Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On Monsters and Mirrors

I was gonna write a long drawn out post about facing one's personal demons, but I decided to go a different way with it. This is a piece I started several years ago about a pivotal dream I once had. Figured maybe it was time to finish it.

On Monsters and Mirrors

It was a dream
The kind I used to have every night
It's dark… too dark
The kind of darkness that seeps into your clothing and won't wash out
The kind of darkness you inhale
The kind that suffocates its victims

I am in an old abandoned house
I'm climbing a crumbling, broken down wooden staircase
It creaks, it sways, it isn't safe
Like a drunkard staggering in hopeless confusion
It could gave way at any minute
Like a starving woman, weak with hunger, it teeters on the brink

I have to get to the top
I'm almost there - if I make it I’ll be safe
But then I see it, only a glimpse, a sinister flash of light
My heart leaps from my chest, it catches in the dryness of my parched throat
It beats faster, it swells with fear
It cuts off my breath with each pulsating, horrifying contraction

Sweat pours from the palms of my numb and shivering hands
They slip from the splintery rail
Don’t look! Just run! Turn around and run! Run Now!
But I cannot move
The strength has drained from my muscles, I am transfixed, paralyzed
Mired in a soup of invisible molasses

Slowly I raise my eyes
My fragile body shivers and trembles with fear
It is coming towards me - it's getting closer
It is enormous, it towers over me like an approaching storm
A hideous cyborg-like creature with malevolent red eyes
Its cold, metallic armor betraying not the slightest hint of mercy

The house shakes and quivers with fear
Dust rises from the floor boards as it stomps its hideous feet
Toward me, ever toward me - like a slow motion car crash
Like a tsunami approaching the shore
Incessant, ominous, inevitable
I pray for the stairs to collapse

But the rickety stairway holds its ground, it leaves me no escape
I shudder, I convulse, but my feet refuse to run
The monster raises it’s terrible hand
It reaches towards its chest – for a weapon I’m sure
Kill me! I beg. Please make it quick!
I clench my hands to my face, steeling myself against my impending death

But nothing comes
No death, no oblivion, no relief – only a terrible metallic silence
I peek through the slit of my cold and trebling fingers
The monster stands relentlessly over me, his hand at his chest
His merciless red eyes latch onto mine - forcing them open with some inhuman paralytic force
He's going to make me watch

He jabs his artificial hand deep into the cavity of his robot chest - ripping it open
Something is emerging from the gaping hole
It's breathing, it's pulsating... it's alive
I stare in horror, unable to flee, unable to close my eyes against the terror
The horrible creature steps out from the opening...
And it is me.

 The cyborg shell falls from my body, collapsing in a heap at my feet
A costume of fear and foreboding lies in crumpled pieces around me
I am standing before a mirror
Alone with myself

The monsters don’t visit my dreams anymore
But now I know where they live


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. It was actually one of the more powerful experiences life has ever handed me.

  2. Self realization can be terrifying, can't it?

    1. True indeed. But honestly, it was a heckuva lot less terrifying than the recurring nightmares I had every night for years and years before having this dream!

    2. So that wasn't symbolic of different experiences and feelings? You actually had that dream? I have a lot of anxiety dreams, but they are not quite that well put together. Usually, I'm late for something and keep having something that prevents me from leaving.

      I believe that dreams can express general feelings, but necessarily believe that every dream means something. Of course, I've never had a dream like you had. Mine are usually more like this--

    3. I left a word of out one of my sentences. It should read, but DON'T necessarily believe..."

    4. Yup, that was a real dream. Actually... I wasn't totally sure if the monster ripped his chest open or if it was a zipper, but I woke up smiling... which was a refreshing change, because I used to have terrible nightmares about monsters and bad guys - I've dreamed of being shot and stabbed and drowned and beaten and thrown over cliffs and hit by cars and every other horrible death you can imagine. But the nightmares stopped after this one.

