Where wild minds come to rest
Note: Long-winded post ahead. Peruse at your own risk. :P
So I have to get this out.
I am on Day 4 of trying to quit DD. Any setbacks in that plan then? Why yes. Yes there are. It’s a bad time to quit MD for me, because I want so badly to be absorbed in the political issues taking place across an ocean from me. I am pretty sure that Scotland is about to get a second chance at gaining its independence from the UK.
I am a half-jewish American girl living in NYC, with not enough Scottish ancestry to explain this nearly...lifelong nerdy interest. It’s not a harmless nerding out though, because it makes me forget who I am, not want to participate in my real life, etc.
But ironically, although my DD is removed from my life, the content that feeds my DD is always non-fiction and current events.
For instance, the independence issue is now taking an unexpected turn in the form of a 20-year-old woman who is now represents a national wave of hope. I looked up Joan de’ Arc today, and it’s creepy how closely her life so far has matched hers. Right down to her features in the tapestry portrait of her in armor. This is a woman who was burned at the stake at age 20 in 1431 and we will remember her forever. In the same way, we will remember this young woman. Mark my words. ;) I feel like I am watching history unfold in the present, and I know people in Scotland feel that way too. She gives me so much joy, as I follow from afar. Because I know she is the miracle that the people needed at this moment.
Right. So all of that above is only the most recent form that my odd fixation on Scotland has taken. Or, rather, Scotland and it’s relationship to England, Ireland, and other Celtic regions. I think “obsession” really is a great word to describe how I can lose myself in many subjects that may seem to have less than cult status, but under the surface all have in common anecdotal info about this culture. I always feel like a very dedicated anthropologist that has never managed to apply themselves properly.
When I was 12, I spent many hours on my couch one summer listening to a very long book on tape about the battle of Culloden in 1746. This was the last uprising in the Jacobite Rebellion that failed, and was what sealed the deal for Scotland to become part of the British Empire, where it has remained for the last 300 odd years. So as far as I was concerned, I was uncovering a treasure trove of DD material. I especially liked the historical descriptions of highlanders, with their matted hair, and centuries before, the Pictish warriors, who supposedly fought naked and covered in tattoos.
When I was 16 and grounded, I spent my weekend nights watching low-budget drug and crime dramas mostly set in the urban sprawl of Glasgow. My favorite directors were Ken Loach, and Mike Leigh. And it especially helped that the main actor in my favorite movie was cute, talented, and my age.
Ok, so there is a love-interest aspect to my DDs. I’m sure I don’t have to explain that to people here. The love interest has changed throughout my life, before finally settling on the father of my idealized self when I was about 14. But more on that later.
Since my DD world is like that mirror in Harry Potter that shows you exactly what you most want, I have found out recently that I am bisexual. Or, at least, that I am considering it, because my main female character is always admiring my idealized self. Although to be fair, there’s never any action. So who knows.
Being American, and even more uprooted, being from a suburb of New York, I have always felt ashamed by this interest. This is mostly because I feel that my longing to have real origins can only be a voyeuristic fantasy, and never fully realized. Not even if I were to move there- I would still be an outsider. Isn't that what anthropologists do though? Walk that line between being inside and outside of the culture?
But I have never been able to accept that- how Americans seem to pride themselves on tossing their cultural roots. To me it feels like a real estate company who decides to bulldoze an opulent old mansion so they can build a McMansion condo in it’s place. Of course, they get dragged out on holidays or whatever, but it’s just lip service. America to me is where roots go to die.
To me, people who don’t have this backdrop also lack context as to where they stand as individuals. My idealized self is so beautiful to me. This is largely because her personality is such a contrast, at least on the surface, to the culture she comes from. I don’t feel like I have that in my real life.
I know that Kay D. mentioned in a recent post that her main alter ego is a researcher on her subject of interest. And that is kind of like how my main alter-ego is. My main subjective character is an English woman who is always getting absorbed in all kinds of Scottish movies, music, political debates, etc. (sounds like someone I know!) I know that’s normally not realistic, because of the obvious rivalry, so I have explained this by creating a backstory in which her mother was a narcissistic, upper-middle-class, Thatcherite type of lady. My alter-ego, being a gothed-out, vaguely famous musician, was the least favorite, and so was basically cast out. She sees the British Union as a sort of collective family in which Scotland is the resentful wife (when she is not sedating herself with junk food and opiates).
So there are personal roots behind her disenfranchisement with the UK establishment. She works as a private vocal coach. When my idealized self, a Scottish girl who is also a musician and 7 years younger, walks in one day as her student, it’s the start of a close friendship that has lasted for 9 years. My idealized self also has slightly ropey blonde hair, a milk and roses complexion, and light sage green eyes (a detail I always take an interest in). It is worth noting that my idealized self is not prettier than me. She is just like me, but with different, more celtic features. The only thing that makes her “idealized” is the simple fact that she is an accomplished dark-wave musician and I am not yet. She has a much better work ethic, because...she’s just got it. I tell myself that I would be if I could just stop thinking about these things.
I know that there are personal reasons why I identify with this this very collective dynamic. My heart just belongs to the idea of a small, basically socialist country with a population of 5.3 million people finally having a chance to break free. Break free of a dusty old monarchy that is no longer effective, and no longer can care for its people.
I do not think I idealize this story. Although I live here still, I just know too much about the pros and cons of the culture to ever have a romanticized view of it.
I should also mention that I told my old therapist about all of this. She was always bemused, treating it like not too much more than a quirk. I felt like she never truly acknowledged how emotionally attached I am to these subjects. How I have been in tears many times thinking about how much they deserve to be their own country. Something that I tease myself for, but also fiercely guard it, like I would protect a young child’s beliefs. It is my heart.
If Scotland can break away from this mutual dependency and become it’s own country. Can I break away from this division within myself and finally be a whole person? I don’t know.
And ps. am I a nutjob?