Lucid [Horror] Dreaming

Guys, I think I might be losing my touch a little bit.

Once upon a time, I used to have a super power. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anything cool like immense strength, ultra speed, or being able to reliably find the last parking spot on a busy day; though I CAN usually guess the time without looking, but I’m consistently a single minute off – which I’m sure is what will eventually drive me to being a super villain.

ANYWAY.

No, my power was that I could, in a very limited way, reliably lucid dream.The way it worked was simple: if I was in a dream, and it started to get scary or in any way stressful, I would suddenly become lucid and therefore decide if I wanted to continue with the dream, or pull the rip cord and wake myself up. One of my favorites went sort of as follows:

I’m on an alien space ship, and it’s sort of a cross between Alien and the Halo series. I’m in a Spartan suit, but I’m being stalked by a Xenomorph. Things are going however they’re going as I look for a battery for the last escape pod, or whatever, and I come to a place in the ship where the lights are out. There’s a break in the flooring, and I know I have to go down into this super creepy spot next, when suddenly, I realize it’s a dream. I hear a snarl over my shoulder, but now suddenly lucid say, “Hahahahaha- no.” And boom, I wake up. Easy peezey.

That ability has given me the confidence such that I’ve made it a consistent hobby of mine to eat spicey food or have a bit of booze just before bed for the bizarre dreams. And that’s landed me with some real zingers.

But I think I’m starting to slip.

Last night, I had a series of bad, scary dreams. I mean, fortunately, they were the kind of “horror/action movie” bad as opposed to “real life tragedy” bad, but still.

I went from trying to escape some kind of compound, stealthily taking out guards and praying I wouldn’t get caught, to – naturally – a zombie apocolypse. From there, the last two softcore nightmares both took place in mansions. The less supernatural one was kind of a Victorian-era murder mystery; which would have been sort of cool, if I weren’t hacked to death at the end of it.

But the last one motivated today’s post entirely. And not even for the whole of it – which, of course, I can’t totally remember anymore because dreams are shitty that way (especially the good ones!) – but for an eerie effect that I remember happening somewhere near the middle.

I was walking up flights of furnished mahogany stairs in a half-covered mansion. “Half-covered” in that much of the furniture was draped in old sheets to protect them from dust. It’s morning time and the sun is pouring through the windows, and I’m looking for something. I don’t totally remember what, but I remember it was important.

I make it to the top floor, search for a while, and make for the stairs again. I’m at the top when I hear a sound, so I look over my shoulder. Behind me and down the hall is a figure, draped in black cloth and wearing a stoic, featureless, white mask (picture a creepier No Face). I’ve never had sleep paralysis before, but I’ve heard it’s terrible, and now I sort of understand why.

I couldn’t move a muscle.

But that didn’t keep my heart from pounding, my breath quickening, or my nerves frying while I fought it. The white mask floated over to me – it didn’t walk – but just coasted over the hardwood like a chess piece, and while it did that, I watched the light in the hallway and coming through all the windows shift. I watched morning, become noon, become evening, become night, become morning again, over and over, so quickly it was like a slow strobing effect. Every time the figure was hidden by the darkness of night and reappeared in morning light, it was different: arms slowly grew out from under the sleeves which turned to claws, it grew taller, the expression on the featureless, plain mask became more and more malevolent.

For whatever reason, my paralysis finally broke free and I turned to make a run for the stairs, but they were suddenly missing, leading just to a sheer drop down four stories.

The rest of the dream was a chase as I dashed in and out of bedrooms and down hallways trying to escape, until I eventually was tackled by something.

WITHOUT WAKING UP OR BEING ABLE TO GO LUCID.

I guess my point is that getting older sucks. (Eh, but it’s kind of cool too, but more on that later. I have to go.)

Ciao.

*creak, creak* Ahem…

Because it probably doesn’t make sense, I’d like to explain that the title is supposed to be the sound of me setting up a soapbox, because this is about to get a little preachy (for, like, a second).

I’m on Facebook, but I’m not really on Facebook. I pop by, scroll for funny or insightful pictures, “tune in” to certain people’s pages like I’m checking the news or drama, then I pop back off. Not that this is letting any cats out of any bags, but: any longer than that, I find, it can be enough to drive the best of us utterly insane.

I’m only saying that because even from underneath my big-ass rock, I heard about Kobe Bryan’ts death (I almost said “passing,” but let’s be real with each other, he and the several others on board died that day). And I’m going to keep this short, because this blog is two things: 1) a place for fun tales and day-dreams, and 2) thought-vomit and healthy, cathartic rants. What it isn’t, despite the introduction, is a place to be preachy or political. But as I was scrolling Facebook yesterday, I came across…just…too many un-apologists.

Does that make any sense?

Just, several people who took time out of their day to address the current event and be sure to include that while condolences to the victims of the crash were due, they were never going to say they were sorry for calling him a rapist.

Who…who’s asking you to?

When the story broke on the news (before his family was told, which is shitty), did a queue of people just line up asking if you were yet willing to reneg on your years-old comments?

Probably not.