      But nightmares aside, I've always had epic bizarre dreams - a fellow I used to work with was studying Jungian dream analysis, and he needed dreams to analyze, so he started this dream analysis group. I joined the group and was totally amazed by the simplistic dreams that other people reported. We'd all go around the circle and describe a dream we'd had that week and most people would be like - "I dreamed of an empty chair in a meadow."

      When my turn came around it was like "Well... I was sitting in an outdoor cafe with Robert Redford whispering sweet nothings in my ear, when suddenly a gang of monkeys on motorcycles came along and swept me up onto a Harley Davidson. We're screaming along a back road when all of a sudden a huge sink hole opens up, so the motorcycles stop and I get off and run into a giant warehouse. But there's a huge fire breathing dragon blocking the elevator, so I run up the stairs and realize that I'm at work, and everybody is just doing normal work things, and then somebody goes and pushes a big red button on the wall and the entire building starts to roll... I suddenly realize that the building is on roller coaster tracks. But fortunately there are ballet bars on all of the walls, so everybody grabs hold and people's bodies are stretched out parallel to the floor as we're flying along the tracks. And then it stops and everybody just goes about their business like nothing happened... and then there was something about dolphins and rising seas, but that part was sorta fuzzy."

      They'd all be looking at me with their jaws on the floor. I finally quit the group because I felt so sorry for the poor fellow!

      BTW, I love your poem about the dishes!

  3. AWESOME. You have Divine Perfect Timing with this post, you do. I just had a 'dark night of the soul'... which was, ahem, a journey into my own soul. Where I got to see all of the dark places that lie within me. Scary? Yup. But I am here. Now. And super grateful for the glimpse of all that is and ever will be. This is truly a brilliant post. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share this.

    1. I really believe that learning to face ourselves is our biggest challenge in life. And it stopped being so scary once I realized that the monsters were my own creations, my protectors against things I wasn't yet ready to let myself feel.

  4. My yoga teacher keeps saying that meditation is good for you (well, for your mind I guess) but that most people resists meditation because you have to face yourself... I'd always thought I was pretty straightforward and boring (no epic dreams like yours!) but this theme of facing yourself seems to be recurring at the moment...and weirdly perhaps I have some facing of self to do...all those annoying things I notice myself doing... So a thought provoking post for me :)

    1. Interesting. I haven't done much classic meditation - I do find it hard to keep my mind from wandering. But sometimes when I'm doing Shavasana (corpse pose) at the end of my yoga practice I experience what I call the "yoga breakdown." I'll just be laying there not really thinking anything and all of a sudden I'm just sobbing uncontrollably. I suppose that's a form of facing oneself, although I never really know why I'm crying.

    2. I suppose your mind (?) is relaxed and all those feelings come whooshing out...perhaps!

      Apparently your mind wanders because it doesn't want to be still as this will allow you to, err, look internally I guess, and do he confronting thing... So apparently the not wandering mind takes time to cultivate.

      I say 'apparently' because I've not really explored this myself!! I do find just sitting and breathing calming though, so I am going to make the effort.


  5. PS love how demonic demon cat is

    1. I forgot his Capital Letters!

      I often wake up with Hungry Cat looking at me, or Pillow Cat curled up round my head

    2. I wasn't admonishing you for the lack of capital letters, I was just repeating "Demon Cat!!!" with a sinister sound in my voice (which, I'm sure, you could hear loud and clear through your computer screen - ha ha.)

      Hungry Cat and Pillow Cat often wake me up too, but the WORST is waking up to "Barfing Cat" - especially when he's perched on the shelf above your head spewing all over the bed.

  6. Yuck! I had Barfing Cat wake me up in the middle of the night a few months ago- the barf is bad, but so is changing the bed in order to sleep again- and worrying about Barfing Cat.

    We used to have Obsessive Chlorine Cat, who would lick your hair when it was all chlorine-y from the swimming pool.....

    Obviously my computer did not translate the sinister voice well- perhaps I should turn the sound up...:p


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