juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I had a dream last night that I made a deal with a witch so that she would spare my family, the price for which was unrelenting pain in my lower back, like the witch's thumbs digging into the muscles at the base of my spine, a localized, piercing, unremitting pain. (Last night was also the onset of my period; cramping means the first 24 hours of my period is reliably my worst back pain of the month.)

1) This is beautiful imagery; it's not actually how my pain presents but my internal mythology still wants to internalize it as a metaphor for my back pain, to live alongside the black dog as a metaphor for my crazy. 2) But if that's the case, what bargain did I make and why have I not got shit from it? 3) I suppose this is the thing about chronic conditions: to assign them meaning seems to give them purpose or justification, but the valid truth is that they have none—and pointlessness is a big part of the experience. 4) Apparently Hexenschuss (literally: witch shot) is a German word for lower back pain.

I had a quiet Halloween: I took Odi for a walk while listening to Tanis, and on the way home we passed a lovingly-decorated yard, including a cluster of human-tall handmade carnivorous plants; someone was out finishing the decorations and I was able to compliment them on it. We only had four groups of trick or treaters, and Dee answered the door. One day I'd like to be energetic enough for Halloween as an event, I suppose, but I've grown content with Halloween as a season, September through the start of December, and then the long dead spread of winter after that.

My only regret, then, will be watching social media make an immediate left turn to Christmas Town. I think stretching out festivals of light (especially in modern times) deadens their effect, and would much rather embrace the dark seasons so that they have something to contrast. There's still so many haunted stories for this time of year! Sleepy Hollow's bare branches and leaf litter is best in November; there's so many books about the punishing, barren wilderness of winter (the second of Cherryh's Finisterre books is waiting on my shelf for then).
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
A week ago: While sitting up in bed, I threw out my upper back. How? with magic? a perverse force of will?? My trapezius on both sides were just gone, goodbye; everything hurt, but the worst offenders were sleep and the computer. I have a huge pain tolerance and endless experience with back pain, but it resisted every one of my treatments. (In retrospect, I should have iced it—the one thing I never do for my lower back, because it causes cramping.) What is it about a different pain that's somehow worse than chronic pain, not so much because it is worse or even more debilitating, but because these carefully honed coping mechanisms are now inapplicable. I've been dealing with my lower back for 15 years; I should either be exempt from other pain, or equipped to deal with anything. I was not. It went about 4 days without improvement, but is now back to normal anxious-person's-muscles level of ow.

A few days ago: Dee's mother's dog, Casey, died suddenly. Cut for brief discussion of pet death: Read more... ) This is not my immediate pain, but I still care immensely. All dogs are good dogs, but he was such a good dog, surfeit with love, content if he could just lean on you or lay against you and be touched. And so obedient, especially when I knew him and his puppyhood awful (of which I've heard horror stories!) was gone. And so engaged with his people. The loss hasn't quite registered for me, yet; but I've never been so glad that I had Thanksgiving with him and Odi. This was Casey: one, two, three, four.

Last night: Dreamed the mother of all anxiety dreams: I was back in school, living simultaneously-via-dream-logic at Devon's parents's house and in a boarding environment, and became convinced that the environment was so unhealthy and I was so stressed that I shouldn't have pets anymore, so I drowned August by luring her into a swiftly-flowing river with treats. Cut for suicidal ideation: Read more... ) I know what factors underlay all aspects of this dream; it was still singularly awful.

Tomorrow: Taking the train down to see Devon, to celebrate our 13th anniversary. (See: dreaming about his parents's house.) This is absolutely a good thing! It also bring with it "I have to leave the house" anxiety and "why do I have to travel to see him after thirteen years?" anxiety. It has been a long and strange week, an unearthly haze of blurred vision and intense pain and abstracted loss and anxiety. It will be good to make a clean break with it by traveling.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
This is in-Corvallis do-nothing low-stress time and I will be damned if I've not had constant nightmares every time I go to sleep: I've been in college, been on a cruise, attended a college on a cruise ship; people have died from exploding intestines yes it was as gross as it sounds, I hid from a werewolf-cum-madman attack, and my parents got divorced. It's not the vivid, winding, surreal dreams I have upon waking, but a constant parade of them all fucking night long and I remember them all.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm anxious.

