Sometimes I get tired. I’m not talking “sleep all day” tired. I’m not talking “admitted to the hospital for exhaustion” tired. I’m talking “disappeared for two weeks without a word” tired. Sometimes I want to leave. Sometimes I want to disappear.
When my friend gets tired, she fantasizes about having to go to the hospital. When she had her children, she had to stay in the hospital, which was the best experience for her. There were people there to make sure she was comfortable and healthy. The only thing that was expected of her was sleep, rest and relaxation. After living the life of a single mother of three, I can understand why she would fantasize about that.
We feel free when we escape — even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire. Eric Hoffer (1902 – 1983)
Me, I used to fantasize about going to prison. I imagined it was a quiet place where I could write a book. If it was good enough for Dostoevsky, then it should be good enough for me. I would be able to write as much as I wanted without thinking about work or home or family. I could just be alone and write. Even Oscar Wilde was able to write his work, De Profundis, while he was in prison. They would only allow him one piece of paper at a time and only allow him to write for a small amount of time each day. Even if they did that to me, I could still contemplate during the other hours of the day. Sure, I had heard the rumors about prison, but that was just for men, right?
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Bible, John 8:32
Then I learned the truth. “Oh it’s horrible! There is never a moment of quiet. It’s noisy all the time. You can’t even sleep.” That phrase alone was enough to cease my fantasies about prison. Four sentences from a friend of a convicted felon was enough to clear that idea from my imagination. Constant noise: isn’t that one of the definitions of hell? Then I find that for women it’s just as bad as it is for men. There are threats of beatings and rape all the time. There is no escape from the fellow prisoners or the guards. There is no safety. Instead of the quiet respite with time to write, it is a never-ending struggle to stay alive and untainted.
Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. William James (1842 – 1910)
Fantasizing about being admitted to the hospital or being sent to prison is unhealthy. The mind will bring about whatever you focus on. If we had continued on our paths, she would have been terminally ill and I would have been unjustly imprisoned (I would never knowingly commit a crime). Instead of focusing on prison, I started focusing on what I wanted to do in prison, which was to write every day. After a few years of actually doing that and hiding my work in a drawer, here I am. Writing every day and sharing it with the world.
I must admit that I still fantasize about disappearing when I’m tired, though. Now I imagine myself in a posh hotel in New Orleans. That’s much better than prison, don’t you think?