Monday, October 20, 2008

October hauntings

Wes once wrote a supportive response to a post about nightmares I'd had (also in October, I noted): "I do think writing one's dreams - letting them out for others to see, too - takes away their power," he said. I guess I've dabbled in dreamlogging (like weblogging, right?) here and there, when my dreams force my hand. Lately they've been fairly forceful.

The night before last I was on a huge ship of some kind. There was a danger lurking, and a kind of us-versus-them tension. I'm not sure who made up the crew of people on my side, but the other side was rumored to be unnatural; maybe they'd attack as trolls, or bats, or shadows. When they did attack I thought they were visitors.

They walked onto the ship from the sea, normal people in boring clothes with welcoming smiles, easy conversations. At some point I became aware that they were specters of some kind - projections from the true fiends who hid somewhere else. We tried to attack them but their unreal bodies proved impermeable to hooks, broken glass, fireplace pokers, and even, I believe, some kind of heavy kitchen utensil I'd found. A meat mallet? Something strange.

When the real bodies of the enemies arrived we couldn't tell which ones to spend our energy attacking. They were identical to their specters and seemingly benign. They had placid faces and boring clothes. I still felt the need to attack. My poker would deflect off of a specter body and sink squishily into the real body, loosing blood and screams and pain. Meanwhile the ship steadily sank - not tipsy like the Titanic, but evenly, grade by grade, the way I imagine the coasts disappearing with global warming. I woke up with a Charlie horse, all my muscles tense and pulsing.

The night after that I dreamed about my father. He was much older, saggy and little. My brothers and I were playing a kind of serious game, keeping a wine bottle out of his hands. At least, I was keeping the wine bottle out of his hands - my brothers kept handing it back and forth between them, and occasionally handing it straight to him without seeming to notice.

When my father drank from the bottle we could all hear the liquid splashing through his dried-up organs. It leaked out of his chest and onto his chair and left holes. He never looked at any of us. His eyes were grey instead of their usual warm brown, and he seemed blind.

My brothers were talking and arguing but my voice, as in so many of my dreams, grew tinier the more I tried to shout. I tired to whisper to see if the opposite would be true, but found that whispering shut me into a different room. When I tried to yell the walls would vanish and I'd be back in the game, but useless.

I've had several dreams about my body lately. They seem to be about privacy - like not being able to find a bathroom to change in, or often one thought I have will expose a part of my body to the person to whom I'm talking. For instance, the person will be telling me something, and I'll think, "I should write this down," except every time I think that a part of my shirt goes invisible and the person can now see my left breast and a big scar on it. Everything hinges on word play and I can't figure out the code.

I have this repeating image, too. I wouldn't call it a dream. In the vision there's a little girl swinging in a dark space. She's clinging, actually, and I think it's a rope at first, but then I look and look at it and the image reveals itself. The girl is clinging to a long and delicate set of vertebrae that stretch upward into darkness. She's near the bottom, her legs laced through and her arms clutching like it's a swing or a rope ladder. She's stuck - she can't go up or down. There's nothing around her, just the bones and the stuff joining them, floating in that space.

My mother tried to help me with my nightmares when I was younger, because they've always been vivid. She told me that if I thought about the way the different dreams felt I'd get closer to their purpose. She thought of dreams as the brain's recovery time. In dreams, according to my mother, you let feelings surface that you were unable to feel during wakefulness. So, if the overriding sensation is anxiety, frustration, tenacity - that feeling is worth investigating, and you can kind of throw out the symbols that seem to point elsewhere.

I kind of buy that, but I think I've read too much to allow my dreams to just lie. My brain gives things purpose all the time because I like to think that way. I think this makes my dreams more pungent, in a way.

That being said, the most disturbing thing about the aforementioned dreams is actually my own disgust of them. I'm repulsed by my brain's ability to come up with gory, macabre and violent dreams. And so, unsurprisingly, I suppose it all comes down to my overall disgust with my lack of control - over my life, my body, and especially my own mind.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Labors of love

I've been working on projects for the little people in my life, because it's all I can do, financially. I can't even afford birthday cards, but I can sew a little, so I'm trying out my Project Runway skills.

Here's an apron I made for the little one I babysat:

She's officially THE Starbucks baby, so it seemed appropriate. I'd show you a pic of her wearing it but I don't think her parents would appreciate it.

I made this as a going-away present. The mean terrible parents moved to Seattle without asking me. How selfish!

And then Baby Girl turned the big FIVE this week. I called her up on her birthday and she answered saying, "I'm five years old and it's my birthday all day!" She'd had a bit of sugar at that point.

I went home this weekend and it wasn't terrible, considering my brothers are still douche booketts and my mother is chronically coughing and my dad is a bag of awful. It was all worth it to see Baby Girl in my latest creation. I give you... the princess cape!

I know you can't tell that it's purple brocade with a satin lining (which, together, cost me less than $10) but it IS and it's beautiful and she seems to like it!

Score one for Aunt Jo!

I'm back early from my trip home, by the way, because I have lovely white dots on my tonsils. Strep, I believe, to be confirmed after a 3:30 doctor's appointment that I cannot afford to go to. Sigh.