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Sinful Creativity: My Castle in the Clouds

Fantasy has probably been the longest part of my struggle and the most difficult to overcome.  It all started long before the pornography.  Probably a bit before masturbation too.  I have always had a creative spirit.  When I was little, I would swing on the swingset and make up songs.  I would write poems.  I would make up grandiose realms of the imagination and lead my brothers and sister on hour long adventures in worlds that have now grown cold. 

Creativity is great.  The greatest inventions of man have been borne of a dream.  It’s sinful creativity that messes with us.

Dreaming isn’t wrong.  When we look forward to something with anticipation, or even anxiety, we have used our imagination.  When we aspire to do something, we have usually first imagined what it might be like to do that.  Just having expectations indicates that we have used our imagination.  The problem lies when our imagination wanders from the inevitable into the forbidden. 

We’ll talk about ways to combat sexual fantasy in the next post.  For now, we are dealing with ‘plain vanilla’ fantasy.  I’m not talking about dreams and aspirations.  I am talking about adult imaginary friends that we turn to when our reality is too much to handle.  While others turn to drugs, alcohol or sex, we turn to these people– people who don’t exist, or people that do exist and we have recreated them.  We rely on them to fill our needs.  It is a reality we have created and have chosen to live in. 

This is going to be one of those dug down deep and honest posts.  I haven’t really talked much about my struggle with fantasy on Beggar’s Daughter.  In fact, I’ve only ever spoken in public on this once, and it was hard.  I might be a little more ashamed of this than I ever was of my actual pornography addiction.  It took me a while to realize how twisted fantasy actually is.  For so long I had excused it as a creative mind. 

After all, I thought, all of the great novelists, screenplay writers, and actors say they have to become their characters. 

I created a world full of people that did not exist. 

The ‘characters’ were only based on people in my life.  In that world, I didn’t exist in the forefront.  I was a long lost friend.  Sometimes, I was dead.  It just depended on the day.  The people in that world were former classmates of mine, all grown and living together in what I now know is something called a polyamorous relationship (multiple couples living together and intermarried).  I called it something completely different at the time. 

In that world I created children of these couples.  There were 36 children– 18 boys and 18 girls, all teenagers or yound adults– never younger.   They were all close.  I knew them all by name.  I knew what months they were each born in and their birth order.  I knew their personalities.  I knew their physical characteristics.  I knew who was whose best friend.  I knew what each wanted to be when they grew up, and when I went into the world, I would play every part, like I was the only actress on the show– because I was.

They were so real to me, yet so fake.

I ‘visited’ that world for years.  I could write novels based on stories that happened within that world.  That’s not the point, though.  The point is, that world should have never existed.  But it did. 

As hard as that is for me to admit and even open up to others to see, I know I am not alone.  I have had women contact me, and talk about their own struggles with fantasy.  Quite frequently, fantasy does not have to end sexually.  Many times mine included sexual themes, but I was in a different world, where everyone was loved and Christian and waiting for marriage. 

Which points me to one of the triggers for fantasy, and the one we need to nail right now:

We want a better life

Whether it’s being swept away by prince charming, or being the perfect mom, we go there because we want to be there and we aren’t there.  Now, I did not want to be in a polyamorous family with 36 kids, but I wanted love, and acceptance.  I wanted men to stand up and protect me.  I wanted brothers who would fight for me, so I created them.  I wanted a father who would love me, so I created those men– men who would defend their little girls to the death and their sons would do the same.  I craved it, so I created it, and it worked, so I lived there instead of here.  I built a house of sticks and stones and made it my castle in the clouds.

It should be obvious to us that this is nowhere in line with Philippians 4:8, which tells us to think on things that are true.  Still, it is such a temptation for us.  Sometimes real life hurts, and let’s face it, none of us like pain. 

Instead of running into the presence of people who do not exist, and drowning our pain in a deluge of lies, we need to run to the ever-waiting arms of Christ, our Comforter, and Strength.

3 comments

  1. I, too, had made up people and many, MANY made up conversations. It was one of the toughest parts of early recovery for me–the giving up of the world I had in my head and living only within the confines of the actual, physical world. I would say that this is one of the easiest things to fall back into with my recovery, and one of the easiest to spot. I can’t fool myself when I find myself talking to empty air. There’s no way of getting around the fact that I’m living with fantasy instead of reality.

    Keep at Recovery, fellow recoverer!

    1. Tina,

      So true! It really took me a while to recognize this for the oddity it is. One day, as I was pretending to be someone else, it just hit me, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” It is probably the most blatant trap to falling and still the easiest to fall into– all you need is to be alone. Glad to know I am not alone in this struggle.

      Thanks!

  2. Jessica, thank you for sharing so frankly about some of the struggles you’ve faced as a woman. It shows me how shallow my understanding and perception have been and the depth this issue can be for some women.