Got a quote for Gillian's initial vet visit; Devon will cover it. Will make appointment soon. Corvallis Fall Festival is next weekend because timing is shit; my father invited me and I'm not even sure yet if I want to go, least of all what's feasible. I am a constant bundle of nerves, so frazzled that I cannot concentrate on a video game (but I can read for two straight hours; I don't even know). I just.

1) Getting August was this stretched out thing and this is so fast and it's scary; it's a big responsibility and it's just sitting there in front of me, being vast. 2) In getting August I convinced myself that you could adopt a cat normally; they didn't have to show up, bedraggled and hopeful, on your doorstep for it to be magical and meaningful—AND THEN THIS ONE DID, after I'd finally dismissed that ideal. 3) I hate money. 4) I hate it a lot, you don't even realize; any issue of money triggers my anxiety, but this is like a dozen in two weeks and I hate it goddamn. 5) Everyone makes all this sound easy. Unfortunately, we're not in a magical world wherein something that ought to happen easily does, and I feel like the only one seeing the difficulties and then I have the stress of not being understood on top of the stress of being stressed.

I want to run in circles and punch things and scream and then sleep for a few solid days without even a single dream.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
There was a brief heatwave here in the Pacific Northwest—we had a day each of 104, then 94, then 84 degrees. Last night I slept like shit (normal pain and nightmare* shit as opposed to "it's one in the morning why is it 90 degrees in the house" shit), woke at 3a. The room was deep and cold; I used my hotpad and watched Dark Shadows 214, the episode where Victoria encounters Barnabas in the Old House and he tells her about its building, its imported chandler and handpicked wallpaper and how so well built a house will last forever—and, as such, forever carry the memories of the evil that happened within. At its best, Dark Shadows is delightful: pulpy and compulsively watchable on account of its genre and episode length, but steeped in gothic, both its bombast and it's emotional resonance—and what's more gothic than a decrepit, beautiful, remarkable New England house? (Well one in England-England, I suppose.)

I guess what I'm saying is can it be autumn now please.

No—but the break in the weather is a blessing. At the dog park this afternoon it was overcast and then a cool breeze came through; so overcast I could go in short sleeves, so cool it raised goosebumps on my arms. We never thought, when we started taking Odi to the dog park, that we would get to know these dogs and sometimes their people so well. There's a cast of regulars that we see almost every time we go, and it forms a safe bubble of dogs we know and people we trust, so we don't have to watch Odi with such an eagle eye and we can give other dogs basic commands. Neither did I imagine that I would have the opportunity to know so many dogs so well—and there are fewer pleasures that compare to throwing a ball for a really enthusiastic dog, or having someone else's dog come up to you to say "love me and touch me all over and make me think you might let me go home with you."

But I'm writing this because I'm feeling a bit ... emotional, and emotionally conflicted, I suppose. I've had one eye on the Readercon controversy, which dredged up a few days of "everyone sucks and sexism is everywhere and fuck the world" about the time that Woof died so really, fuck the whole and entire world; and then in a single day Readercon resolved that controversy with aplomb and Britain won some awesome gold medals in the Olympics and Curiosity landed, and people weren't shit, they were beautiful and they did good and awesome things. But this afternoon and evening I was thinking back over my experiences in therapy (for reasons), which I didn't notice until a few hours in was hugely triggering because wow, who'da thunk that thinking about the time I was ill enough to be in therapy could possibly be upsetting. Meanwhile it was hot and I was miserable, and then Dee and I spent a day in St. Johns to avoid much of the heat and we did Starbucks and book browsing and dinner and it was fantastic, and then the heat broke and the natural world was both tolerable and occasionally beautiful. It's all a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, a small and creaky one and not the high-tech wonder of the themepark, but still enough to make me nauseous.

