la Ketch

my life story

Sunday, April 15, 2007

la Ketch's Cradle

This past year or two has been about letting go and a large part of that has been letting go of certain parts of my ego or getting over them. I feel like I need to confess something here, something that two years ago I had really only admitted to one or two people when I was really high on something but lately I’ve been telling more and more people that I am close to about because really, it’s quite funny and very revealing.

It think I feel now that if I put it out there, maybe I can finally step over it and live without it because it’s been a huge crutch for me my whole life this secret game I’ve played.

So this is it basically...

From somewhere around the third grade and fading off into college I would pretend that I was the star of a TV show and everyone knew it but me. Obviously, this isn’t a completely original fantasy and let me tell you when “The Truman Show” came out I was like, “OH SHIT, I’m definitely not the only one that does this...”

Well, part of me said that and the other part of me thought, “They’re trying to tell me something.”

You see, I played this game for so long and sometimes got into it so deeply that I really did believe it was happening or at least, I STRONGLY suspected. I never believed it enough to ask someone if it was happening or to try and prove it was happening like finding lighting instruments or hidden mics and stuff, to me it was more Sci-Fi than that and much less concrete.

The whole thing hinged on the basic juvenile concept that I WAS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, not just my parent’s universe but everyone’s universe. The entire world. People that were walking around me on the streets, they were just extras in the show, having their one special, shiny day where they could see me in person. My parents, my sister, the people that were actually in my life – they were superstars too, chosen ones if you will and whenever they were mad at me or whatever, I would just remind myself that deep down, they knew how lucky they were to be the co-stars in my show.

Now most of the readers of this blog are performers of some sort and I’m guessing that some of you have maybe done something like this before. I feel like I need to clarify that I wasn’t in this mindset all of the time. It certainly wasn’t a constant for me. I’d say that 60% of the time when I was young, I wasn’t thinking about it all and as I got older – in high school, etc., I rarely used it at all. I say used it because it was really a tool for me, a tool I grabbed when (OBVIOUSLY) I would start to feel insecure about something. It’s quite an amazing defense mechanism don’t you think!? I mean, oh I’m feeling bad about something... well at least I’m the start of this television show!

Whenever I walked into a room where someone was watching TV, I would pretend that as soon as I walked in they had just changed the channel from watching me and that they were only pretending to watch something else. If I were to meet someone new, I would pretend that they knew full well who I was and this moment of meeting me was one of the most exciting moments of their lives. If I was sad, the world was crying with me. If I was happy, they were having a ball.

Now I didn’t go so deep into it as to explain the rest of the world to myself like how could a place so big, all of these people from different countries that spoke different languages and some who didn’t even have televisions, be aware of me. I think that when I was playing the game I kind of thought that these other places and people might not even really exist. That it was all part of the show, told to me so that I wouldn’t catch on. I think I believed the universe was much smaller than it is. I shrank it as to wrap my mind around it and find my place in it. MY PLACE IN THE VERY CENTER OF IT.

I’m pretty sure there is probably a name in psychology books for this type of mindset. Most children do believe that they are the center of the universe after all but not all children. I think some people have personalities like mine and that’s what makes them need to become a performer of some kind, this need for recognition by large groups of people. There will never be enough applause in the world for these types of people, people like us, like me.

It’s not all taking of course! Of course not, it’s really not. I mean I remember when I first discovered that I could make people laugh and how rewarding that was. It feels good to make people laugh, they crave it. People need story tellers and performers and comedians BADLY, they seek them out, they praise them. So it’s a very generous thing on a certain level, spending your time thinking of ways to entertain people but it’s also very powerful and the recognition you get for it becomes like a drug you can’t live without. If you have talent, luck and a certain level of confidence then you’re probably not going to have to live without it completely but everyone has to live without it some times – even the most talented. Moments in life come along and tell us quite frankly, “There is no show. You’re just a speck like everyone else.”

