A Piece of My Mind

For someone who considers herself a writer, I have a hard time explaining things. One night at Zumba during a particularly tiring routine, I gasped the words, “I feel like I’m in a concentration camp hauling rocks, with no dinner in sight.” Since we were dancing to the theme song from, “Love, Actually,” I was asked to lighten up. But I wasn’t whining. I was pretending. I just forgot myself and did it out loud.

Weird scenarios jump into my mind all the time. Like last summer, when I saw a small crack in the cement outside my house with a tiny bit of moss sticking out and a strange bug on top of it. My first thought was, “So this is how the alien invasion begins.” It made perfect sense to me. I also enjoyed the imaginary dystopian world that followed where I became a freedom fighter with my own plane.

My regular life is rich and satisfying. The one inside my head is darker. Strange music drifts through the background, the melody dependent on the scenario. Say I meet a neighbor downtown. They might nod and keep walking. If I’m spending time in my alternate universe, I may hear the words, “Meet me at midnight. We’re starting the revolution.”  (Cue heavy African drum music)This is why I often have a vacant look on my face. Because I’m someplace else.

My childhood report cards read, “If Judy spent less time daydreaming, she would accomplish more in class.” Maybe. But I don’t think I could have handled the boredom. The truth of my adolescence is that half the time I was checked out. No wonder I could never figure out the coolness factor. One time at a friend’s birthday party, a girl from my grade six class caught me singing out of a window. I was pretending to be Doris Day sending forth a wistful love song. The girl looked at me like I was deranged. I knew then that we could never be close, because she just didn’t get it.

I’m at the age now where I make no apologies for being exactly who I am. It’s such a relief. I love reading books because they put me in the company of other dreamers. But writing is my way of getting all that crazy stuff out of my head so I can remember to buy eggs at the store. Not every day dreamer is a writer. They may have something else going on. Those who write, paint, sculpt, sew or sing feel a lot less stress. If you don’t let off steam from all those zany ideas, your head might explode.

We all feel that desperate yearning, that frantic call from our secret ourselves, asking to be released into the world. Find your outlets, my friends. Don’t be afraid to expose the real you to the world, unless it involves pulling down your pants in front of strangers. Then, never mind. Otherwise, get to it. Over and out.

(I just received a secret call from the white weasel who lives under our garden shed. The mice are planning a take over…

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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