Growing up, I didn’t have an imaginary friend. Around age seven or so, I really wanted to have an imaginary friend. I thought it was some requirement for a normal childhood, and I was obsessed with having a normal childhood. I begged for chores and an allowance. I would make up a list of chores to do and how much I would get paid for each. My parents of course agreed to this, but I was a lazy and spoiled child and never did any of it. I then lamented in the fact that I was not punished in some way for not doing my chores.
However, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t imagine up a friend. Well, at least not like they portray on t.v. or in movies. There was no fantastical creature or otherself that appeared before my eyes and noone else’s. I didn’t sense my imagination in any way shape or form. I couldn’t hear this friend, see him or her or ever be certain of his or her being “real” albeit still imaginary. I needed a friend who would at least talk back to me.
I would play imaginary games and talk to other characters in my make believe fantasies, but I knew they weren’t my friends. They were merely actors in a play in my head. When I was playing by myself, I would draw out each character and write descriptions of them, including the one I would be playing. It was more like character development for a story or play than make-believe. Still, it helped me remember who was my enemy, friend or future husband in the complex world of my mind. I did this well into junior high even. I would always talk in a whisper too, especially as I got older for fear my parents would think I was either insane and talking to myself or a complete loser for still playing make-believe games.
But, back to the quest for an imaginary companion. It wasn’t until after I tried and had given up that I slowly remembered I did create imaginary people I believed to be real. I was in pre-school and perhaps they came earlier but it is hard for me to date things earlier than that time. It wasn’t a friend I had imagined, it was a family. Perhaps it was because my older brother would always pick on me and tell me I was adopted that I felt a need to figure out who my “real” family was, and so I came up with my rainbow family.
Today, the term “rainbow family” refers to a homosexual couple and their children (through whatever means they choose to have children). But my rainbow family didn’t have any such conotations. In fact, I don’t even recall parents. No, they were rainbow because that is what they looked like.
I was always fascinated with puddles of oil in parking lots, and would stare as dark and colorful liquid swirled. They were rainbows in puddle forms. Well, that is what my rainbow family was made of. They were human forms but made completely out of swilring almost translucent rainbow liquid. Of course be the small child that I was, I never knew what they looked like above the knees.
My rainbow family consisted of 8 brothers and 7 sisters, with me that would 8 boys and 8 girls. I have a thing for symmetry. They lived in the forrest and had a chest filled with gold coins that was so large, it required all of my siblings to carry it. I suppose people were always after their riches, because my rainbow family was always on the move. In my mind they were never seen in a house, but always carrying that chest and walking through the forrest.
Now, I didn’t talk to my imaginary family like one might do with an imaginary friend. I was never in their presence either. It was as though they were a memory that I believed was real. I would tell people about them too, much to my mother’s dismay. While I do not remember this incident, my mother still tells me about it. Apparently, during my rainbow family days, she and I were in the grocery store. I can only imagine she was being completely unfair and not allowing me to get whatever sugary unnecessary thing that is specifically packaged to make small children cry until their parents are forced to either get the damn thing or it makes other people vow to buy their children whatever they want to avoid such a scene in the future. In this fit of fighting the injustice of being financially dependent on an authority figure my 4 year old self cries out defiantly for all the world to hear, “I WANT MY REAL MOMMY!”
Sorry about that, Mom.
I’m not really sure why I stopped believing in my rainbow family. I don’t know if someone broke the news to me that they only exhisted in my head or if I just simply forgot about them due my youthfully short attention span.