One of my big liberations when growing up was immersing myself in either my fantasy computer world or my books.
I wrote previously that once my family had moved into what I call my “safe house” then occurred some of the best moments of my young life. This house where everything stopped abuse wise and I became a young boy with a life ahead of him was a special, special place.
I don’t know how I done it, perhaps counselling will explain, but even as an 11-year-old, the past firmly was the past and the future was as new and exciting as the magical house seemed.
There’s such a strong emotional feeling and an association with those bricks and mortar keeping me safe and giving me a chance again – it’s just a house I know that as an adult, but its way more than a house to my child brain. That part of me is always going to associate the house with being my safe haven and saviour.
At my house I loved nothing better than to go to my bedroom and disappear into the amazing world of The Hobbit on my ZX Spectrum with its crude but immersive graphics, or to wander around a World War 2 prisoner camp in, rather fittingly, a game titled The Great Escape.
My parents probably understood it as me being very geeky, I understood it as putting myself into completely different universes, where, if I were harmed, it wasn’t physical or too traumatic and I could simply rise from the dead to try again and again.
When taking myself away from my computer my books of choice were The Lord Of The Rings and the Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe. Those amazing fantasy worlds of Middle Earth and Narnia with their hobbits, wizards, lions, orcs and ring wraiths. I could just totally lose myself in those books.
My late Uncle Tony was one of the first people to give me his old copy of the Lord Of The Rings book which was tattered and well used “You’ll love this” he told me as if he knew I craved an escape from reality. Even the cover of his old book spoke of mysterious lands and strange creatures and I was already fascinated by what laid inside for me. Thank you Uncle Tony for that book I still treasure to this day.
As a young boy trying hard subconsciously to block out a part of his life, my computer and my books were an essential part of escaping. They are for any young boy I guess, but I had learnt from an early age I couldn’t rely on anyone except myself for escape, safety and protection.
If only life were that simple now and we could all choose that perfect fantasy world to transport ourselves too when we can’t cope. Unfortunately we know as an adult the reality is there is no escape, there is no fantasy world such as Narnia to lose yourself in, there are just light days and there are dark days.
Lots of dark days.