Do you remember the movie, Drop Dead Fred? I haven't seen it in years, but I remember it being hilarious.
Elizabeth ("Lizzie") loses her money, car, job and husband on the same day. She returns home to her mother (Polly) and finds her old jack-in-the-box in the closet. Untaping it releases her childhood "imaginary" friend - Fred.
The movie flashes between childhood scenes of Lizzie and Fred, and adult scenes.
Lizzie has a "makeover" at the behest of Polly. With this new look, Lizzie woos back her husband. After Fred causes Lizzie to "Have absurd conversations with thin air" as well as repeatedly hit a violinist at a local shopping mall, Polly takes her to a psychiatrist who prescribes drugs which will rid Lizzie of Fred. (Fred is seen to behave in a lethargic manner in the presence of Lizzie while she is on this prescription.) Just before Lizzie takes the last of these pills, she learns that her husband, Charles is still cheating on her. Heartbroken, Lizzie turns back to Fred.
In a dream sequence, Fred helps Lizzie face the two demons of her life: Charles and Polly. In her old room, Lizzie finds her childhood self taped to her bed. Lizzie tears the tape, releasing her young self and, in the process, frees her present adult self. Fred tells the reluctant Lizzie that, after all these years, she no longer needs him. He kisses her goodbye and disappears.
Some of the best quotes in the movie are -
[Polly has just finished reading a Fairy Tale]
Young Elizabeth -Did they live happily ever after?
Polly - Of Course Elizabeth.
Young Elizabeth - How do you know?
Polly - Because, she was a good little girl, if she would have been naughty, the Prince would have run away.
Young Elizabeth - What a pile of shit.
Fred - [sitting inside the refrigerator] [about Charles] Snotface, he's the wrong man for you.
Lizzie - I don't want to hear it
Fred - You're not happy. [Elizabeth closes the fridge door]
Lizzie - Yes I am.
Fred - [crawling from underneath a counter] Well, if you're so happy, then why I am still here, hmm?
Lizzie - I can fix that. [she pulls out the pills]
Fred - Oh no, don't do that. No, please, don't do that. Do- [Elizabeth takes the pill, he dubs over in pain. While grinding pepper, Elizabeth sneezes and sends Fred bouncing against the walls]
I can relate to this movie on so many levels. On the surface, it is just a comedic movie. But when you look further, it has a much deeper meaning.
In the movie, "Lizzie finds her childhood self taped to her bed. Lizzie tears the tape, releasing her young self and, in the process, frees her present adult self." In therapy language, this is akin to connecting with your inner child.
So I can't decide - does connecting with your inner child mean re-connecting to imaginary friends? Or letting them go?
My real childhood ended too fast. Even my imaginary friends grew up too fast.
I used the "friends" to bounce ideas off and make decisions. I would talk to these friends as if they were really there. I'd hear them respond and then respond back. It is how I made decisions. I'd act out the various endings. Play out the scenarios.
I grew up way too fast. I put away childish things too soon. The imaginary friends were hidden. I played it off as just "talking to myself." When I began looking back at my childhood and processing things, I wasn't sure what to do with these "friends." I still need help processing heavy decisions.
Most recently I had to decide about switching jobs. I "talked" to my "friends." I explained to them why I was thinking about leaving, staying, etc. I'd weigh the pros and cons. In talking to these people (all in my head), I began to see the path I should take. It is my version of a plus/minus sheet.
I'm not sure what talking to people who aren't really there means. Maybe I need some of Lizzie's pills. None of mine seemed to make a difference. I do know these people aren't really there. But on the other hand, if you see me going down the road, talking and gesturing to an empty passenger seat, you'll know I'm talking to a "friend" who is riding along with me.
Sometimes I wonder if online forums and blogging is a version of an imaginary friend? You can create fictionalized personas on forums or a blog. You develop relationships with people who you likely won't ever meet. Often people blog through a particular season of life, then set it aside. Sort of like Lizzie did with Fred.
So what do you think? Did you (do you) have imaginary friends? What form?