People have this realization at different moments in their lives. Some people know nothing else. I’m starting to digress and get off track into philosophy land here. I wanted to just tell you this crazy thing I used to do and that I don’t do it anymore. I let go of it slowly and now I don’t even consider it as a “go to” option. I’m very glad to be rid of it but I miss it too, the power I could conjure up just by using my imagination, pretending that the circumstances were different than they were.

I’m 32 years old and I’m married and I’m about to have a baby and I feel like I’m just beginning to grow up. I’m like Wendy leaving the nursery and Pan and Never Never Land and all of it but I don’t want that. I want to be mature and have wisdom but I want my childhood confidence and imagination too. Is it possible?

Possibly, possibly it is.

What triggered all of this thinking in me and the need to tell this story was something that happened last week. It was a synchronistic thing but I realized that my automatic mind set had shifted when it happened.

About a month ago, I was in Barnes and Noble waiting to meet someone and not really looking for anything in particular when I ran across Kurt Vonnegut’s last book on the sale shelf and bought it. It’s thin and great, just full of stuff about his writing process and life and little truisms, etc. I posted a quote from it on my blog.

Reading it reminded me that I love Kurt Vonnegut and that at one point I had vowed to read everything he had ever written and then I never did it. I think because so many people had told me that once you read one of his books you’ve read them all. But in reading this last little book, I realized that I didn’t care if they were all the same because I freaking love him. I have only ever read “Cat’s Cradle” and so I went and bought “Slaughter House Five” which was very, very satisfying to read. I mean how often can you tear through a book that's so funny and so dark and so deep all at once and feel inspired by it? It’s not often.

I had like 5 pages left of Slaughterhouse on Thursday morning when I woke up and the very first thing I heard on the radio was that Kurt Vonnegut was dead. Dup said, “Vonnegut died” and the first thing that came into my mind was not what I expected it to be. What do you think I expected it to be?

“I killed him.”

Of course, that's what I would instantly assume because I had been so suddenly consumed by him in the last month, what other explanation could there be? Well, there is another explanation and this is what came into my head first instead, “He must have been on the edge of death for the past month and throwing out all sorts of powerful energy into the world and I caught some of it and became consumed by his writing again just before he died.”

Don’t you see how wonderful this is? That my mind jumped to this conclusion first? That I didn’t put myself in the center for a change. That I gave Mr. Vonnegut the power and not me. I saw it as a major sign of maturity and wisdom.

Later in the shower, I did ask Dup if he thought that I had killed him, just to see what he’s say. He said that he didn’t think I had killed him, which was even more validating.

I guess I’m going to read “Breakfast of Champions” next.

RIP Kurt old boy and thank you for telling us your stories so well and making us laugh so hard. We back here on planet earth are eternally grateful.


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Eve said...

Oh, man. You are not alone in your delusions of grandeur...
Sometimes, when I am out alone, I think that I am a celebrity who is trying not to be noticed, but people keep looking at me, thinking, "Is that HER?' I seriously imagine that I see people doing double takes, whispering, etc...
We should form a support group, we could call it "I am not the Center of the Universe Anonymous."

ps- That was so mean of you to kill Kurt Vonnegut. lol.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Certainlia said...

In mine, I don't think that I'm already IN a movie, but sometimes I do walk down the street practicing for my first big movie. I place the camera somewhere, decide what the scene is (obviously it's the music montage where the beautiful leading lady walks down the street), and proceed. Everyone else on the street is, of course, an extra.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger la Ketch said...

Thank you eve and lia for admitting your funny games. i was begining to get worried that everyone thought i was completely insane. which, i totally am but still - i think a lot of people do similar things. I started doing yours in grand central this morning eve. this woman sort of looked twice at me, like for a second she thought she knew me and i thought to myself, "oh no, i've been recognized." old habits die hard. there's a fine line between self confidence and ego-centricisim, n'est pas?


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