We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live

My son told me when I related to him what I’ve experienced when I was eight years old that whatever I believed I have seen that time wasn’t real. I protested of course. How could it not be real when I saw it with my own eyes? I wasn’t dreaming, I was wide awake and running for my life. I wasn’t hallucinating, never took drugs, not drunk either, no fever. It was supposed to be an ordinary day and I was running a simple errand and suddenly my world turned upside down.

It doesn’t matter he said. To me it was real but it doesn’t mean it really was. I never thought of it that way. There was and still is no doubt in my mind that it happened. No matter how bizarre the experience was, I never question my sanity or the authenticity of what I have witnessed. To me, it was as real as you and me and all the people that are walking o this planet. Even my son’s skepticism failed to shake my belief. I will carry that belief to my grave.

Suit yourself he said.

What about this one? I asked. And this? Same verdict. I was imagining things but convinced I wasn’t. What should I do that? What could possibly be the reason why I would imagine situations like that? Believe me, if I would fantasize anything it would be something very different, totally the opposite, like tête-à-tête with Rafael Nadal for instance. But no matter what I said to my son, I could not convince him, and vice versa, which made me think: Do we really___

Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live? 

Joan Didion said:

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live…We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”

Do we really?

I know we learned and we have to turn a blind eye sometimes to what is happening around us in order to survive and protect our sanity. All that senseless violence, poverty, and political issues plus global warming and the declining quality of just about everything are enough to send anybody down the drain.

Those people who had been and still are in an abusive relationship would understand. I have been there done that. I know how it is to make excuses for someone and for yourself in order to keep whatever you want to keep intact. Hence the existence of the  Stockholm syndrome which funny enough I truly believe is possible based on my own experience.

So, what was the possible cause of my imagining things which for the sake of an argument let’s say I did, boredom? Trauma? Stress? Not applicable to the situations. I have never been bored when I was young. I wasn’t traumatized enough then and if_ it will not materialize at that moment. Stress? Unheard of in my generation. Besides, I believe stress is predominantly sickness of western societies in developed countries. We have enough outlets and too resourceful to be stressed. No wonder the globally accepted image of a paradise is a sun-drenched beach with one single leaning coconut tree. Says enough, don’t you think so?

How about you?

Do you believe we deceive ourselves by conjuring up stories to avoid facing the truth? Do we really seek refuge in fantasy to protect our sanity and keep going? Is it a part of our survival skills/ instinct? Inborn? Learned? Taught?  Inherit knowledge? Tradition? Education?

Whatever which way, it isn’t healthy.

Or is it?

Artwork-by-Kevin-Peterson-11

2 thoughts on “We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live”

  1. I don’t pretend to understand all the mysteries of life but do often think that certainty is overrated. We probably have more different realities than any of us realises.

    I ought perhaps to add that whatever you write, I tend to believe, no matter how unlikely it seems.

    Like

Be memorable. Say something unforgettable.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s