Tag: nightmares

Krill As Pets and Other Nightmares

night becomes

If you look really closely at this picture, and you have spent over $100,000 on a medical degree or you’re a clairvoyant, I bet you can see the shadow of death in my eye already. There’s probably evidence of type 2 diabetes to the naked professional eye.

What I see is that I need to get my eyeliner game up 10 notches and stop taking pictures of my eye bags at 11pm.

The only death I’m not afraid of is one I’m in control of.

profile in sepia copy

If I was a musician I would either be a classical pianist or a Chinese hip hop artist. No contest, no in-between.

The human population most in need of moral support, in my opinion, are those of us who suffer from mental illness and those of us who suffer contact with other human beings.

I wanted to wear a black band for Bowie but my black band doesn’t fit me anymore because my arms have tripled in size since Myrna Loy and my racist misogynist grandpa Tom died. I haven’t had the heart or energy to make a new one. I feel guilty about this because I didn’t cry when Myrna Loy or my grandfather died. Even though I loved my asshole grandfather. I didn’t cry when he died.

I’m not winning my personal battles, in case any of you are keeping score. I’m losing big time and part of me is crushingly scared. The other part of me knows that this is just part of whatever my legacy and life are supposed to be. I’m sad. I’m sad I’m not the person I was 20 years ago in many respects, but in other respects I’m so much better now even with my dreadful failings and losing of personal battles that may result in my death.

My nightmares last night were awful and lingering. Not vividly or specifically, they have lingered insidiously without specific shape, sound, or words. All I know is that there was an unconventional school library and neighborhood I was traveling through and hiding in that felt bone rippingly fraught and personal.

Someone had krill as pets.

It was one of those nightmares where you wake up knowing you’ve left half yourself in peril in the underworld but still have to go through the motions of working, of caring about the corporeal world.

I spent a million years tortured by my nightmares and poor sleep habits.

Can any of you understand me when I say that these horrible terrifying manifestations of my subconscious self, of my other life, have become necessary to me? That even though I’m completely haunted by them snaking through my head all day toying with my comfort and sense of reality, I’ve come to see them as the couriers of my spirit?

Is it acceptable, possible, believable, that the nightmares that plague my “sleep” and wake me at 4 in the morning are the most important connection I have with life outside my own muscle and blood?

Is it too on-the-nose to be okay with the tiger taking the gazelle down?

Is it too on-the-nose to be okay with being the gazelle every single time?

So much of what we’re taught in life is to fight. Fight authority, fight people who fight authority, fight the status quo, fight those who challenge the status quo. Fight your instincts, fight weakness, fight until fighting kills you. Fight every natural urge you’ve ever had because somehow humans have become the dark lords of all flesh.

We’re animals, like all other animals.

I’m almost certain I have: cervical cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, high blood pressure, imminent death disorder, brain tumor, rough patch of cancerous skin, breast cancer, bone cancer of the foot and elbow, eye jaundice, blood alcohol times 10000, 2 dying teeth, necrotic tissue masquerading as a disgusting yellow bruise, lung cancer, and tuberculosis.

Philip has just assured me that if I was to experience life without frequent nightmares and poor sleep I would not miss all that. He said the words “Stockholm Syndrome”. I don’t know. Does that syndrome apply to a terrorist like poor sleep and frequent, persistent, life-long nightmares? How does he know that part of his spirit might not be enhanced by being haunted his whole li-

Oh.

I’m sitting here considering the potential damage of trying to seek extra mental/emotional support through Kaiser. I’m not sure how much of my haunting can be unloaded on a therapist’s couch. Not sure Kaiser even has therapists available for just listening. They always want to send me to groups even though I’m allergic to groups more than I’m allergic to poorly designed forks.

Ah shit. I keep hitting my own raw nerves.

It’s true that my nightmares follow me through my waking hours, that they dog my heals wherever I go, but sometimes they offer something I’ve never found in waking life that I treasure more than gold, glitter, or beer: safety and respite.

Buried in most of my nightmares are secret pockets of safety, places of temporary refuge for my spirit and skin from the fiends chewing relentlessly at my edges. These moments, seconds, pockets of complete safety are like cocoons, like beautiful tiny ships of complete silence and peace. Moments where I am completely invisible to the howling of my ghosts and the reach of my living nemesis. I never feel these blissful safe moments in real life. I never feel this brief beautiful sense of invincibility, of spiritual protection, of total and complete uncomplicated universal love as I do during many of my worst nightmares.

