"I can't talk to you anymore...my imaginary friends don't think you're real." I still get a kick out of that bumper sticker I saw over 4 years ago. I understand it...in someways its me.
I stated in my profile that I think differently than other people. I live my life on a completely different wave length and have been accused of having my head in the clouds. It's truer than I'd like to admit and I've been this way for as long as I can remember.
It started sometime between the time I could talk and about 4 years of age. I had imaginary pets. Some of them with superdog powers. Able to run faster than a speeding van. Leap tall buildings in a single bound. Slip through a window cracked open less than an inch. My family loves to give me a hard time about this. I really don't remember it very well.
How my horde of imaginary friends came about is a long story filled with details that most of you don't really care about. Lets just suffice it to say that by the time I was 8 or 9 those imaginary friends were my daily companions; and they weren't just animals - there were a few imaginary people too. I talked to them, played with them, vented to them, cried on their imaginary shoulders...somewhere around that age one of the neighbors saw me outside talking away to the air and asked my mother if I was ok. I guess her kids either never had imaginary friends or had outgrown them by the time they were my age. She thought that I might be a few french fries short of a happy meal.
I suppose this is the point that I should clarify one thing...I knew that my "friends" weren't real. They were figments of my imagination that I could morph and control to suit my needs. I think that's why I liked them so much. That, and they gave me entertainment in my otherwise boring and lonely life.
I'm sure my parents were repeatedly told that it was ok that I had imaginary friends so long as I outgrew them...but surely by the age of 13, when I was still talking to and playing with my imaginary friends, my parents had to be concerned. To their credit, the never said anything to me or criticized me for it.
As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. They saw my wild imagination as a good thing, a sign of creativity. They encouraged me to use it to write. Poetry, short stories, notes, journals. My dad is hoping for a book; so is my husband.
To this day my imagination still runs rampant. I can come up with a story out of thin air. And, while I have some control over my characters, most of the time they kind of create themselves. Sometimes they say and do things that surprise even me. Occasionally I find that they are a bit reminiscent of close friends or family.
They are still my friends. I still vent to them and cry on their imaginary shoulders. They still keep me company. When everyone else has failed me they have been there.
Yes, I know that they are not real. I've never confused my imagination with reality. Nevertheless, they are a part of who I am. And if that makes me a little bit crazy...well, maybe I can blame it on my parents (hehehe)!