I’ve been spaced out all day, possibly because I went to therapy yesterday and then had nightmares all night. I kept dreaming I was being forced to relive hellacious scenarios: accidents, disfigurement, wreckage, and so forth; because I couldn’t come to terms with what had happened and felt the need to keep experiencing it until I could get it right somehow. And so I kept traveling back to moments in my past to redo them. But nothing ever came out right. There was more death and destruction, only now I knew it was going to happen before it did, and I’d have to watch it happen with no hope of changing the course of it. Again and again and again and again.
Thankfully, I managed to wake up at 3:49 AM, and I went to the drugstore and bought some junk food. Then, after eating all of it, I fell back to sleep and had more nightmares. This time, I dreamed that my face was horrifically scarred and disfigured by fire, and no one wanted to have anything to do with me, and I shared their sentiment every time I looked in the mirror. I brought agony to everyone’s life when they saw what I looked like.
There was an old-fashioned feeling to the dreams. They took place in Little House in the Prairie world (the TV show, not the book), and Avonlea world (also the TV show). In each TV show, there was a girl whose face was burnt off, and the other characters were forced to accept her somehow, even though looking at her was horrific.
And then the industrial revolution happened, destroying the peaceful worlds of Walnut Grove and Avonlea altogether, bringing in war, commerce, factories, and big-city living. Goodbye, old-fashioned living.
Then I woke up at around 10:21 AM and felt overwhelmed. I have a dreamer’s dictionary written by the cult I was involved with once.
Scar: A scar is the result of an incomplete healing of a wound. It is incomplete because the wounded tissue has not returned to its original, healthy state, rather a mark remains as a result of the damage. Not all wounds result in a scar. In the language of mind, wounds are the result of destructive thinking or misunderstandings that require change and learning in order to produce wholeness. When the thinker attempts to move forward yet remains attached to the misunderstanding which caused pain, complete healing will not take place; thus, a “scar” remains.
Face: The face in a dream indicates how the dreamer sees him- or herself. Distinctly different from clothing, the face is the part of the body which reflects who the dreamer is.
Factory: A factory indicates a specific state of mind held by the dreamer. It is characterized by its ability to be brought into existence. The mind of the thinker is designed for creation and re-creation; the conscious mind creates what is desired in imaged form which the subconscious mind then recreates for manifestation in the physical life.
So, as esoteric as that all is, I think it’s saying I see myself as being damaged goods, and I’m trying to get away from that old way of thinking and into the newer model of thinking that will keep me from feeling that way about myself. And I’m trying to literally reprogram my mind toward not seeing myself as damaged and horrific.
But in my dreams, I try so hard to fix everything. It never works.
In other, related news, I’ve been reading my book about false memories. So far, it seems very encouraging with the possibilities that my one bad memory in question could be false. The author’s been talking about perceptual differences, like those pictures that some people swear are certain colors, but other people swear are different colors. I looked it up (#thedress) after she referenced it, and I was amazed that I’m wrong about the colors!
Or how, when you draw a cube, it’s impossible to see it as random lines in 2-D.
She makes a good point. Our associations and mental patterns make it impossible to not see that as a 3-D drawing.
She’s talked a lot about how memory is suggestible, and that we create “memories” when we’re told of an event that we don’t actually remember. Like, “Remember when you were four years old, and we went to your aunt’s wedding?” And an image might be formed that wouldn’t be there otherwise. In one study, kids who were shown images of shaking Bugs Bunny’s hand at Disney World had the same rate of coming to believe it happened than when they were shown images of shaking Mickey Mouse’s hand. (Bugs Bunny isn’t a Disney character, so it’s an impossible memory.) They weren’t shown images of themselves shaking hands. It wasn’t that doctored. They were just shown images of people shaking hands with them, as if it’s a normal part of the visit to Disney World (which it is, not counting the fact that Bugs Bunny isn’t Disney).
Then she lapsed into a discussion of how people can, if they access their metamemories, recognize when a memory is impossible.
