli (the lead singer of Beach Bunny) and she played the love interest, a competing band member who they get along together and gain a connection out of shared experiences and an understanding of just how difficult it is now being forced to grow up and realizing you spent so much time just trying to survive you didn’t take any time to prepare for adulthood. Since this is already super long (and I think I still have a bit more to write about so bear with me please) I will just summarize some of this, Daniel and her grow a strong romantic bond based on both coming out of each other’s shell and trusting the other person enough to take a blind leap for them. With as much shit I put Daniel through I thought he needed just one healthy relationship and this movie was gonna be about how that came to be and the struggles that come with trying to make one work especially when you are still dealing with your own personal issues. Having someone to go home to won’t just automatically take away that fear of being alone.
The movie gets made and of course I’m the one who hired her so I don’t want to say anything until the filming wraps up because as the director I’m her boss and I don’t want to pressure her so I wait till we’ve wrapped so I nervously come up to her and say I’ve really enjoyed this time getting to work with them and that being able to come into work and seeing them was the highlight of the whole project. Anxious as all hell, only half of my words making sense and every time I try and fix something I jumbled up my words in I end up just stumbling more and more and after minutes of what feels like a never ending torture she finally breaks the silence with the slightest smirk and says, “You really are as cute as you wrote Daniel.” “Yeah but I’m also just as much of a mess as him too. It’s kind of a package deal unfortunately.” I think normally at this point, having gone through this extremely complex and story that was a month in the making that I’d end here just as I finally be honest about my feelings with the extra bonus of getting the girl too! But that’s not what this scenario was about, it was never to be about telling a girl I liked her. It was about my book, it was about moving on forward with my life and making something of myself… like big time and doing what I always hoped I could one day and make an impact on people’s lives and I have that when I imagine how people love my book and I don’t even need them to even acknowledge or know that it was me who wrote it, to just imagine that I made something that so many people read and relate to (and hopefully like how I see “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”, a book that helped someone through a hard time) and even if it isn’t Daniel they relate to, in my head I’ve imagined most people relating to the other characters more anyway. Although along the way scenario me maybe really did get feelings for Lili and this is where we get into another reason why this whole thing is super harmful (if seeing just how fucking detailed and convoluted this imaginary world I created isn’t already good enough a reason), some part of actual me thinks because of this I might have feelings for them too.
Not real feelings mind you and for the Lili in my head, in this scenario only. If I met the real Lili I mean I would be starstruck and maybe a bit tongue tied because I already did have a slight crush on her, but the same kind of crush you would have for any other celebrity. I see them as two different people almost so the two types of feelings wouldn’t mix, thankfully I can say that with absolute certainty because it’s impossible to confuse a celebrity crush with the kind of feelings I’ve ended up getting scenario in me wrapped up in. Something which I didn’t have the luxury of saying back in high school when it came to the people and events that inspired In My Head, It continued after this point.. mind I kind of jumped around in time, basically fast forwarding through our life, I took her to a visit to my old high school for some inspiration for the finale of In My Head, was thinking of doing a reunion thing and I wanted to feel what it’d feel like to be reabsorbed in that part of my life again and bring back the feelings associated with them but this time doing it with the girl I love. Bringing your new life to help you finally say goodbye and thank you to your old and those that helped get you here. That was what I wanted the finale to be about and at the same time I wanted to finally say goodbye too. To move on not just from the stuff that happened in high school, but whats happened since, and In My Head because as much as I love this story and the characters in it it’s about time I let them go and it’s been hard to do that when I bring them back every time I get inspiration to write a page or two. Oh and then she took me to her hometown and I got to meet her family and I made a fool of myself but her mom still somehow loved me nonetheless. Then she met mine and of course they all just adore her and since I’ve been sort of distanced from the family (by my own doing mostly.. I’m not good with people so I don’t end up showing up to all the family events) and they not only welcome her with open arms but it’s kind of sad to say but I imagined them start doing the same with me too.
So yeah when I tend to get stuck in these “realities” its often a sign something’s not quite right with me and I’m trying my hardest not to face something or I just don’t want to be alone with my just straight up reflective thoughts because they’re often negative. I don’t know if I wrote this to just let people know how crazy I am, to let people know hey if you escape away like this even on a fraction of the amount I do then maybe you should try and figure out if you’re doing it just because you’re being imaginative and creative or are you trying to get away.. I don’t know why I wrote this other than to maybe to do what I was doing with Lili, and share a part of my past and something I’m not comfortable talking about with other people with someone who means a lot to me and I mean since 2013 I’ve been talking with you reader and you always seem to be so great at listening, I guess I hoped once I shared it with you I can hopefully begin to start saying goodbye because even though I don’t want to say goodbye to Lili or this world I created.. I’m going to have to. I’m going to have to say goodbye and move on from a lot of things I really don’t want to but this I think is a (relatively) good start.