I’m sometimes slightly hazy about the rough parts of what happened in my life. It isn’t that I have no grip on reality. More that time has a way of softening the edges of hardest truths and making them less edgy.
I seem to have imagined away a lot of the worst stuff. These days, it’s more dreamy. Less like the haunted awfulness of youth. Some of the really bad stuff I worked through. Writing my book was unquestionably one of the major ways I worked through it. It seems I’m better at settling my emotional hash writing about it than talking about it.
Even the people I once hated … I don’t hate them anymore. I don’t like them, either, but they are just people now. I have a distaste for them and I certainly am not going to have a party and invite them round for cookies and tea … but the edge of rage and obsession is gone.
That’s imagination. The ability to see myself as having come from a bad place to a better place. A kind of Christian forgiving, where I recognize it isn’t my job to fix the ugliness of my world. What remains is for some higher power to take on — and good luck to him, her, or them.
Imagination made it possible for me to survive growing up, to try unknown things without dwelling on what might happen if I got it wrong. To believe that things that looked bad might not stay that way and the worst might get better if I stuck around.
Imagination is not merely making up stories. Imagination is the fuel of hope. It’s the big engine under your personal rocket lifting into the sky.