I started preparing for NaNoWriMo today. Last year I wrote a very rough draft of a book in the first half of November. I love that story still. I started to reread it a few weeks ago and it’s even better than I remember! It needs a ton of work to be a decent book I’d be willing to share with anyone, but it was definitely awesome to me. In the past I had started so many stories and books but never finished anything. The structure of NaNoWriMo appealed to be and helped me actually finish the project.
I tried a couple other events with NaNoWriMo, but couldn’t get the same magic I got last November. I felt it coming back today, though, as I started preparing. I actually wrote a brief summary of the big story, sort of like the back of the book would be. And I made up some early characters that I think will be a large part of the story. This one is a mystery, and I am excited to see how it turns out. Last year I would just get taken away and write 5000 words in a day, sometimes writing twice a day. It was crazy how fast I could write a decent story.
I feel like I have had a head full of characters as long as I could remember. Writing is the most fun way to get those characters out of my head and into real life in a way that makes sense. I wrote myself into the last book, but only appearing at the end. It was fun to know that I would get to make that appearance as myself, exactly how I see myself. I’m not sure if I will put myself into this story. It remains to be seen. I have another book idea that I started to write, but it just hasn’t flowed out of my yet. I was planning to use it for this year’s NaNoWriMo, but it’s not ready yet. The characters just don’t excite me enough yet. But maybe next year or some other time.
Something that I recently started learning about is maladaptive daydreaming. It was something that I found myself doing all the time, when I could be alone and quiet. I did it a lot while I drove, which was sort of dangerous when I think about how deep I would get into it. It’s defined as a behavior where a person spends an excessive amount of time daydreaming, often becoming immersed in their imagination. This was something I have been doing as long as I can remember. A lot of times I acted these daydreams out with my stuffed animals as a kid. It was a way to work out some of the trauma I was facing daily and also a way to be exactly who I wanted to be, without the confines of my physical body. It was an escape every time, though. My reality wasn’t worth living and these daydreams pulled me into a world where I was the hero, the hot guy, the nice dad, the cool big brother, anything but who I was in real life.
Writing gives me a chance to immerse myself in these made up worlds and that feels like a much healthier way to think about who I want to be, rather than being trapped in a fantasy world. The only person who knows how much I was doing this is my wife. With her, I feel like I don’t live in a fantasy world anymore, like the fantasy world is my real world now. I have slipped into the dream world a couple times, but I always snap back out of it quickly, because it doesn’t feel like my only safe place anymore. I wish I could’ve told myself that it was ok to do whatever it took to survive. I wish I had the strength to understand that whatever I needed to do to survive was fine.
But the hardest part of all of this trauma now is the fact that my dad and I are trying to make things better. I am struggling with the fact that both things can be true; that he is a decent person who was overwhelmed as a parent and abused his child as well as a regretful older man who realizes that he didn’t handle things correctly. The tiny part of me just wants to be happy and just forgive all of it and pretend it wasn’t real and never happened. But the other part of me doesn’t trust the change. It believes that this is all a ploy to draw me in and hurt me again intentionally, or pull away emotionally instead of continuing this work. I think it is possible that he can handle the truth about me and support me in my journey. It’s so scary to think about telling him though, since I can’t even tell some of my friends that I know will be supportive.
I guess I just keep talking to him in my books. For now.