Secret Messages on Pancakes

tiny GJ plane

The last thing I did before waking up was write a plea on a pancake to be broken out of prison. I signed my pancake note with spun sugar. Right before that there was a strip of desert and a bunch of people hunting snakes but the last pair of people who galloped after a snake ended up killing a deer. Before that there was an epic terrible time in a small Scandinavian town in the mountains that was also connected with the ocean. I was there to visit a friend and hide out from some bad people looking for me and I sat on a bench in her shallow pool surrounded by artwork trying not to be pulled over the edge of the pool into the ocean or the abyss or some sort of death related scenario. I returned to her living room, a cramped (cozy) little bridge of a room under which you could see her garage. Which was on fire. We couldn’t put it out. It seemed certain she was going to have to relocate and I knew she wasn’t going to. There was a point where I wandered into town for some shopping but it turns out the shopping center was in Australia or New Zealand.

I truly don’t have restful dreams. Maybe no one does. At least it ended with a note on a pancake, you know?

During this week of not writing much at all, again, I did come to the realization that I need to change a few details that mean going back and making a lot of adjustments. It means more rewriting when I haven’t even gotten past chapter 11 yet. I will be working on that today so I can move on to chapter 12. The changes are good and will make the story much better. Designing a post apocalyptic prison life is harder than you’d think.

I have been doing some serious thinking on so many things these days my head hurts.

Yesterday afternoon I started having sharp chest pains and joked about my end of days, as I always do, but after a couple people tried to convince me it was either gas or heartburn, other people were more alarmed and suggested going to the doctor immediately. This fed my initial irrational fears of having a heart attack and made me question my decision to not take it seriously. I’ve had this happen before and I was fine. As a person with clinical anxiety I have to constantly find the line between hypochondria and medical neglect due to fear of just being a hypochondria. When your very first thought with every single pain or weird body thing is: IT’S PROBABLY A TUMOR THAT’S TOO ADVANCED TO OPERATE ON AND I’M GOING TO DIE, or I’M PROBABLY HAVING A HEART ATTACK AND AM GOING TO BE DEAD BY TOMORROW MORNING, or THIS IS THE DAY I FIND OUT THAT WEIRD PATCH OF SKIN IS THE BEGINNING OF MY SLOW PAINFUL DEATH BY SCLERODERMA , you learn to stop and discuss with yourself the vast unlikeliness of any of those dire reasons for the little headache or the weird rough patch of skin.

I can’t afford to go to the emergency room unless I’m so obviously sick or bleeding out that the biggest medical skeptic in the world would be scared for my life too. In my big effort not to give in to hypochondria I am sometimes at greater risk of not going to the doctor when there’s a good reason to do it. Going to the doctor and being gently laughed at for what turn out to be nothings makes a hypochondriac feel like total and utter garbage.

I’m still having the small stabby pains in my chest this morning. I don’t really know what to make of it but since there are zero other signs of problem I’m still telling myself it’s just some kind of anxiety thing. I am simultaneously considering calling the doctor on Monday to see if I should be worried for real.*

The season of artificial cheer has already filled me with the desire to rip down all Christmas decorations I come across and blast Laibach’s “Let It Be” cover album in every place I hear horrible Christmas music.

Every time Philip tells the dog to be “Calm” and repeats it over and over I get increasingly less calm.

I sold 7 salves in the last couple of days thanks to being included in The Kitchn’s list of stocking stuffers.

15 Stocking Stuffers That Don’t Suck

I’ve sold out and am making a new batch. This reminds me how much I love making potions. Doing apothecary work is deeply satisfying. This fresh batch includes some of my home grown comfrey so that’s an extra level of excitement! Oh, and some of the plantain was wild harvested by me and Max. I’m finally going to make my lip balm this weekend too. The oil infusion has been ready for weeks but I couldn’t decide on a couple of other ingredients until now. I’m going to do a peppermint and a chocolate version.

In my wildest dreams I make an actual living selling my herbal remedies and my novels. This week the fantasy is pretty healthy. It frequently dies in my heart during bouts of uncertainty and depression caused by lack of sales or interest from others. But I always bounce back. Been bouncing back from crippling bouts of self doubt since 1980.

My mom goes into surgery again on Monday. They need to fix a hernia and also move her insides around to pull her abdominal muscles back together because they have separated. I’m not scared this time around. This is a much less risky surgery than the previous ones and it’s semi-elective. The hernia isn’t hurting her now nor causing any problems – but if she doesn’t get it taken care of, it’s a time bomb.

It’s been raining a lot in the last two weeks and I love it. I LOVE IT! I hope we get a lot more. I’m greedy for rain. GIVE ME ALL THE RAIN.