I know that I will never be completely mentally well, and yet I always feel a little surprised when a bit of mental ick slaps me upside the head. This isn't even a major brainmeats malfunction—I'm pretty much coming out of my major depressive episode, fingers crossed and knock on wood. It's just ... me: sensitive and melancholy, and therefore too emotional receptive or at least thirsty for the opposite, and strangely confused by the whole thing. It's been years and years of this, dear me; it's been pretty much all of a lifetime: these feelings shouldn't come as a surprise. But they do.

At this point, for what it's worth, I'm doing okay with Woof's death. I took a few days off of going to the dog park because the thought was too painful, but on the whole this is a low-impact death, which is to say that it's not sudden and it was clearly her time. I'm moving on; now, the dogs at the dog park are a joy. We'll see if I feel the same whenever I make it back to Corvallis, but. Yeah. Today I threw balls for a Miniature Pincher and snuggled Alfie, this little Chihuahua (uh ... mix? I'm unsure) who isn't trying to be a big dog, he is a big dog in a little body. Love is always a dog.

* Conscripted into an largescale assassination squad—by which I mean: tactical nuclear devices. The real irony is that murdering hundreds and thousands of people, and the mental stress of being put in a situation where I was expected to do so, made for a distinctly unpleasant but not unbearable dream, whereas going back to school is pretty much my nightmare of nightmares.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
A dream about going back to college and going on what was pretty much another endless cruise, together in a single night? Fuck you too, brain. Yes, insurance anxiety, I know. And the cruise was more like a hotel—a hotel that checked you back in for another week whenever you went to check out, which isn't really an improvement even if I did get to take my cat along. (She spent the whole time begging for food, not unlike real life. Unfortunately the hotel only provided dog food—but she ate that happily, of course.) They weren't all-out nightmares, at this point they're too trite for that, but I could still do without and thank you kindly.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengance + Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror" + sleep apparently = dreams of seemingly endless violence wherein each figure would be corrupted by some ageless unnamable force, and then be murdered by someone motivated by the corrupt death of a predecessor, soon to be corrupted and murdered themselves as next in the long chain. The visuals were very .flow, orange-red flesh and purplish tentacles, viscera pouring out of pale skin, so consider that an inspiration too. It's hard for me to describe a dream like this because it's by nature boring in concept, a long parade of deathly death death; it's not really upsetting for all that, too used am I to violence in my dreams. But there is a lot of violence in my dreams and this was all of it, over the top and with every special effect, continuing on until even the writhing tentacles seemed trite, inexorable and almost too extreme to shock—but not quite. Awesome. Dear brain: I know this lack of and/or shitty sleep thing is mostly California-related nerves, and as such I forgive you, but you can stop it any time now. I don't think Express will turn out to be a tentacle monster. Thanks.

(It's sort of hilarious how many of my dream posts contain Dear Brain letters. Dear Brain: A bit slow on the uptake, aren't we?)
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
A dream about being too traumatized to be able to listen to the story of my sister's secretly kept pet guinea pig which had died, escaping into a virtual reality video game which largely featured me being attacked and eaten by zombie/vampire/nom-nom-humans monster things, and then giving a speech about the saving graces (read: you'll never have to think about real life again!) of MMOs. So what the fuck, brain; also: fuck you. I know where all of this comes from, and it comes from things like a conversation about guinea pig cage requirements and minor stresses like back pain and paperwork and generally being my miserable self, which is to say that yesterday was pretty much a calm distracting relaxing day and I still end up with this overnight, so see again: fuck you. I think I'll read for a bit before I go back to sleep.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I wrote this just after 5a, but LJ was down.

I just woke onto—well, because of—the most intense thunderstorm I've ever experienced. I'd been dreaming about touring a Wonderland (of the Alice variety) exhibit, and criticizing it and comparing it to other Wonderland interpretations and the source material; in my dream I was a semi-famous figure, known largely for eccentric behavior in the de Lint/Helena Bonham Carter/magical bohemian pixie girl sort—at the time I was being photographed as I walked through heavy rains with a broomstick skirt hiked to my knees and no socks or shoes to protect me, but I'd become legendary for a habit of running ... okay, so, running pantless through the freezing winter nights, and I promise that sounded much more magical at the time than it does now. I was ignoring the photographers, and telling my companion that it was almost a pity that I'd grown inured to cold, after all that running—but the rain was quite nice.

