“Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures… There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensible to it.”
Life is sort of difficult when you’ve got an eating disorder. It’s even more difficult when you’ve got both an eating disorder AND a history of alcoholism. It’s damn near intolerable when you’ve got an eating disorder, a history of alcoholism (albeit I’ve been sober for almost two months now), AND body dysmorphic disorder. A person sometimes gets the need to want to create an escapist mentality – maybe even pretend to be something OR something else. Take for instance the hard-core-wife-of-a-preacher-religious-person, I’m sure there is a strain in her that pretends to be a naughty librarian once in a while (besides, where else do people like that’s offspring come from?). Or me, for example, sometimes I pretend to be who I was before I started being an adult – sort of like pretending to be a very large kid. Pretending to be something other than “you” sometimes makes life a little less harsh, but you always have to return to what is reality, and sometimes that transition makes life pretty shitty.
There are certain things none of us can escape from such as heredity and taxes. Heredity always taps you on the shoulder and says “I own you” and taxes taps you and says “you owe me”. Being a traveler is no different, I’d like to be able to escape responsibilities such as laundry and making the bed, but that’s not going to happen, lest I run out of clothes and have a nasty bed to crawl into at night. The escapism part of me wants to pretend like the laundry bag is magic, alas it isn’t. I look towards objects to solve problems for me, to almost animate themselves and become something as real as myself, only better. I tend to turn objects into what I wish I was but never could be. It’s not as simple as just naming an object, it’s owning up to the object and deeming it yours then naming it.
I hereby declare you to be…well…Zips comes to mind. Take a simple thing, a stuffed bee – something that people would probably chalk up as a toy – and turn it into some rouge being that does nothing but party, travel, and sleep. What do I want to do, very much the same as Zips. He’s the edgy one that I’m not. Another example pops to mind, my friend has a moose called Diva. Same concept, different animal (literally). Diva, however, is almost the anti-Zips. She’s very sophisticated, cordial, and well versed in all things classy. Where Zips would be going to dive bars and eating chicken wings, Diva would be going to Michelin five star rated restaurants and going ballroom dancing. The thing that strikes the largest chord is that neither my friend nor I chose our “alter-egos” to be the same gender as ourselves. It’s an interesting trait, and it can all be explained by a little thing called anthropomorphism.
Break the word down and you get a simple explanation of what exactly this phenomenon is. The need to channel the man into other forms, or other forms into man, which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Can you imagine a world where bees could go out to parties and moose could ballroom dance. How do we know they don’t have their own equivalents in their species. Maybe bees do go to parties, full of loose drones and hot honey. Moose could go down to the pond and what we see as them just rubbing antlers could be their form of dancing. I can’t seem to place a finger on what lures people to certain animals, insects, or other, but what does occur to me is that maybe more people are fighting invisible battles and want to project themselves into other forms more than we think. Maybe life really is that difficult for people other than myself.
Take for instance the soccer mom with the stick figure family on the back of her van, what inspires those people to adorn the outside glass of their vehicle for the entire world to see that she’s got three kids, a husband and a cat? In a way, it’s her way of projecting herself onto a car, showing the world what she wants them to see, but deep down inside she can’t put an acceptable sticker on the window to denote what she really is. There’s no acceptable way of showing a picture of a cheating husband, a son with Asperger’s, and a cat with hairballs. Nobody would want to see that, it’s just not pleasant. Another prime example would be the “country boy” with the big diesel truck with a lift kit. It is a blatant way of showing what they want the world to see – tough guy in a truck – when in all actuality, they’re an insecure mothers boy with a question as to if he should have come out of the closet when he was still young. There is a hint of anthropomorphism there, although it’s not directly assimilated to naming an object, there is still the action of projecting a character to an inanimate object. A lifeless object to project the lives we sort of have.
I’ve been particularly touched by the anthropomorphism bug lately on my travels with Morris the truck. Just like in cartoons, we often see cars (eh, I think the movie is called, ummm…Cars) with humanistic traits. These traits are similar to the cars with the stick figures on them, but the vehicle itself commands attention with its own attitude. Morris the truck, when we picked him up from Morris, Minnesota, had no personality of his own, he was just a truck. After about an hour with him as a work truck, he became Morris the friendly truck with his own voice and attitude. Of course, he was just a truck, but we projected emotions onto him in which would be different from what we were really feeling. We parked him far away from other cars today, and although we had both claimed to dislike other humans today, Morris the truck (in our eyes) was sad because he was parked far away from the other cars. Morris felt like an outcast and was disappointed that we didn’t let him go play with the other trucks. There was even envy at one point in time when he saw us driving another truck. The projected attitude of Morris was much like we would face in real life, but never really elaborate on.
Channeling inner thoughts and feeling through objects is really a great way of getting to know your ego and id (and I suppose the super-ego, although, I’m sort of on the fence about that one).
“contrary impulses exist side by side, without cancelling each other out. … There is nothing in the id that could be compared with negation … nothing in the id which corresponds to the idea of time.”
The young Nikki learned about the id and ego at the ripe age of 7th grade, in which I had to do an entire presentation on Siggy himself. That was a proud day in my education, the first time I got to use the word “penis” in public and not giggle. Speaking about the id – in which I misunderstood in all of my readings as I.D. – which still makes more sense to me. I had to explain what they were, which opened me up to my compulsion to learn as much as I could about psychology. I knew my brain was more complex that my peers, and I was incredibly curious as to why. Seldom, if ever, do I think people come into this sort of curiosity with their own brain at such a young age. I didn’t care if I was only in 7th grade, I wanted to get answers.
I’m still looking for these answers, and the incident of Morris in the parking lot reminded me that, you can’t overlook the working of your brain, you can only dig into the crevasses of dusty old books and try to find the reason you think the way you do. Of course, you must first deem that in which you read as quantifiable, then try to bleed it through into real life. Sometimes it’s easier than other, such as understanding the aedopus complex, others it’s a little more difficult, such as why you name your car, why you have a named moose, or why there are pictures of stick figures on the back pane of glass in your SUV.