It’s time for me to sign off and prepare to get some writing done before switching gears to make potions. I hope you all are having a great Saturday!

Know someone with a bad case of book ennui? I have the solution! Get them a copy of Winter; Cricket and Grey:

Need a great wound salve on hand? Winters Apothecary 3x strength wound salve is the best one you can buy!

3x Wound Salve

*Do NOT attempt to diagnose me, or alarm me, or in any way interfere with the delicate balance I’m trying to achieve between my mental illness and my body.

Is It Enough That I Came Back?

P1010424

The boat had torches, and I lit the the soaked cloth with convenient flame and floated on water clogged with movie images I was living, but not living. I came back. I came back too late to catch the end of the short French film. Was it worth it? Was it everything to find the broken treasures on the stairs to nowhere only to have to come back to earth for floods and lunch meat? There were pathways to the water and secret stairwells from which I could see the world and its end unfold. We celebrated what was left of the minutes, the wet waves, the light filtering through the rustling leaves, until we almost walked across the miles together. There were invisible hands that held us aloft when the air sunk and the water rose too high, we rose with it and watched the other boats drift with flickering lanterns into a blurry imagined horizon.

You saw Paris ahead of us and I saw swamp sucking the light down into mud whorls. People mired on the banks, looking for beacons reminds me of tailored wool coats and whiskey. Of fragile winters and atomic bombs, banks littered with bones. I touch your cheek, just as I always do, to make you look at yourself through me, and you see the struggle as though it’s new. You see yourself through this hazel light bristling with the dark of the shredded edges of the world. The place everything stops, the boats drift nowhere, the cups are empty, the torches dim to useless moth-blind pools of memory.

Then there’s this peal of life that rings down on the silence so loud I mistake it for death, this sorrow of mine screams so loud and grabs me by the spleen until I’m bleeding out in my sleep. Just another night of bleeding out in my sleep.

I can’t care about sex when there is this breath leaning into me, this weight spreading through my muscle, this anvil cutting across my thoughts not unlike the swath of retribution, of punishment for things I was never ashamed of but think back on now with the pitchfork raised against the slightest hint of everything you revile. But it’s only for you. Without you I live innocent, I live blamelessly when there isn’t you to answer to. When you aren’t the horizon rising with the water to swallow every slight deviation of light.

I am the boat, I am the torch, I am the choked river.

A New Watershed

P1000513

In my dream last night I was in some situation where a bunch of people were staying in the same house and there wasn’t enough room for everyone and people had to share beds and it was stressing me out and I was trying to get people to stop telling others they could stay with us.  People had to double up in beds and use couches.

I left the building and walked down a path to some public park where there was a natural pool guarded all day.  I tried swimming in it but it was unsatisfyingly shallow.  My friend Tracy, however, disagreed.  I agreed to keep an eye on his basket with his sleeping child in it while he got changed in the abandoned-ish department store abutting the pool.  I continued to watch his child while he swam out of our sight.  I sat with her on the banks and was surprised when she woke and was not a baby at all but a small child.  I had to find out why Tracy was gone so long and told her to stay put (I’m a terrible babysitter apparently) and walked back toward the pond only to discover there was an uprising of park workers having a protest in the middle of the pond.  Most of them were older black men.  Around to the back of the pond’s guard building there were a few homeless guys who I backed away from very quietly.

I finally discovered that Tracy was changing back into clothes in the department building and his child, back in her basket, was outside his changing room.  I said he needed to hurry to catch the train.  I needed to catch it too and so we walked together.  We were walking (his girl was now walking with us) in a wildly industrial built-up urban environment with streets passing over streets and different trains and buses everywhere with little signage and we kept missing the right trains and continued walking the industrial roads and asking where to go to catch the next one.

Tracy and his daughter were gone and I was part of some complex of people and my mother was working in a deli that was actually only fronting as a deli and they took all their calls on vintage telephones and they always had tons of people waiting for food.  I needed to find food for Max and was walking towards the deli to see if they had anything, checking out other diners and delis on my way down the street.  I lost a little gold hoop in traffic, after picking up walnuts from the gutter, and watched three cars run over it.  I didn’t want to get entangled in my mom’s deli and the stuff that was going on there.  But I ended up there anyway and my mom kept trying to suggest everything on their menu to me and I was getting impatient and then someone found out I was there who shouldn’t have and so I had to do something about the phone they take orders on.  But I didn’t have time to do it right there.  I needed to rewire it without them knowing.

