- The tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, esp. by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy
- The desire to retreat into imaginative entertainment rather than deal with the stress, tedium, and daily problems of the mundane world.
- (escapist) Someone who wants to escape; especially from reality; Intended for or tending toward escape; especially, used to avoid, deny, or forget about reality, as through fantasy
I grew up wishing reality would just go away.
I can remember coming home from elementary school and going outside into the woods, my secret refuge. I remember talking to the trees, pretending they were my family and that the rustling of branches and leaves were secret whispers of a language that I wanted to learn. I would climb and climb not to reach the sky, but to get away from the earth. I wanted to transcend my problems and disappear for a time to somewhere no one could touch me.
The summer nights of my youth were magical. I would wake up in the darkness and climb over to my window and ask, out loud, for the faeries to pick me, to take me away beyond the veil where our world borders theirs. I wanted long wispy hair threaded with flowers, dirty bottomed bare feet, lips stained with raspberry juice, and eyes reflecting the sunset. I wanted to be young, to catch fireflies in the dark, and to keep my youthful awe forever. It would be beautiful and magical. I would sit under apple trees blooming in the eternal springtime and, most importantly, I would be happy. Yeats’s poem “The Stolen Child” was my anthem and, in particular, the refrain:
“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
They never came, and I was ridiculed at school for even harboring thoughts like these. Typical 8th grade girls were supposed to be consumed with AIM, boys, makeup, stupid movies, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, the color pink. They were not supposed to believe in actual fairy tales. They were supposed to have friends and get their nails done and know how to use eyeliner. I was such an outsider, always alone and when I wasn’t alone – it was worse.
I used to ask my boyfriend, “Will you runaway with me?” He never said so explicitly but I know he thought I was being childish and that running away from your problems doesn’t solve them. But he doesn’t understand me, I don’t know if he ever will.
Seattle. That was always my destination. I wanted to hitchhike like a Kerouacian heroine across the country to the West coast. I wanted to live in a small, bohemian district of some faraway city in a studio apartment with ten other artists. I wanted paint on the floor, dance parties, underground poetry slams, writing circles…All the while with someone I love, my boyfriend.
Sometimes I get mad at him. He says we can’t go. He looks at it logically – money, phone bills, work, transportation, and a slew of other practicalities that I always ignore. But sometimes, you can’t look at it logically because this is not a logical dream, it’s romanticized and unrealistic. Yes, even I admit this.
I long ago realized that I would never be stolen away by faeries, school would never get any easier or better for me, and I will never run to Seattle, hell, I probably will never live on the West coast. But dreaming together is something that I need sometimes. I want to think about it, to pretend for a while before I have to come back down to earth – where I am a friendless college student, working hard, without money, without utter happiness, without anything. My reality is laid out in front of me and I hate it.
I grew up wishing away reality, thinking it was an actual possibility. Now, I still feel the same way only – I know it’s a hopeless endeavor, one in which I can only dream about. That’s why I get so defensive when people try to break the delicate unrealities I have created with logic. Not because the logic is wrong or my dreams are possible, but because I know they’re right and I can’t stand it. “It is true that when we travel we are in search of distance. But distance is not to be found. It melts away. And escape has never led anywhere.” (Antoine De Saint-Exupery)
I can tell you this though, if faeries ever came for me – I would go without hesitation. The world of politics, money, computers, pain, death, ugly buildings and stupid people is dead to me. I would choose destination anywhere over tomorrow’s schedule any day.
<and that’s why he’s currently my EX-boyfriend. ha. ha. haha.>
He is no fugitive – escaped, escaping.
No one has seen him stumble looking back.
His fear is not behind him but beside him
On either hand to make his course perhaps
A crooked straightness yet no less a straightness.
He runs face forward. He is a pursuer.
He seeks a seeker who in turn seeks
Another still, lost far into the distance.
Any who seek him seek in him the seeker.
His life is a pursuit of a pursuit forever.
It is the future that creates his present.
All is an interminable chain of longing
by Robert Frost