And then I woke to a deafening crash. I imagine this will be hard to explain—if I'd heard it explained before experiencing it, I doubt any explanation would have meant much to me. There were about four cracks of lighting, with another I missed; the first I saw lit my entire room through half-open shades, and the first I saw directly burned an afterimage in my eyes that's just now faded. There was heavy rain, lasting no longer than the rest of the storm, that forced me to close one window to a slit. But it was the sound, the back of the teeth, thick in the head sound of the thunder which was most impressive. It was like thinking thunder, like being filled with it—it was gigantic and pervasive and consumed you from ears to bones. As far as I know, the storm lasted those half dozen strikes and then passed into a minute or two of light rain, and then was gone.

Yesterday I woke suddenly—and completely terrified—after dreaming of a riverbed. I was more or less in a video game, and when I found my way blocked I began exploring the edges of the "level" for an alternate route ... and just out of curiosity. I ran into all the forced limits to exploration, the artificial ends of the world in video games: impassable jungle, uncrossable water, hills too steep to climb. The vegetation was jungle green, the ground was iron red, it was a subtly alien environment, almost prehistoric, overgrown, overlarge. I came to an edge with a waterfall, but the waterfall was glitched, or improperly rendered: rather than a stream of falling water, it was solid and still—a chunk of standing water just out of my reach. A fish swam from the vertical water and into the open air, went past me, and disappeared into the stream near my feet. Right before moving it had made eye contact with me. It was threatening. I felt threatened by the whole game, at that point. A redgreen vine reached out from the jungle wall and began to twine around me, around my neck. And then back in the real world, some thing—which was probably my ponytail, moving as I turned over—brushed the back of my neck and I did the classic, cliché sudden wake up with everything but a scream: pulse racing, wide-eyed, shaking, the works. That too was pretty remarkable.

There's some light rain, now. My wrist is bothering me and LiveJournal is down anyway; I should try to go back to bed. But ah, these nights. I have a long and tortured history with dreams, and in the past would have hated this sort of thing. But these have been fascinating.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I felt the turnaround in this cold at around 5a last night. Sleep is the hardest thing for me when I'm sick: I'm never a strong sleeper, lying down aggravates my congestion, elevated sleeping positions aggravate my back pain, and the less sleep I get the longer my illness lingers. Last night I had crazyick dreams, which I guess is no surprise. I went back to college again, rooming in a triple that was located above a library and lecture hall—which sounds really quite lovely, but for some reason you could only get to the dorms by climbing a long, steep staircase through the very middle of the lecture hall, and then going through a tunnel that opened into the low-ceiling third floor dorm. I woke up for a bit, threw an internal tantrum that I'd had another college dream and really couldn't my subconscious at least try to be original, and then forced myself back to sleep. My dream resumed; I was going to my first day of class, but while everyone introduced themselves to the professor I used my turn to throw a bitchfit about how none of this mattered because I was planning to drop out again ASAP, because this was just another one of the stupid, redundant stress dreams that I get whenever something's wrong.

Then the professor stole Devon's car and drove it into a wall and laughed at us, because now we had no way to leave and I would be forced to continue school.

I don't even know, man. My dreams are always like this: as stressful as they are intricate as they are fucking weird.

I woke up after the second bout with the dream and could breathe again. I'm hardly all better, but I'm miles beyond the extreme congestion, irritated sinuses, and lingering cough of yesterday. My lymph nodes are barely even sore—likewise my eyes and the bridge of my nose. I'm still sniffly, but I can breathe. It was a distinct and blessed turnaround, and while I shouldn't jinx it by pushing myself to hard—I foresee a movie and a nap in my future—I am nonetheless having a small, non-exhausting celebration. I'm still sick, but at least I'm recovering now.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
New winner for worst dream ever: A passive-aggressive fight with boy's brother, followed by an all-out screaming match with boy's family about how I was a waste of space and a leech and didn't deserve to live here, and then I went back to school. It's like a fucking checklist of my big fears, realized in one convenient package!