A couple of guys who were my allies took off with me on my mission and we agreed to keep an eye out for a restaurant with food I could get for Max.  I wired the vintage phone into a dress while Bill Hader, one of my allies, played with some pastel colored heaps of jello while supporting my efforts and discussing with our other friend what the hell we could get to eat that wouldn’t  be awful. I was trying to wire the phone into both side seams of the dress and one side seam was uneven and so I trimmed it but then realized that I didn’t have enough seam width to do the wiring.  Then I realized, with relief, that I only needed the phone to be rewired on one side.  Some part of my dream self also realized that the phone didn’t have to be wired into the dress at all, just to itself.

This morning: woke up with splitting headache, worried about the phone wiring job I was doing in my dream, and also, I lost 3 pounds in 5 days.

Turns out Bill Hader is just as sweet in my dreams as I imagine he is in real life.  At this point I think it would send me over the edge to discover he’s an asshole in real life.

I wonder if the whole cast of SNL will eventually end up visiting me in my dreams/nightmares?  I’ve already forgotten who visited me last but it was recently.  (Was beer holding my memory for me?)  I’d like to know why the fuck nearly every dream/nightmare I have involves either packing and moving debacles, tons of people staying in the same place in which there isn’t sufficient room, or a complicated mess of missing buses and trains.  I don’t think I’ve had a dream without one of those elements in them for years now.  EVERY.  FUCKING.  NIGHT.  And the highways between all my dreams continue to grow.  Dreams of the past forming connective tissue with the dreams of the present.  Old characters, new places.  New situations, old buildings.  Same dream segments easing into new chapters.  Remembering the old dreams in new ones.  I don’t care how ordinary that is to anyone else, it continues to fascinate and kind of twist my brain around.

So I haven’t had any alcohol in five days.  Today is day six.  Here’s something I’m sure of: going completely without is the right thing.  Not just because, obviously, I tried drinking less before and couldn’t do it.  Not just because, as I’ve admitted, it’s become a problem needing correcting.  It’s the right thing because I have much to learn from this sobriety.  I don’t like it, I find the evenings depressing and tedious without beer.  When I used to not drink a few days a week I didn’t feel this way because I had beer or wine to look forward to come Friday.  But I have this feeling that the austerity of cutting myself completely off is something my spirit needs.  Not because alcohol is bad.

(FUCK YOU. ALCOHOL IS NOT BAD, PEOPLE ABUSING IT IS BAD.  BEING SOBER DOESN’T MAKE YOU A BETTER OR MORE PURE PERSON.)

I have always believed that to be lost to hedonism is just as unhealthy as being ascetic.  Health, real health, is in the balance of things.  To have such severe self discipline that nothing passes your lips that your body doesn’t strictly need, that isn’t completely pure of toxins such as sugar or alcohol or unhealthy fats is to mistreat your body, mind, and spirit, as much as it is to overindulge in such things to a point where it makes up half of what you consume.

I know a number of people who are obsessed with their diet as a means of reaching extreme “health”, to live as long as possible, to be as fit as is humanly possible, to be PERFECT and thin and not age and I listen to them evangelizing their diet and their exercise like its a religion and their obsession with health strikes me as being as unbalanced as my love of alcohol and cheese.  I have witnessed the dark side of extreme “health” in people for most of my life* and believe me, you can have a liver as pure as a newborn baby’s and be stripping yourself of other vital things.  Sometimes it’s your brain and your spirit you are strangling.  Sometimes it’s the austerity of your diet that is secretly taxing your system in ways you can’t tell until complications arise.  That feeling of lightness and alertness?  Might just be your body reacting to an unnatural amount of meat or raw food or lack of variety or not enough balance or not enough bulk to support your physical and mental activities.

For some people the whole point of living is to live as long as possible and as healthily as possible, and anything that gets you closer to immortality becomes a drug.  I don’t care about living forever.  No amount of health will make any of us live forever.  If you spend your whole life in the pursuit of extra years of life you miss a whole lot of living.  It takes as much energy and time and commitment to turn your body into a temple as it does to turn it into a landfill.  Real health, mental/physical/spiritual, is a balance between hedonism and asceticism.

I have been dwelling in the territory of complete hedonism.  A huge unhealthy imbalance.  I have gone so far into that territory that it’s important to pull back with electric force.  I’m seeing that I was right in thinking that the only way back for me is to be completely sober for a period of time.  It’s like putting on the emergency breaks physically.  I’m not going completely in the extreme because I still have my coffee (albeit, only partially caffeinated) and I can still have sugar (not a real vice for me) and I haven’t cut myself off from cheese (major vice).  But the alcohol is my real joy, my real pleasure, my real indulgence and I don’t want to lose it forever because I love making liqueurs and I want to learn to ferment my own brews, and sharing such beverages has the same power as breaking bread to take down barriers between people, cross broken bridges, and warm bones in the thick of the killing winter.

