I do something secret at night before I go to sleep. No, it's not masturbating or having sex--that's not a secret. It's a bit of world-making. It's like writing fan-fiction in my head, where the characters are real people in my life. These are my secret stories. I remember quite clearly why I started doing this. I asked my sister one night how she falls asleep so quickly. I might have asked, "Like, do you count sheep?" She told me that she made up her dreams in her head while she was still awake, and that helped her fall asleep. So, I gave it a go, and I haven't stopped. I think this has been going on for more than twenty years.
Most of the time it actually doesn't help me go to sleep. There have been periods in my life when I'd get so into a story it would keep me up for hours. There were times in high school, or when I've been really sad or stressed, that I've spent a lot of time in my day making up amazingly complex stories. When I came to a part I really liked, I'd rewind that bit, go over it again and again making subtle changes in the story until things worked out just right. At times, they've played out more dramatically than soap operas.
I've experimented with my world-making. I've tried a couple times to write down these elaborate tales, but I find it really painful and once it's on paper the stories are no fun anymore. I've realized just how twisted a mind can be sometimes, and, of course, I always fear that the people involved will find the stories.
I used to have a couple characters that weren't real. For example, Toshi, my often M.I.A. Japanese fiance who supported my fashion design endeavors, but wished I didn't work so much, and that I would just find a good assistant--since I was 7 months pregnant. I end up hiring an old flame. The assistant/ex-lover is trustworthy, and always around helping, so I lose interest in Toshi, but stick with him since he's a much better option than my personal assistant. This is when I realized that more often that not I use these stories to create tension between myself and a lost love, or a crush, so that they can see me "truly happy," desirable, successful, and, mostly, NOT with them, to make them wish that things were different. This is disturbing to me, but I still find comfort in making these kinds of stories.
I've tried to give up habitually constructing a fantastical universe, to let go of making up stories, but it makes me feel bad. I miss it and always allow myself to go back to it. They put me to sleep, they get me through a day, or a rough time.
My current one involves missing a plane, on purpose, to say some things that must be said, and those words being overheard, the phrase "Bad timing," and me vomiting--but recovering gracefully.