This post is part of a series about my elementary school experiences. Please click here for the full series.
If I could, I would nominate my mother for sainthood. She put up with a lot from me over the years, including my insistence that she participate in the convoluted happenings in my childhood mind.
I grew up as an only child. I had siblings, but they were all half siblings who lived with the other parent and were significantly older than me. Most of them were already adults when I was a kid. I also didn’t live in a neighborhood with very many kids. I hung out with kids at church, but very rarely did I get any social interaction outside of church and school.
As a child, I had a pretty active imagination. This is probably going to sound weird, but I’m going to say it anyway. I always liked to pretend that my life was a TV show. In addition to my life being a TV show, my brain concocted other TV shows that would air on the same channel as my TV show (my network was called “CJ Channel” — I know, I was nuts). By myself, I would make up these characters and act out various episodes of their shows. I would sometimes do this with Barbies, but sometimes it was all in my mind.
I never had an “imaginary friend,” but I did often force my mother to play a really strange game with me. You know how kids will say they want to “play pretend?” Well, I guess you could say that that’s what this was. I called it “The Pretend Thing” and it basically consisted of me pretending to be various characters and having my mom help me act out this crazy story line.
The characters were rarely my own creation. Sometimes I would pretend to be my favorite TV characters. At the time, this was Mike and Carol Seaver from “Growing Pains.” Sometimes I would also have members of bands that I liked join in (namely the lead singer of country band Diamond Rio). Sometimes I would also pretend to be my dog (who naturally could talk in this ridiculous fiction), my dog’s real sister (who belonged to my half sister), and my dog’s other sister (a fictional dog named “Beauty.”)
My poor mother would be minding her own business when I would knock on the side of our China cabinet (which was the front door in this fantasy). She would have to answer, “Who’s there?” and it could have been any of the aforementioned characters or possibly a surprise guest.
I don’t remember specifics on what types of shenanigans I would make our heroes get into, but I do know that this went on for far too long. I would follow my poor mom around as she did the housework and pretend to be these characters. My mom always just played herself in these games.
I’m not sure when I ended up outgrowing this, but I’m sure my mom was glad when I did. Granted, it probably wasn’t long after that that I became an overly dramatic, pimply preteen. Really, the poor woman didn’t get a break until I finally moved out when I was 20.
Anyway, how weird is this? Did you have similar “pretend” games when you were a kid or do I need to seek professional help?