Fantasy vs. Reality: Where do you live?

I live in two worlds. Most of the time when I’m not working, I marinate in fantasy. Denial and self-sabotage rule the roost, but the excitement and chaos serve as a fair trade.

Fantasy Land is fun. Until it isn’t. But the pain of realty is short lived because I find a way to slip back in to the land of make believe as quickly as possible.

FIR

Reality? BO-RING. Why anyone would want to spend their time being responsible and accountable is a mystery to me.

Welcome to the textbook addict hard wiring in my brain. I’m convinced that having a “normal” life with a “normal” man (one who isn’t a fellow addict, narcissist – and has their shit together) would be the beginning of the end of happiness.

And don’t get me started on sex. I keep hearing that falling in love with a nice guy won’t equate to a vanilla sex life, but it’s so hard to imagine swinging from the chandeliers with a man who pays his bills on time and actually digs monogamy.

The problem with fantasy living is – shocker – it’s not real. Those of us who spend most of our time living in denial and chaos know this all too well when we get the shit kicked out of us from reality.

RDThe person we love reveals themself to be anyone but the person we pretended (or tried to change) them to be. The calories we pretend don’t exist find their way to our waistline. Money we pretend to have transforms into credit card bills we can’t believe can reach that high.

The golden rule for the fantasy-loving part of my brain is simple: If I have to ask, the answer is no.

Can I afford it? Will this serve my health goal? Is he going to be different from the others? If I keep living in my fantasy – No. No. And Hell-to-the no.

Here’s the thing about “no.” It’s actually a “yes” to something else. Something better.

Having just turned 46 recently and exhausted with dusting myself off from fallout I’ve essentially created on my own – I’ve decided to make a change. I’m choosing to say yes to the flip side of chaos. Yes to a healthy body, relationship and bank account. Yes to having break-the-furniture sex with a good guy who digs monogamy, pays his bills on time, inspires me, makes me laugh and laughs with me at myself.

I’m going to spend more time in realty and see what she has to offer. There’s nothing I love more than a challenge; and when I’m proven wrong? Bring it.

Christine Macdonald

And, Scene: Crimes and Misdemeanors

“In reality, we rationalize, we deny, or we couldn’t go on living.” ~ Crimes and Misdemeanors

Introspec

 

The first time I saw Crimes and Misdemeanors twenty-five years ago, I was in many ways still a kid. Barely 21, thinking I had all of life’s answers, I was working full-time as a nude stripper in Waikiki.  My proudest accomplishments involved hoards of cash accumulated on my garter and snorting mountains of cocaine behind the plush velvet ropes in various VIP rooms throughout the city.

This is your typical Woody Allen film, full of dry humor wrapped in cynicism, dipped in self-deprecation. A fan since Annie Hall, I knew sinking my teeth into this existential drama would not disappoint. It doesn’t hurt that the cast is a list of my faves, ranging from Martin Landau and Angelica Huston to Jerry Orbach and Alan Alda.

This is a movie that lifts the veil of ethics and morality. We examine the lives of two very different men, Judah Rosenthal and Cliff Stern – which can easily resemble the devil and angel on our shoulder. Their lives intersect one another as they take different approaches to solve serious problems that they initially brought on themselves. Their choices are based on what’s right and wrong, good and bad, and how each of them has rationale behind their decision.

As someone who has always danced on the razor-thin line of both morality and ethics – I could more than relate.  I asked myself the obvious question when lost in the language of Allen’s script.

What would I have done?

Even now all these years later, I find myself referencing this movie when attempting to pick up the pieces of collateral damage from yet another one of my brilliant fuck-ups.

My brain is a trip. I can’t remember what clothes I wore yesterday, but sitting in regret and reflection during my sunset drive home on the Pacific Coast Highway, I remembered every word – and recited out loud – the final monologue of this movie:

“We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions. Moral choices. Some are on a grand scale. Most of these choices are on lesser points. But! We define ourselves by the choices we have made.

We are in fact the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness does not seem to have been included, in the design of creation.

It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent universe.

And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying, and even to find joy from simple things like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.” ~  Crimes and Misdemeanors

The final scene:

 

“We define ourselves by the choices we have made.” So true, it hurts.

Whether or not I finally get my shit together remains to be seen. But at least I’ve got old movies to keep me company as I continue to try.

 

 

 

 

Christine Macdonald