July 4, 2020

Friend or Fiction?

I develop delusional relationships with fictional characters. There’s really no other way to put it. The emotions are real, but the reality is not.

To elaborate.

Whenever I consume content of a fictional nature (especially content I connect with emotionally), whether it be a video game character, people from a book or show, even people’s role-play characters they created for a game, I develop a real and intense connection. Often, I find myself in tears if something sad has happened to them, or stricken with anxiety if they are in trouble.

There are instances, like right now, where I can reflect back and understand it’s an odd occurrence, to care so much for one who doesn’t exist. However, the majority of the time, especially in the moment of experiencing it, all I can feel and recognize are the very real emotions brewing inside.

Sometimes if I’m really invested in a piece of content, my concept of reality can shift completely, making me believe I harbour the same universe. This is rather disjointing when I realize it’s only in my head, and I’m unable to run over to said characters house to have a tea or give them a hug. It can be frustrating when I’m all full of fear and excitement, ready to take on an evil entity lurking on the horizon, only to find a quiet atmosphere surrounding me.

I know by now most people reading this have “crazy” alarm bells going off in their head, thinking me mad beyond reprieve. Maybe some of you are right. However, I can’t change how I feel about something anymore than others can change their taste in food. If your favourite food is pizza for example, and someone told you pizza is crazy stop liking it, can you?

Sure you could stop eating it for a period, maybe pretend it’s not as good as you remember, but the moment you sink your teeth in you’ve lost. Your brain, nerves, taste-buds decide how this food will register, and your determination has little impact.

Though I could be wrong. Perhaps if I tried hard enough, really focused on suppressing feelings derived from consuming content, or pinched myself really painfully when reality shifts, I could (over time) gain full control. Although “unfortunately”, during the moment it’s happening my ability to understand what I’m experiencing isn’t real is non-existent, hindering any steps I could take to counter it.

But for arguments sake (so to speak), pretending suppressing these instances were actually possible, would I want to? What’s wrong with feeling a strong connection towards fictional characters? Is it wrong to think myself friends with people whom I’ve shared a long and arduous journey with? Isn’t it a compliment to the writers and creators who worked so tirelessly to bring us this material?

For me, the emotions, memories, and connections I develop with many fictional characters feel as real and intense as those of my family or friends. In my soul, I have grieved thousands of times, and experienced more unique worlds than any neurotypical could.

As I mentioned above, there are instances it can be disjointing. When I’m glancing around the room expecting to see a dragon, or being unable to sleep lest I continue on with the story; in agony of what awaits my comrade. Yet if I could replace that with the seemingly bleak reality I see reflected in the eyes of those who truly exist, would I want to?

I guess it doesn’t matter, in a short period of time this temporarily lucid state of reflection will pass, and soon I’ll find myself emotionally consumed with those many consider to be imaginary. At least, they’ll always have a place in my heart. ^_^

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