Saturday, September 12, 2009

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend

This guest blog is contributed by Chuckie Imaginary. He was my imaginary friend from ages two through five. He was always accompanied by his dog Margo. Sometimes Margo was a person, (as my imagination had the power to transform the whole story/concept to fit the moment) ... but mostly she was a dog. I had not seen Chuckie and Margo for nearly four decades, but recently ran into them and asked him if he could contribute as a guest blogger to "The Some Assembly Required Blog". He believes in the power of creativity and imagination as an important tool that contributes to the success of all business professionals. You can follow him on Twitter (@ChuckieAndMargo). Chuckie is also available to speak at your next business event.

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend
By Chuckie Imaginary and his dog Margo.

It is a hard life being an imaginary friend.

When your real life friend is a little kid everyone thinks you are cute. They find your presence in the room to be funny. When it announced you are around, all the grown ups also pay attention to you. Some of the cooler grown ups will humor the situation by setting you a real place at the table. Some will even go as far as provide cookies and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. While you cannot actually eat the goodies, having your own meal, accompanied by a glass of chocolate milk makes your whole day special.

The more creative your real life friend is as a kid, the more adventures you get to experience. It is a lot of fun and your existence makes life just that much more better for everyone. You live in the imagination of a child, and thus your whole world is full of color, wonder, joy, hope, possibility, and make believe. Together you can do anything. You take each other to amazing levels of creativity and success.

Sometimes you do have to take the blame for bad things that happen. The juice gets spilled on the table cloth, you can rest assured that "Chuckie did it". Messy room? Chuckie's fault. Crystal vase gets knocked over by a flying Star Wars action figure? Fingers are pointed right at ol' Chuck. But it is all worth it, as being an imaginary friend you relish in the connection with your real life friend. Besides, I probably was responsible for most of those mishaps.

But then it happens. Your presence in the life of your real life friend begins to diminish. They start school and begin to acquire their own real life friends. Their parents and teachers no longer find their confiding in the "imaginary types" to be acceptable. They are encouraged to forget you. They try to hold onto you, but the peer pressures and efforts to fit in and not seem "weird" over power the joy they find in the imaginary world.

So you are alone. I was lucky, as I had a dog. Many imaginary friends are just abandoned into solitary confinement. You are always there with them, walking a few steps behind your real life friend, trying to help him or her navigate the path of life. At 16-years-old, when they back the car into a light post you so wish that you could take the blame when they have to tell their dad. When they forget to mail a credit card bill you desire to get on the phone with Visa and explain that it was Chuckie who had not sent the check. When they have a fight with their spouse you want to leap out and claim the responsibility. But alas, you cannot.

You spend forever wishing they could again embraced those childhood qualities. You see them facing difficulties and know that creativity and imagination could help them discover all sorts of unique and clever solutions to life's problems.

Some imaginary friends follow along and never see any hope for their real life friend. As these people grew up they closed their creativity and imagination into a sealed vault. These imaginary friends are the most sad, as they have no hope.

But for others there is hope. They witness flashes of brilliance that stream out from cracks in the facades that have been built around their persons. They know that deep down inside they have the desire and the ability to live in that state of color, wonder, joy, hope, possibility, and make believe that dominated their childhoods. These imaginary friends stay extra close. They whisper (or scream) suggestions to help guide their persons. On occasion they see the results of their influence and watch as their friends excel in their personal and professional lives by creating solutions that others did not see.

I am lucky. My real life friend has always had his quirky side. While he conformed to the norms of society, he never really got past being a dreamer and a seeker. It has helped him build his unique career and pushes him to write, speak, and create. He still has a long way to go, but there is no doubt that he is on his way to embracing the more silly and playful side of life.

If you are reading this and are wondering whatever happened to your own childhood imaginary friend, I am here to tell you that he or she is very close. They are part of your soul and have been there rooting for you all along. Just turn around and say hello to them. Welcome them back into your life.

You never know where they might take you.

Have A Great Day. And please follow me on Twitter (@ChuckieAndMargo)


1 comment:

Jay Fraser said...

Interestingly creative.