The thing was, it wasn't that traumatizing. Perhaps it's because it wasn't my last dream (which I don't even remember now), and so it wasn't the heart-pounding start to a new day. Perhaps because it was so fucking over the top, I'd say, except that I have dreams where all I go on endless looping cruises for the rest of my life—it can be ridiculous and in the dream I know it's ridiculous, but it's still an effective nightmare.

Again: Post about great life changes, follow it up with something bad. I spent Monday and Tuesday after the Portland trip as a barely functional human being, a grumpy tired lump; now I'm having horrid dreams. Bless you all for putting up with both extremes, and for writing wonderful comments that I never reply to because by the time I receive them, I've reached the other side and no longer have anything to say about where I was.

[livejournal.com profile] cerulean_chains wrote:

It's actually perfectly natural for one to breakdown while on the verge of breakthrough. The mind resists change, and when it senses massive heaps of it on the horizon, it tends to attempt to sabotage and keep one "the same" and "safe." Although unpleasant, such temporary backsliding can in fact herald the true realization of change, because it means that the threshold is close enough for our old habits to feel threatened.


and while I never replied to that either I think she's right, of course. I am not good at happy. I am better at it now that I used to be, but it is not one of my natural aptitudes; my brain looks at happy and goes "awesome!" and then follows it with "christ fuck get it away what is this thing we're all doing to diiiiiie." Even if I get passed that contradictory reaction, going out and being social will always for me be wonderful and wholly exhausting—that's what introversion is, that's what anxiety piles on.

So this is totally natural. It's a pain in my ass and I won't pretend to be happy about it, but it's natural. I'll spend a few days slumped over and miserable, and then I'll go back to keeping my whiny little brain a little bit scared.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Cruises are indeed the new anxiety dream. I don't really have words for this—I could string together some profanity, but that comes across as more energetic and humorous than I feel following the worse nightmare that I've had in a long time.

Dear Brain: Yesterday I worked on getting unsick, and we watched some really entertaining DBZ episodes and played a lot of Fragile Dreams. We had a good day. Everything was calm, the media was engaging, we spent time with Devon when he got home and that was good too. What exactly are you trying to work out via imaginary screaming fights with wait staff about whether or not I'll be able to get a goddamned vegetarian dish for dinner the next night? via imaginary screaming fights with relatives about whether or not I even have the right to ask? I know you're never really happy, and that I've been more exhausted than usual while sick and that can't be good for you either, but ... still. Yesterday was a good day. I don't understand why you did this. I really don't appreciate it.

I'm going to watch DBZ and play Fragile Dreams, now. (I'm nattering a bit about Fragile Dreams over on my gaming Tumblr, in case you were curious. It's awesome.) I'll read a bit. Actually I think I'll shower first, wash this mess away. I'm going out to Starbucks tonight for some out of the house time. Nightmares don't really get to me in the way they used to, I'm too familiar with them now—which, come to think, may have more to do with my improved acceptance of dreams than anything else. I can move past this one. But it was still a fucking miserable way to wake up.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Well, denial only works for so long because I am most certainly sick. It's pretty mild, insofar as I'm cognizant and actually have a the drive to get out and do things, if only to distract myself from the annoyance of my symptoms, but my constant throat tickle has morphed into congestion from stuffy nose to sore throat, my hearing and taste are a little dull and I'm a bit achy especially in my joints (which is almost redundant atop my back pain—seriously, body, where has your originality gone?). It's annoying, and it makes me alternately desperate for distraction and allover grumpypants, but it's not really all that bad.

Mostly I'm bitter. I feel like I'm being punished for going on the damn cruise. Rational? Well, yes, that's probably where I picked up this bug. An unrealistic personification of the random whims of nature? That too. But damn if it don't make me bitter. I was good! I traveled and attended and saw people and did things, and I made sure never to touch anything in public bathrooms with my bare hands, and now I'm being struck down by the annoying cold of doom.

