I have always questioned the reality of the world I live in. From a young child I remember wondering if I was being tricked by all of the adults in my life, certain things I was told just didn’t add up to me. I would see one thing and be told it was another. I remember gathering my evidence and busting Mum on the tooth fairy myth by secretly hiding teeth under my pillow and not telling her about it, sure enough as I had expected, the tooth fairy didn’t come and I decided I had gathered enough evidence to confront her about it, and Santa and The Easter Bunny…
I used to notice coincidences, things I would think about would then appear on signs in shop windows or come on the radio. Things seemed to be repeated everywhere that I went as though we were going to the same place each time but people had reshuffled things into a slightly different order.
I remember “flying” to England when I was 6yrs old, I didn’t feel like the aeroplane was real at all but I wanted to go on this fake “Holiday” so I played along. I got horribly motion sick on the flight and couldn’t understand why my mother and everyone else was keeping up the charade for so long when I was vomiting all over the place. We got to a stop over airport in Malaysia where there were huge men dressed in soldiers uniforms holding assault rifles and I was terrified they might shoot me for vomiting, or exposing accidentally that I knew what was really going on and that the adults had faked the whole thing like some sort of twisted game.
When we got to England I could have sworn I recognized places that I had seen in Australia, I looked for Gum trees everywhere in an effort to catch them out so that I could prove to myself that we had never really left. I quietly thought that all of the special English things like Big Ben and Double Decker Buses were just props and sets like in a play or on a TV show.
I could never understand why they were all trying to trick me, I think I was scared of what that reason might have been and felt like I couldn’t ask about it or tell Mum my fears because she might get into trouble for letting me figure it out or I might get into big trouble if people knew that I secretly knew what was really going on.
This theme of environmental distrust reoccurred over and over throughout my childhood, particularly anytime we travelled when I was always secretly searching for proof that it was all a giant façade. I think it may have been worse through times of high anxiety, perhaps that’s why I seemed to relate it to travel… I don’t know, sometimes it was the forefront of my thoughts and other times I didn’t even consider it relevant. Maybe that is why I always loved animals so much, I knew they weren’t pretending.
When the movie The Truman Show came out I went to see it with my friends, as we left the theatre we all made jokes about looking around for hidden cameras but part of me was shell shocked because I wondered how Hollywood knew about my fears, I had never told a soul what I had thought. Did other people think like this too or had this movie been made purely to throw me off the scent.
This feeling of living inside a false reality still haunts me to varying degrees, I am always looking for proof that things cannot possibly be what they appear to be and I am still stalked by outlandish quantities of bizarre coincidences. There are, of course, excuses, reasons and perfectly good explanations for all of these… unless there aren’t. And if there aren’t? Well, I am told I have a mental illness so it’s probably just that, right? Or is it? Do I even have a mental health issue at all or is it just an excuse I have been given to stop me from finding out the truth?
I know that sounds crazy (does it?) I mean, it sounds like what we are told that crazy sounds like, but how much of that is real and how could we ever even know?
Frankly, at times like these I look back on my life and far too many dramas have happened, far too many things have miraculously ‘worked out’, too many coincidences, too may repetitions; far too many. In fact, so many, that it would be impossible in a “real” world like the one I am told I live in, so how could I possibly believe it?
It isn’t something I can talk to my psychiatrist about because I can’t give myself away, then what happens? How do I know she isn’t one of them, when of all people she would be the most likely to be one of them? She is a bit too perfect as far as a psychiatrist goes, why, of all the people in all the world, would I luck out that way, I mean, come on, really?
So, if I stay quiet and nobody knows I am onto them, ride the waves of a soap opera existence, limited perhaps only by my own imagination, only held back from the ‘great unknown’ by my own fears…
Is it even possible to run away? If they are watching, how far reaching is this? The fact that I am writing this on an apple device would probably mean that I had already been exposed. The all-seeing Siri knows everything, I suppose of course if my greatest of all fears were true, as unlikely as it should seem, they would be watching this as I type it right now, but they couldn’t let on that they were or that would be indisputable proof of it. Catch 22…. Thoughts runaway from me as fast as I can think them.
Is the world just a stage and I am unknowingly the greatest actress of all time?
One can only alleviate the mole hill rapidly forming into Mt Everest before their very eyes by suddenly thinking to ask themselves what is perhaps the greatest question of all time…
Why? And for as long as we can still ask it, it is the word that keeps us sane.