I need to feel what it is to live without it so that my body has this memory to hang onto.  I need to feel what it’s like to be completely dry so that when I let alcohol back in my life I will hold this feeling up every time I start getting close to the line again.  I’ve been on the other side of the line for too long and my body has been lost for so long in pain, some part of me gave up on it so long ago that the feelings of health that used to keep my hedonistic pleasures within healthy limitations are too weak to guide me.

Today I’m remembering the time I felt healthiest and most balanced in my life.  This is what I need to focus on because it’s my goal.  I was 32 years old.  I had finally had my mental illness officially diagnosed and was taking medication for it which was a life changing relief, I was drinking moderately, I was going to the gym at the Y alternating with jogging and cycling myself and Max all over the place, I was finally shedding the pregnancy weight, and I was eating really well (moderate portions and great variety and hadn’t given up cheese or other pleasures – just ate them in smaller amounts).

By the end of the year I had actually gotten below my pre-pregnancy weight and was down to 164lbs and the best part was that by that time I’d long since stopped counting calories and I was just living in a comfortable routine that felt good.  People like me don’t live life (ever) without experiencing plenty of internal drama and ups and downs but, compared to my whole life before, I was doing so well.  I wasn’t smoking cigarettes anymore, medication for my mental illness allowed me to enjoy my time with Max a lot more, and I was enjoying exercise because it made me feel good.  I hadn’t weighed myself for a while when my neighbor Eddy commented on how great I was looking and I wondered what was different and that’s when I weighed myself and was so pleased to discover I’d exceeded my goal.

I felt so good.  Mind, body, spirit.  I was the happiest I’d ever felt in my life.  Life dramas never stop, no matter how healthy you are, and our life had plenty of that but when you feel good in your bones, when you feel good in your mind you can take the drama in stride much more gracefully.

The funny thing is that at 164 lbs I was almost 30lbs over the suggested ideal weight for my height (5’7″ = 135lbs).  Fuck that shit.  Yeah, so I was chubby-ish but I had a waist and I could wear the styles of clothes I love, and I FELT GOOD IN MY BODY.  I tossed the shoulds and recommendations  by the medical association and asked myself what was right for me.  What’s right for me isn’t to be really thin and fit enough to make an athlete proud.  What’s right for me is to live a life that includes indulgences and pleasures that I couldn’t have if I wanted to be that thin.  Anyway, I look too thin at 135lbs so doctors can shove their “ideal” numbers up their asses.  I have always emulated women whose bodies have substantial flesh on their bones while keeping a lovely shape.  Marlene Deitrich rather than Nicole Kidman.  Rosiland Russel rather than Maggie Q.

What makes life worth living for me is a balance wherein exercising and drinking beer are equal parts pleasure and health.  Where both contribute to my well being and my sense of a life being fully lived.  I don’t want to live forever, I just want to live richly and fully.

To return to that place I have to lose 110lbs.  That’s the full picture.  Last monday I had 113lbs to lose.  I haven’t been thinking about losing weight at all this week because I’ve been too focused on how much I dislike evenings now that they are so empty of beer.

I’m doing it.  I’m doing it because I miss that sense of joy I used to feel after a long walk or a jog around the abandoned weed filled high school track after having pushed myself to do one more lap.  I miss that happy anticipation of an evening with friends in which the wine and beer would flow freely and I could drink as much as I wanted without guilt because I knew I would go a few days without soon after.  I miss getting up in the morning and asking myself if I feel more like a French beatnik or a repressed secretary from the 1950’s and then dressing up accordingly.  I miss getting dressed and made up and then not thinking about my body or my appearance again for the whole day.

I’m doing it.  This time is different than all my previous efforts for the last several years.

Because this is my new watershed.

*My mother and many other adults in my life were doing juice fasts and smoothies and raw food long before any of my peers were and I saw what that can result in.

Larry King is an Apple Doll

IMG_0017

Penny got out last night and when I opened the front door to see if I could call her in I saw her on the sidewalk hanging out with her twin.  The neighbors have a cat with almost the same markings as Penny and it’s spooky and also pretty funny to see them hanging out.  Like, maybe neither of them believed in doppelgangers until that moment.

My father in law is doing much better and is staying at the hospital for observation and a little physical therapy but it seems he’s going to be fine.