There have always been errors in my memory. I recall being terrified of gremlins at the age of five. I’d hallucinate them. When I was five and my brother was three, we went into the attic of our Old Louisville mansion. We saw a huge green bag, and it opened, and a gremlin claw raised from inside. We shrieked and ran downstairs.
In Kindergarten, I wanted a Gizmo more than anything. (Gizmo’s the nice, non-evil mogwai from the movie Gremlins.) A friend told me to wait by the schoolbuilding, and she’d bring me one. Well, she didn’t deliver, and I waited for a long time.
When I was six, I heard gremlin pods hatching under my brother’s bed. (His room was across the hall.) Then I went into the living room, lights off, and saw a huge eyeball hovering on the floor, coming toward me. I ran back to my room.
Here’s what doesn’t make sense. Gremlins was released in America in June of 1984, courtesy of Wikipedia. I was seven years old. We only lived in the Old Louisville mansion until October of 1984, so those memories are plausible, but how could I have remembered Kindergarten, and remembered being five and then six, respectively?
What we have here is evidence that my memory is subject to impossibilities, and that I’m freakishly hallucinatory. This is funny: in high school, I had a youth leader who was feeling sorry for herself one day. She told me, “When I was a young child, I saw things that weren’t there.” And my non-sarcastic inner response was, “So? Same here. Doesn’t everyone experience that?”
Apparently not. Who knew? [Shrug.]
The eyeball thing was major. I was lying on the sofa and I heard a hissing noise like a snake. Then I saw the eyeball against our marble side table that we kept the newspapers on. It started to glide across the room toward me. It got about halfway there before I bolted. I’m no hero. It was about the size of a Magic-8 ball. Ever since then, I’ve felt as if my life is being recorded by some higher power, and that everyone has a huge book of their life, like the Akashic Records. A few years later, when I was eight and we lived in our second mansion, I’d sit in the laundry room and envision a book that was as big as the whole room, opened somewhere to the middle, with a tiny person walking back and forth to read each line. It was the story of my life (literally), and it was very depressing.
I was being abused at that point, and my life felt like a horrific nightmare. Being eight years old and subject to my mother’s narcissism and hysterics and her attitude of, “Something minor just happened, but it’s major, and our lives are ruined!” was very hard for me as an eight-year-old. My life became shadowed, and my mind started to warp. I entered my room one day and just knew I was depressed. I asked myself, how do I even know that word? I’m only eight, but I did know it, and I understood what it meant. I also knew what pyrophobic meant, and I knew it applied to me, too. And when my mom would tell me, “You’re manipulative and sadistic. You’re playing the let’s-upset-Mommy-today game and winning. You enjoy upsetting me,” I knew what manipulative and sadistic meant, too. You know, I really don’t think people should talk to eight-year-olds like that.
Anyway, the seed of an idea is germinating in my brain. My mother beat the shit out of me because she was bored and needed to create some tragedy. (I know that sounds unlikely, but it’s true.) I think in retrospect, too, that she may have been on her liquid diet. I’m starting to wonder if what she did to me somehow confused my brain at some later point and made me think my dad did something similar.
I was eight when she beat me. I had the third-grade brades.
The incident with my dad, I was nine or ten. Fourth grade, shorter hair, with a baby sister.
But I don’t know. I’m not sure how anyone can recover from what I think he did. I’ll keep reading my memory book, and we’ll hope for the best. It would mean so many things if he didn’t do it: that I did have a good parent, that he didn’t want to destroy me, and that he can be trusted entirely. It would mean that I’m not so messed up that I live with and have a loving relationship with my abuser. Those things would all be great. In my opinion, there’s no downside. So what if my memory is messed up? I’m schizophrenic! It goes with the territory. My perception of reality has always been shaky, not in an obvious way but in a subtle way that other people can’t pick up on.
However, knowing the truth is important. I’m not sure why, but it is. Therefore, I don’t want to blindly decide it didn’t happen if it did, in fact, happen.