How a good imagination can get you a sandwich, a dream job and an achey-breaky heart
But I just don't think he understands.
I was in an emotionally abusive relationship once. It was gross and I still catch myself getting caught up in the icky memories of the things that were said to me. Interestingly though, the emotional-mind-meddling didn’t just come in the form of sentences like, “you’re a product of a toxic upbringing” or, “I’d pay someone to bury you”. He also messed with my sense of worth by saying stuff like, “you’re a dreamer”. I was manipulated into believing that my life ambitions, big goals and wild imagination were actual character flaws. How fucked up is that? Sah-fahhcked-ahp.
I was constantly told that I didn’t have a good grasp on reality and my head was always in the clouds. It was a confusing time because I’d always been such a mega fan of my imagination and all the future planning it had allowed me to do. But now I was being told that there were only two types of people in this world – dreamers and doers – and I was the former which was pathetic. Apparently I’d never be able to make anything of myself because I couldn’t commit to anything.
So I commited to dumping his ass.
And it turned out that reality has everything to do with imagination and nothing to do with being a controlling asshole who confiscates phones and laptops in arguments.
Our imaginations and the ideas we create with them about our lives – past, present & future – are exactly what help us to make something of ourselves. And on the flipside, they’re also the mechanics that set us up to be big fat failures.
That is, if we are inclined to imagine we are failures.
Allow me to explain myself. I’ve got the time.
Effectively, focussing our imagination consistently on one idea slowly moulds our brain to see that idea as reality. And in turn we start acting it out.
The subconscious part of our brain is very helpful here because it is the part of the brain that actually starts believing that the daydreams are real. It then helps you make it real by getting you more aware of the opportunities around you which will help get what you want and need in this non-fiction fantasy land in your head. This all influences how we behave, what actions we take, what we expect, look for and hope for. It’s marvelous, it is, it is.
The most basic example of this is, well, right now I am imagining myself eating the most scrumptious of sandwiches. So, shortly, I will take the correct course of action to source ingredients and build this sandwich from non-existance. Ultimately turning that mini dream into a reality.
A more complicated example, with a less desired or delicious outcome, is a while ago when I spent a lot of time imagining that I was going to get hurt by being too emotionally invested in a person. And guess what. It happened.
It took me about four weeks to turn a crummy idea into a crummy reality by over-thinking it. The poor choices and unnecessary actions I took were based on the belief I held that I was doomed to get hurt no matter what. Thus, my subconscious defence mechanisms were activated (prematurely) in order to minimise collateral damage later on.
The idea of heartbreak was so well constructed in my mind, that my subconscious looked for opportunities to sabotage my emotional investment so it could put an end to the pain (which didn’t actually exist yet). It deployed all the right actions and behaviours needed to push someone away.
Insecurities were rife. Dynamics quickly shifted. Respect faded in front of my eyes. My phone stopped buzzin’. I felt too proud. My lifeline got cut. And my subconscious was like, YOU’RE WELCOME DARLING 💃🏼
And I was like, well fuck, I barely got to know the guy, how did this happen?
In other news.
In other news, the same extraordinarily powerful imagination that continues to ruin any chance of romance in my life, well it did good in paving the path to get me my dream job recently.
Yup, I’m a walking talking cliché. Hear all about it here.
Creative visualisation, innit.
Since forever I’ve known my dream job would be three things, in no particular order:
- Remote – working anywhere in the world, on my terms
- Creative – smart, fun, experimental, wordsy
- Meaningful – something I truly believed would make a difference
I knew something was out there, but I didn’t know what it was. And so I’ve spent my entire life visualising, dreaming, imagining and importantly, DOING (what, omg, you can be both) all the things that I love. I did them so that one day my dreams COULD turn into a reality. And I’d get paid to live my best life. These included:
- Writing this blog
- Public speaking
- Running workshops
- Stand-up comedy
- Helping small businesses
- Learning about start-up culture
- Reading self-help books
And BAM. One day I just woke up to an email with a job ad that made my mouth water; one of my favourite writers was looking for a Social Media Manager and the job description was practically written for a salivating señorita like myself.
From the moment I read it, I didn’t stop telling myself (and in turn my subconscious) that I was going to get the job. Any inkling of doubt (which definitely poked me with its feral little fingers because I’m human) was swiftly crushed with a quick trip the fridge where I had written out what I was going to achieve, how I was going to achieve it, and the things I was going to reward myself with.
I drew on every personal resource and used every moment of spare time I had, for an entire week, to give the three-phase application process what it demanded. I listened to the author on podcasts every day, I immersed myself in his writing, I analysed his social media presence (important, well done Jess).
I got an email at 1am saying that I got the job and I screamed and danced around my room like something out of a 90s Hollywood teen movie. Or just your regular lame-o, I dunno.
Now I can go live in Spain, enjoy siestas, and I’m allowed to call my boss Fuckface. If I want. I haven’t yet, but I’m allowed to. It was in the job description.
Daydreaming is cool
I have a distinct memory of always getting in trouble in kindergarten for daydreaming. To the point where kids would just pipe up and dob me in for daydreaming. I was like, what, I’m four-and-a-half you jerks. Go lick paint.
And to this day I still get lost in my thoughts when I am supposed to be listening, particularly when I’m terribly disinterested in what’s being said.
I’ve questioned myself on whether I perhaps have an attention disorder of sorts.
I mean, I could try taking some ritalin. But then again, I could also not self-medicate and just accept the fact that some things in life don’t gel with my juju and values. So I’m not prepared to invest my brainpower into something dull when I could be off in lala land making money and saving the world.
After all, I’m not going to become the powerhouse I aspire to be from listening to boring people talk. I’m going to become a powerhouse from daydreaming about it.