I rode my bicycle to Imwalle Gardens yesterday in the heat.  I need the exercise and this summer has been the season of sitting around on my ass waiting for more more bad stuff to happen and wicked strong inertia.  So I rode.  That’s two days in a row of riding my bicycle.  Not long rides at all.  Never the less, when I returned home yesterday I was overheated and collapsed on my bed under the squeaky shaky fan that one day will drop from the ceiling and chop my face off or break my legs, and I fell asleep.

For an hour and a half.  Which really ate into my productivity.  I’m trying so hard to peel my inertia off my bones.  Napping doesn’t help.

Still no reprieve from my nightmares.

I need glasses pretty bad now for reading and, you know, focusing on things.  Somehow I still haven’t made the appointment.  Which is stupid because it’s not like I don’t want to get glasses, I actually look forward to having them so I can see better.

Larry King freaks me out.  I can’t stand listening to him.  He’s such a complete tedious BORE.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  But also his mouth is weird and he looks like a dried apple doll.  The kind that come to life when you’re sleeping and come at you with murderous weapons.  I never watch him – until yesterday.  I was lured into watching him so I could see Bill Hader in an interview.  Big mistake.  Hader is awesome but nothing and no one can make watching King less uncomfortable.  King likes to name-drop his famous friends which is lame.

Okay – I’m off to shower and then sew.

Have a great Thursday!

Itching to Get Back to Fiction

hospital pomegranates

Already it’s been days since my last post.  It’s obviously difficult for me to get back to my daily meditative thinking (AKA – sloppy brain spill).

I am pretty depressed right now.  My anxiety is under control because I upped my meds and it’s working but I need to up my depression meds too so I have to make an appointment to see my psychiatrist, which I’ll do, but which just sounds like so much work (definite sign of depression – total inertia)

I’ve been having some bad nightmares with some good bits in them.  cinematic tangled stories with interesting characters and predicaments.  But violent and unsettling and brain-sticky.  The thing that makes me not mind right now is that I’ve been waking up with the urge to dig myself back into fiction.  I haven’t really had the chance between my inertia and all the little things I have to do every day.  But that’s such a lousy cop-out because I know if I could drag my sorry ass out of bed at six in the morning I could get some writing in.  In the evenings I am most likely to get maudlin and writing in that state is generally valueless.  It may have worked for eighteenth century poets but all it does for me is make me unattractively melodramatic.

Last night’s nightmare was about one thing and then turned into preparing for dirty guerrilla warfare.  Getting hideouts ready and my job was to find as many kitchen knives as I could to give to everyone for defense and knowing that it would be dreadfully inadequate.  I’ve already forgotten most of the nightmare/dream.  What sticks is not describable.  It’s amorphous but wanting expression.  I hate that.

The biggest news on the home front is that my mom is now off of her wound-vac and off of her antibiotics!  She’s making fantastic progress and getting stronger every day.

School starts for Max in three weeks.  Poor kid.  Poor me.  The stress of dealing with him in PE will resume and that of too much homework as well.  Boooo!

Biggest news on the Max front is that he tried sushi and loved it!  His favorite things he tried were some kind of raw fish in a sauce and the cucumber salad but he also tried and liked a tuna roll.  So he ate rice for the first time since I tried to make him eat it as a baby.  He REFUSED, categorically, to ever put that shit in his mouth.  So – that’s kind of huge.  Plus he’s now a big fan of sourdough  bread with butter.  I count this as a little victory because in the past he’s not liked sourdough – it’s an indication that his tastes are broadening even though he still doesn’t like most produce.  Sigh.  I guess I’m going to have to learn to prepare sushi at home because I know I can’t afford for us to have a big sushi habit as a family.  (I hate sushi – but love tempura.)

It’s time to crawl through the meager job listings of jobs I would actually like to have.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I find something good soon or I will be forced to apply to Joanne’s Fabrics.

 

A Journey of Magical Discovery: Syphilis

Laundry day near Stockton

I spent half of Sunday reading about Syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases.  I learned what serous fluid is and that serum is specifically the serous fluid from blood but that another serous fluid is saliva and also the clear liquid that rises to the surface of cuts and abrasions on the skin and that looking at serous fluid in a microscope is essential in the diagnosis of syphilis, though not necessarily the only test you need to administer to make a definite diagnosis.  I learned that the real danger of many STD’s, whether they are curable or not, is that they are often asymptomatic so that people don’t get tested and spread it to many others but also that by the time they are detected they have often gotten to a stage of irreparable damage to the body.

I also saw a picture of a dark slide of syphilis and the bacteria is kind of cute, this thing that can ruin your life and make you go crazy and even distort the shape of your head all before it kills you.  It’s a cute little corkscrew shape – looking cheerful on its slide like a clever lush early in the evening who’s the life of the party.

