Pretend for a moment that you are in a cave, and it’s dark, and you are surrounded completely by hungry lions waiting to yank your tiny muscles apart for a nice brunch. What would you do?
Solution-focused. Laser-eyed vision. I’d do a Sydney move a-la Alias and zap them with my bobby pins, and somehow get them distracted by electromagnetic pulses, or jedi-mind trick them into devouring each other
Seriously? First thought?
Why would lions want to eat a skinny girl like me?
The answer to the question, not THE answer, but A answer…
One of the ploys in my professional tool box involves assessing the integrity and content of pretend play. This skill develops as part of a “theory of mind” where a person demonstrates representational ability….ONE THING STANDS IN FOR ANOTHER….as well as social insight….EMOTIONAL CONTENT WITHIN EVERYDAY ACTIONS.
During adolescence, trying on a variety of role superficially hallmarks exploration. Pretending is a key ingredient for identity formation, because if one decides “this is me” before sampling, well, identity is less robust and secure. (That’s a great excuse for all the hair colors I’ve brought upon myself…)
So, yeah, being a “pretender”, serves as an achievement multiple points along our development.
And yet, some of us have the process down a little TOO WELL.
Sometimes, I pretend myself into unhappiness. It goes a little something like this
So and so can’t make it to my BBQ. There must be something wrong with me.
The guy hasn’t touched me in two weeks. There must be something wrong with me.
This case/report/genetic tests are hard to figure out. There must be something wrong with me.
I mowed the electrical cord in half. There must be something wrong with me
I didn’t get to making cookies for the office. There must be something wrong with me.
The dinner didn’t taste as good as I thought. There must be something wrong with me.
Usually, this pretend game doesn’t work out in my favor. I am pretending that there is some essential deep flaw in me that I somehow have to perpetually plan and compensate for in order to….well, exist. Or not really physically exist, but emotionally feel “okay.”
Truth is, I didn’t like pretend games when small, and don’t much care for them now.
So why do they come so easy?
Your anxiety…over how well you will do on a test, over if you are parenting with enough consistency, over possible decisions to spend the night, or spend your money, or whether or not you will ever “find” the right man/job/citytolivein/pairofjeans/recipeforthepotluck may be because you pretend there is something wrong with you.
And yep, there is…
It’s that you pretend there is.. When really….
you aren’t in a cave at all.
This realization of course is celebrated as I return to my ROOTS, smile back a year ago from my locks of love transformation, and become more of myself…welcoming brunette back into my follicles….ah! It’s nice to be back, in a way…
Any cave dwellers out there? or is it, was it, just me?