I don’t have a dog in the race, no opinion on the matter, no facts to spew, but it just struck me as odd how many people took time out of their day to proclaim their negative thoughts on a seventeen year old, single accusation.

The story as far as I understand it is that back in 2003, someone accused him of sexual assault.

If true, gross; definitely make up for what you did.

If not, also gross, because that’s the damage an easily started rumor can do, if after two decades you, your daughter, and several others all die, and people spring out of the woodwork to call you a rapist in response.

I don’t really have a direct message here with all this other than to say- nah, fuck that, to ask if there’s room for redemption; any space for understanding; any ground for a moment’s patience prior to judgement anymore? (Trick question. Answer’s “yes.” Why we don’t avail ourselves of it seems to be another issue.)

There are obvious cases out there (cough Weinstein cough), and everything those evil-doers get is probably deserved. But then there’s the gray area of nuance, misunderstanding, of – and don’t think of all this in the context of sexual assault, either; just…anything. Fucking life is full of passing ships, mixed messages, misinterpretations in every area. What motivates droves of us to throw fire, and to slap ourselves with a “Hello, my name is” sticker labelled “Judge, Jury, Executioner” on it (tortured metaphor, but stick with me) is weirdly beyond me.

Just…don’t give yourself a hammer, then call everything a goddamn nail. At least not without looking inward, first. I don’t know if it’s a radical idea to put out there, but maybe check to see you have your shit in some semblence of order before giving your unsolicited sermon. God, especially if that sermon doesn’t do anything beyond showing your colors.

To those folks, and just any of us, three suggestions:

  1. Make your bed every morning.
    This one’s pretty age-old, as advice goes. Life can suck sometimes, true; and doubly true when things feel out of your control. So while it seems like a tiny thing (because it is), just making your bed can do a fuck-ton to bring you back to center and turn you towards the right stuff.
  2. Find someone you respect, and memorize their voice.
    One of the things that I’m sure leads to a lot of the stuff I complained about above is the emboldening power of the anonymity of the internet. Stories of trolls online being confronted by their targets suddenly turning into apologetic, down-to-earth people are countless. Having a person in front of you changes the interaction. So, if you don’t have someone in front of you, imagine one.
    Just earlier today, I was deep into a mission on Far Cry: New Dawn (great game if you love the franchise like I do), had to go to the bathroom, did that, and almost popped right back to the living room without washing my hands. I reached for the light, and Israel Adesanya’s voice just came to mind and went, “Tch, wash your hands, boy. What’chu doin’?”
    A minute later, I was back in my game, but my hands were soft and smelled like lavendar.
  3. Hug someone.
    This one is pretty self-explanatory. Hugs are awesome.

Cool. I think that’s enough to pepper the internet with for one day. Later, gators.

Wisdom from a Vampire Hunter

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

Busily Usain Bolt-ing towards the finish line on this house selling/buying thing, so today I figured I would dive into one of my old notebooks and go quote-hunting for some wisdom of the ancients (I like to picture it like truffle-hunting and I’m the hog – *sniff sniff* *sniff sniff*). I utilized the delicate technique of flipping to a random page and turned up a bit of a gem on the first go.

If you’ve never read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” I’d SUPER recommend it. I went on a kick of reading old classics a few years ago – Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Frankenstein, etc. – and gained a lot from it.

A lot, like this…

“You are a clever man, friend John; you reason well, and your wit is bold; but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men’s eyes, because they know – or think they know – some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new ideas, beliefs, which think themselves new, and which are yet but the old, which pretend to be young – like the fine ladies of the opera…

“My thesis is this: I want you to believe…To believe in things that you cannot. Let me illustrate. I heard once of an American who so defined faith: ‘that which enables us to believe things which we know to be untrue.’ For one, I follow that man. He meant that we shall have an open mind, and not let a little bit of truth check the rush of a big truth, like a small rock does a railway truck. We get the small truth first. Good! We keep him, and we value him; but all the same must not let him think himself all the truth in the universe.”

-Van Helsing

The Take: First off, I saw the Van Helsing movie with my Lord and Savior Hugh Jackman before ever reading Dracula, and I was COMPLETELY THROWN when instead of a chiseled Wolverine in a trench coat, he was described as a barrel-chested, red-haired Dutchman. Confused. As. Fuck. But eventually, I embraced him.
Secondly (and arguably more important, but pfft), this was the scene where Helsing is prepping Jonathan Harker to accept the idea of vampires, and the idea of one being at the root of their troubles. And I love the lessons herein – about keeping an open mind and not thinking so rigidly you’re not able to learn.

If you’re a fan of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Farenghar Secret-Fire puts it a bit more succintly:

“A sure mark of a fool is to dismiss anything that lies outside his experience as impossible.”

Van Helsing puts it a bit more diplomatically, but the lesson, I think, is in the same spirit. It doesn’t mean “believe everything you hear” (heh-heh, the Internet, am I right?), but it does mean not to write off new ideas simply because they conflict with a previously held idea; judge it upon its own merits. Cognitive dissonance (SMART WORDS) might be uncomfortable, but it makes room for growth.

Anyway, take it easy, everybody. Catch you Thursday.

Ciao.