Sleeping is the worst time, because it gives everything a chance to settle and go from stuffy to helpIcan'tbreathe. If that weren't bad enough itself (because I'd love nothing more than to sleep all day and hurry this cold away), last night I dreamt of returning to college and the night before I dreamt of a neverending cruise. The first is my standard anxiety dream: some people end up naked in public places; I've gone back to college a hundred times. This time, I went to a school where the dorms looked like hotels and I had failed to sign up for classes—intentionally so, because classes are half the part of college that my brain is convinced that I Cannot Do. After my first day of wandering around without a schedule, fellow students took me out to lunch in this mega city where you had to wait in line for half an hour before even coming into sight of the fast food restaurants.

The endless cruise was more or less a normal cruise, except that each time we flew home something would go wrong. One time we were at luggage claim and our bags were missing, so we turned around and climbed right back on a plane to fly back for another cruise so we could find our luggage somewhere on the journey. One time we had made the entire drive home before remembering that we had to turn around and do the whole thing all over again. It was all of it, no annoyance skipped, the car ride and security and plane ride and week-long cruise and return trip and then the whole thing over again and again until I woke up.

If cruising becomes the new anxiety dream, I will not be pleased.

So yes. I am sick and bitter and grumpy about it, even if I shouldn't be surprised. Now I'm going to go read while I wait for Devon to wake up and play distracting video games and maybe feed me alphabet soup.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Two nights of sleep made up of horrible, violent, terrifying nightmares, and I slept just fine. I was chased and abused and stalked and humiliated and ignored but for whatever reason—Devon posits that I knew I was dreaming, and that's possible; somehow I felt enough distance, enough remove, that even though the dream was happening to me, even thought I was objectively horrified, I could just shrug it off. I slept long and hard, and woke well-rested.

Last night began without dreams but I was up, uncomfortable, restless, and depressed, every hour or three. Eventually I just got up and watched a movie; when I went back to bed I had a dream about going back to school which was so stressful that my heart was pounding when Dev woke me up when he got up. He was able to calm me down a bit, but when I got to sleep again I had another stressful dream about going to a three-day political rally that mirrored a speech and debate event or a con—until I finally stopped attending events, went back to my dorm, and ended up adopting the animals that I found there—a kitten, an adolescent cat, a ferret, a small rodent, and two guinea pigs. Dink was one of them, although his fur was spotted black and white (but I knew it was him) and I woke up miserable and missing him.

Things with the other pigs just haven't been the same since Dink died.

I just don't get it, really—what circumstances and content it is that makes dreams into nightmares for me. Or perhaps I do. I think all of the bad stuff used to get to me, but I've grown inured to some of it by now. Desensitized by repetition. Being stalked and humiliated by an abusive ex-boyfriend? No big deal! It doesn't target my own personal fears and memories and experiences. Objectively, I know it's awful; personally, I have some distance. But man, send me back to school and I turn into a shaking mass of anxiety, because in dreams and out of dreams that is my nightmare. I toss around the idea of finishing my degree one credit at a time at a public school, because the one class I took at PSU actually did me a world of good, it got me out and working but it wasn't stressful—either by being a difficult course, or by immersing me in the college atmosphere—and so, all good things forfend, I was actually able to complete the damn thing. Doing more of that tempts me, under similar circumstances. But college—the people, the culture, the schedules, getting myself on campus, being on campus, doing homework, receiving assignments, trying to complete assignments that require me to work with others and/or come on campus even more, every bit of it adds up, it even seems to multiply, exponential growth that builds a stress greater than I can completely imagine or hope to bear.

And I dream of it, I fear it, all the damn time. I wish that I'd discovered Reed earlier, before Whitman crushed me, I wish I had completed my degree, but I wouldn't be a fulltime student again for my life. I can't.