My conclusion after reading 75 facts and statistics about STD’s is that none of us should ever have sex again.  This has the additional blessing of fixing the overpopulation problem at the same time.

If you would like to know how to diagnose syphilis too I invite you to read the paper I was reading:  The Laboratory Diagnosis of Syphilis *

Today I ate an obscene amount of cheese.  I feel sick about it.  I can’t even understand why I did that to myself.  From now on I will keep only Parmesan and feta in the house.  Perhaps an occasional ricotta will find its way into my fridge.  None of these are cheeses I can eat on their own as a snack.  I also met an old man working in the Italian deli downtown who revealed that he is a vegan and I was impressed and surprised.

In talking about my nightmares here and also on facebook I have come to accept that while I do wish I could sleep better more regularly I believe my dreams  are the more perfect expression of the world stripped down and lit with naked luminescence  than my waking life.  It is the link between my primal language and the language of the everyday human.  It is a bridge between sanity and insanity and provides me with a comprehension I couldn’t otherwise have of the minds of the more tortured members of my tribe (the mentally ill).  I don’t want to lose that.  My dreams keep me somewhat raw and connected to something wild in myself that I need access to.

That is all I have tonight.

*This will need to be put in a separate post for the research link posts I like to do for my books for reference so if you don’t feel like reading this riveting paper now, there will be future opportunities to be reminded of this illuminating document waiting for you.  I think Sunday is the most proper day to read it.

My Other Life Keeps Calling

 grainy antique calling device

I have thought of writing a book based on my nightmares called The Nightmare Club.  Either that or I could take each nightmare individually and spin them into separate novels.  I call my dreams my other life because they are so unrestful and draining that often I wake up more tired than I went to bed.  And then I am haunted by them all day long.

Here’s a tidbit from last night that I shared on facebook:

Dreams featuring old boyfriends are unsettling. Nightmares in which I have to cut kittens’ ears off are horrible and also unsettling. Dreams in which old boyfriends talk about previous dreams in which they were featured is even more unsettling. I did not sleep well. My brain feels more asleep now that I’m awake than it did all night.

When I cut the ears of the kittens off I didn’t cut enough off but it was so dreadful to have hurt them at all and I knew it was something I had to do but I felt worse because I couldn’t remember why and it was pointed out to me that I hadn’t cut enough off but I couldn’t bring myself to hurt them further.

I may have mentioned the really bizarre dream within and dream within a dream I had a couple weeks ago but just for fun I’m going to recount a little bit of it again:

In my dream I was  sleeping and dreaming that I was sleeping and that dream of my sleeping self was also dreaming and she had a dream in which she had to go to the bathroom and she worried that if she dreamed she had to go to the bathroom she might actually have to go and if she didn’t wake up soon enough she might go in her bed.  The dream self of my dream self’s dream self did, in fact, poop in her pyjamas and so my dream self’s dream self woke up out of the embarrassing nightmare hoping to find she hadn’t also pooped in bed but she had, in fact, done the same so my dream self woke up terrified to discover she had too and, as you can guess, she did wake up filthy in her bed. 

I, the only dreamer left unaccounted for, woke up out of my dream and happily found that I hadn’t pooped in my bed nor did my body need to relieve itself in any way.  My heart was pounding but I fell immediately back to sleep to find my dream self seeking out a shower to clean up in and had the chance to discover that I (she, whatever) was living in a trailer on a little rectangular piece of land and I started mentally planning out a raised bed garden to grow food in because I didn’t have a lot but I wondered what I could grow in such a shady space and just as I was figuring this out I was in danger and I don’t remember more than tiny snippets of the rest of my dream that night.

My dreams are so powerfully connected to my waking self that it always feels as though I’m living two lives.  Nights with no remembered dreams are bliss.  Not all of my dreams are nightmares, strictly speaking, but nearly all of my dreams are disturbing to me.  I rarely have what I would classify as a “good” dream and often these are ones in which I feel completely safe, usually because someone is protecting me from something, so the dream might have been a nightmare if I hadn’t felt protected.  Truly good dreams are even more rare.  Happy dreams.  I have two main happy dreams (that aren’t marred by violence or anxiety or anything creepy) where I find antique stores that have not been picked over yet and I find lots of treasures or dreams in which I find amazing hats and clothes that obviously fit me.  The other mostly happy dream is when I return to 361 Scenic Drive in Ashland Oregon, my childhood home, and find 25 years of mail collected in the mailbox.  However, this dream is often shadowed in other parts, but the mailbox full of mail always makes me so happy and I wake having enjoyed my dream even if other darker things happened in it.

