It’s about imagination, silly.

I remember the moment clearly. I was about 13 and sitting on the floor in front of the sliding glass door at the back of our house. To my left was Barbie’s apartment — a makeshift space where encyclopedias and board game boxes served as walls and furniture. Barbie was wearing her handmade wedding gown while she served grape jelly Cool Whip parfaits in tiny ramekins to her boyfriend Ken.

Barbie and Ken were deep in imaginary conversation, when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the glass. “There you are,” I chastised myself, “making two plastic toys talk to each other.”

The illusion was shattered.
I never played with Barbie and Ken again.

It was that moment. You know, the moment we realize we look silly dancing this way, or sound awful singing out loud, and don’t anymore. When we stop playing pretend and start playing roles defined by others. When we decide the dream we have is too farfetched for the real world.

Last week, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the glass and chastised myself, “there you are, playing make-believe again.” And I’ve been talking to myself ever since. Like Barbie and Ken, two versions of me, debating the pros and cons of some farfetched dream and the value or deficit of more realistic pursuits.

I thought I’d found my conclusion — the older, “wiser” me winning out — when this magical quote floated into my consciousness…

Never let reality get in the way of imagination. — Agar Nafisi

• • •

Photo ©David Mansour, author of From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Reprinted here with permission. Check out David’s cool blog or buy the book! (Thanks David!)

12 thoughts on “It’s about imagination, silly.

  1. My imagination has rushed in and saved me far too many times in life for me to forsake it now for reality. Especially when reality seems to be so twisted and warped from where the boundaries of normal used to be.

    Most men live lives of quiet desperation and never achieve their dreams.

    DS

  2. Thank you! And thank for the nod with my book and blogsite. I am very flattered. Great blog by the way! (and I think I was playing with Barbies at the age of 13 … oh, wait, I am still playing with Barbies!!)

  3. Love your thoughts. We all need to listen to our play spirit more often because that brings out the true joy and love of who we are! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. my childhood was officially over when i was in fifth grade, around 10 or 11, maybe 12 years old… i didn’t realize it until much later while receiving a deep tissue massage (in my early 30s, as i recall – had an irrefutable emotional flashback) but have continued to use my imagination ever since (especially when i was still trying to be an actress) however, there’s quite a difference between being young and pretending & being an adult and creating – thankfully, tho, the creative process still uses the same “muscles” i used when i played with Barbie or ran outside thinking i was the fastest wild horse on the block!

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