I have more to say about why I'm thinking about college again, about the death of a Rutgers freshman and how much of all of this anxiety comes from Whitman, not just started there but was born and bred there. But I'm only just starting to realize that I'm not looking objectively at that suicide. I'm taking too personal an angle on it—this happens, I hate it, it's useless. High school for me wasn't fun but it was no big deal, socially, and I still don't understand what made it into living hell for so many people; but college, the social abandonment and ostracization in a society so isolated that when pushed out of it you had nowhere to be, and mine was only a case of that, of rejection rather than ridicule, and I can't even imagine how much worse the latter would be. But I know it happens. I want to warn people that it doesn't get better, like some magical turning point—that depending on person and circumstance it may get quickly, remarkably worse. And what do you do that when they promise you that the day after you leave high school it will all magically improve—and then you get to college and they humiliate you?

And I think those are fair concerns—and then at the same time I know I'm being so negative and hopeless that instead of encouraging a little good I'm denying even that effort. Well done, me. I don't want to think it's hopeless, that there is nothing that can be said or done to make things "get better." Awareness and dialog helps, but wearing purple ain't gonna do a goddamn thing and that breaks my heart because I understand the impulse, I do. But we're looking at a beast that a purple t-shirt can't change: a combination of the social acceptance of bullying and the prevalence of anti-queer sentiment. Just one of those by itself is a monster; together they do horrible things to kids and to promising college students but I can barely even see it, barely even fully understand it, and the size of the problem scares me.

Into nightmares, and inaction.

I do this. I hate it. I hear about someone's rape and it leaves me incapacitated by my fear of rape culture, I hear about a suicide and and it gets me stuck on my own memories and fears of the hell that can be college, and that's selfish and it does no goddamned good. It arises from sympathy and love, it is how I try to understand how I feel about others, but it all comes back to me. How self-indulgent, how privileged, that I can complain about how these big things make me feel so small and curl up into my little ball and hide. I understand the want to wear purple because I can do that, I can wash a purple shirt and put it on, that's easily within my abilities, it's concrete and it's safe. It's also largely useless, and because it is so easy and so satisfying it's all we do do: we make ourselves feel better with a t-shirt, and then go on to ignore that huge and terrifying problem that it's supposed to represent. Awareness matters. Talking about, sharing, realizing, attempting to publicize the existence of these events matters. Symbols for them can matter, too. But that's not all it takes—it just feels like all that we know how to do.

I actually haven't been that depressed, lately. I've been okay. But I interpret this all too personally. I always do. I feel hopeless and I panic and make myself sick with nightmares. It shouldn't be about me. I'm not sure, though, how to wrap my head around the rest.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Despite its first and last sentence (well, not counting this one), there is nothing mature, inappropriate, or sex-related about this post.

Apparently, if I watch gay porn about skinny emo boys directly before bed, I can have dreams about Lost Souls: The RPG, where I play as a rich white girl who runs away from home after the death of her mother and comes to join a band of young vagrants who roam about in a huge van (big enough to have clothes washers! but no dryers). Eyeliner, black nail polish, and gothic bohemian styles abound; everyone is a little effete but also sly and street-smart—except for the protagonist, who is still learning to make the transition from spoiled rich kid to canny lost soul. The close-knit group breaks down social norms, bunking in one another's beds and cuddling together; they also come together as a self-sufficient clan, everyone chipping in to afford provisions and some possessing a bit of magic that helps keep the van running and the chores done. The story arc is a rambling cross-country journey and the plot is an investigation into and unveiling of the protagonist's past—and all of her family's closeted skeletons. Orwell makes a cameo appearance.

In other words: Best dream ever.

The dream was made that much better by the fact that, on my first night away from home, the night when I ran into the little vagabond clan, I had to decide whether or not I was a vegetarian. I was ordering from an overpriced menu, trying to find something cheap but filling to sustain me as I started my long journey. There were promising meat dishes, spawning an inner debate between "but I'm a vegetarian!" and "but it's just a dream!"