I have the nightmares regardless of what’s going on in my life and I have been having them steadily and frequently at least since I was 10 years old.  One thing I DO know is that they do become worse and more frequent the more I am exposed to the news of the world.  I believe that I have had much too much exposure to news through friends on facebook than is good for me.  I have stopped reading news links that friends share unless I think they will be uplifting in some way.  This is something I must work harder on.  But there are many things posted that you don’t have to click on to see that are dreadful.  One that is haunting me now is a picture of two teen boys holding up a dead puppy they had obviously strangled.  This kind of shit is candy for an already unquiet mind.

I don’t want to give up face book because I have so many happy connections there with friends I can’t see in my everyday life.  I love the casual chatter of face book.  But I may need to limit the time I spend there a little more than I do now.  I feel I must do this to protect myself from too much incoming stimuli of a negative nature.  I already hear all the voices in the world as a low buzz in my head that I can’t shut out but facebook lets a lot of extra noise in that is not healthy for me.

While I would like my dreams to take a happier turn – I must confess that if I didn’t dream as often and as vividly as I do I would feel that part of me had died.  I have become so accustomed to having bad dreams that I’m scared to wish them away – it’s like when you get used to abuse to the point where you can’t imagine a life without it and wonder who you would be.

It worries me that I think not having so many nightmares would make me feel abandoned and emptier inside.

My second life keeps calling me and I keep picking up the phone.

One good thing about all my dreams is that I am never fat in them.  Never.

It occurs to me that my dreams are the only place I can completely be myself – I don’t have to pretend to be other than I am or protect anyone from my own thoughts and fears.  Everything has full expression in my dreams and I am always my core self in them.  In my dreams the bad shit I fear is real and so I’m never crazy for fearing them and everyone else is experiencing the same world with me.

Perhaps the best thing about them is that no matter what happens in them I wake up and find I haven’t killed myself or been dismembered by a serial killer or been raped or cheated on my husband or lost my child or cut the ears off kittens.  There is nothing quite like living through a tsunami to wake up and discover that your house is dry and too far inland to be wrecked by one.

You might even say that my bad dreams are my real world and my waking life is just a good dream I’m happy to experience again and rest in after all the horrors of my sleep.

You might say that, if you thought I was really crazy.

Nightmare Scraps: the victim from the show

There were apples.  An orchard.  Emptied out.  I was with someone and we were hoping for at least a few fruits.  Two dimensional people drifted through the the trees with baskets full, walking to the edge where the empty dirt extended forever.  We found only two trees with a few apples left.  It took cunning to grab any.  Hunger.  Urgency.

Was in a group home of some kind and saw a man with a familiar face.  My danger always knows me.  The man had been on a show about murderers and pedophiles and had been a victim of one of them and was interviewed on the show.  I said this to him.  That I’d seen him on the show.  Should not have said this.  He knew I should not have said this.  It showed the skin of truth blooming just under the surface.  I couldn’t quite get at it and so I was safe for a while though I knew my time would run out because it always does.  There were other girls but I have no real memory of what we were doing there together or how this man had come to be among us.  Things were going wrong.  There is a network of images I’m missing.  They have been coming back to me all day in bits but I can’t recall them now.  Rooms, white and crumbling, basements, television replays, things going wrong and me knowing that the man amongst us was not the victim of the killer but was the killer himself.  Smiling up at me through the screen into my flesh, knowing we knew each other the way a killer knows his next victim and the victim, without being willing to admit it, knows her killer when she sees him.

Scrambling to find him before he kills.  Wish I could pluck at the colors of the nightmare, pull the threads from the cloth to paint with.  There is only the image that keeps coming back to me all day long.  It keeps flashing through my head like memory.  Not the memory of a nightmare but of substance.

I opened the last ditch door, flung it wide and stopped short.  The girl at the bottom of the stairs looked up at me like a child holding forbidden cookies from the broken cookie jar scattered across the floor.  Caught in white light her pale face free from actual guilt for stealing souls.  I saw the dismembered man she held up, his legs and one arm missing.  The blood punctuating the flooding light with apostrophes trailing off into the corners.  Strangely not dead, the man looked at me too.  Pedophile and girl.  She explained that she had to stop him before he did it again.  His unrepentant grin rose to meet me.  I couldn’t not see it.  I wanted to unsee it.  I wanted to unsee his sawn off body.  I wanted to unsee the girl’s serene face.  I knew that the two of them were now locked together in their perfidy.  I wanted to be glad he was dispatched but the face of the girl, the apathy and the emptiness is haunting.  She is him.  He is her.