Dreams where I know they're such please me. I've always taken issue with dreams because I dislike the loss of control—the idea that my brain takes strange, random, often violent and upsetting journeys on a nightly basis without so much as a by-your-leave makes me feel powerless. Over the years, I've gained some tolerance for the loss of control—and, even better, I've gained some ability to lucid dream. I rarely have all-out lucid dreams where I'm entirely in control, but I'm often aware of the fact that I'm dreaming and, whether or not that allows me to make decisions within the dream, the knowledge that it's just a dream gives me a bit of distance and safety, even as the dream occurs.

With few exceptions, this wasn't one of my frightening, awful dreams—in fact the premise was wonderful, to a person of my particular tastes. Knowing that it was a dream ironically gave me more freedom to let go and just enjoy it. My dreams are often crazy-weird but they're rarely crazy-awesome. This one made me want to keep on sleeping. Perhaps the lesson here is: more skinny gay boys directly before bed.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I just had a dream about introducing Charles Hoy Fort to my friend, the alien. Best dream ever? I think so.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I have violent dreams with such regularity and detail that I'm beginning to wonder—why?

Last night's violent dream. )

I have nightmares more often than any other sort of dream, but "nightmare" for me varies, and is often as simple as a repeated image or action of event. The repetitions are so small and so frequent that I become trapped in them. It happens in my waking thoughts often too, and makes for a unique sort of sleepless disquiet. I have more traditional nightmares too, but historically only rarely and not so violently. And then here these are, a rash of violent detailed dreams (I had another the other night where I died at the end, and they come a couple times a week in this sort of detail). I don't know why. I haven't been particularly stressed, or angry. I do have low impulse control, for violent acts as well, but I've still never really hurt anyone nor wanted to. I no longer have frequent desires to hurt myself. And yet, these dreams.

I've never subscribed to a belief that dreams hold portents or even that they are deep and useful delves into the subconscious. Generally, they come from something in daily life, a collection of images or memories that the brain dredges up in order to think over some more, or out of habit, or by chance. Normally my dreams fit into those realms quite nicely. These, however, do not. They are remarkable, inexplicable, and frequent. And while they don't quite worry me yet (every now and then I wake up upset as a result, but mostly I don't let them bother me), they do make me wonder why they keep occurring.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
On and off, I have dreams about the guinea pigs multiplying. Actually, I have all sorts of guinea pig dreams quite often, but multiplication is a pretty common theme. In the one I can most vividly remember, the guinea pigs got loose and I had to chase after them—there were about five, not just my set of three. When I grabbed some of them, they would slip right out of my grip like those toys from the 90s did, slipping faster, even squirting away, when you panicked and tried to hold them firmer. But when I grabbed Kuzco (I think it was Kuz ... might have been Alfie) he shrunk when I squeezed him, shrunk and shrunk down to nothing—and then from the gaps between my fingers, a bunch of tiny little miniature guinea pigs slipped out and started running around, no bigger than the size of my thumb. I kept trying to catch the pigs, and they kept escaping and multiplying. There was no forward movement or story—just a lot of scurrying, grabbing, and ever more and more pigs.

Keeping that in mind:

Today I was cleaning the pig cage. First, I moved Kuzco to the small temporary/travel cage, then I emptied his half, then I gave it a temporary liner and moved Dink and Alfie over to that side. I do this every time I clean. So with everyone set up, I was halfway through cleaning D&A's larger half of the cage, shaking off poos and hay, making piles of towels ready for the wash and towels that needed to get a good shaking outside, and all of the sudden a guinea pig comes wandering around the pigloo to stand right in front of me.

I swear to god I thought I had gone crazy for a second, and that the pigs were multiplying, because one was in the travel cage and two were on the other side of a metal divider, and yet there was a piggy, standing right in front of me.

It turned out that in tugging out the towels, I had twisted the divider and opened up a small gab between divider and cage side—a gap for my too-curious Dinkster to squeeze through. He looked at me like I was crazy when I jumped away as if for once he had scared me. So there was a otally normal, boring explanation. But that half second of staring at a magically appearing unexpected pig on the wrong half of the cage was one of the most surreal moments of my life.

That is all.

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juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
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