I hate it when my brain just resorts to random images of disturbing violence to constitute "bad dreams" before I wake up in the morning. Just sorta colors my whole day and then I just want to watch cartoons all day. If dreams are our subconcious' way of preparing us for dealing with future scenarios, and I've only ever been peripherially exposed to violence via t.v. and books - and the fact that I enjoy writing and drawing it - then perhaps this is my own brain's way of dealing with these thoughts. The perfectionist artistic side of me wants to be able to believably and accurately render such things both verbally and visually, but having very seldom ever been exposed to it in real life I think my desire to do so is causing my brain to overload itself. I have been to a slaughter house (an experience I'll never forget) and have witnessed dead, brutally maimed animals before but that's about it. And conceivably that should be enough. It's unsettling but the fact that I think I know what's happening is also fascinating. At the same time, I hope that I never have to witness such violence firsthand even if I feel compelled to express it more vividly in my art and writing. I'm not really sure why though. Violence is something that's always fascinated me even if I'm not a violent person myself. Maybe it's having been prematurely exposed to it through movies and anime (the ultra-violent late 80s/early 90s sort) where violence is almost glorified in a way.
This is the second time in the same week where I've had such disturbing dreams. I can't help but feel compelled to try painting them if only to get some of the images out of my head. In waking life, I don't find body horror in and of itself to be all that disturbing though clearly it must bother me on some level. Especially if after a few minutes of referencing Google images, I start to feel uncomfortable. Schadenfreude starts to set in, which I guess is what the entire genre of body horror is based upon. You start to realize that that chunk of meat was alive at some point. Had feelings, thoughts, experiences, and so on. It's not so much the distortion of the form itself, but how we empathically experience the distortion while we watch the process of it being distorted. Most American movies don't actually show this though. Unless it's gore-porn or guro or whatever. And then it's not even really disturbing any more, it's just disgusting and asinine, especially since the vast majority of it is so blatantly fake. The real disturbing stuff is done subtly, is implied but never shown. Somehow it's easier to put yourself into the scenario, watching it play out in your head, repeatedly, trying to figure out all the how's and why's. How could someone do this to another person? Why? And, that's sort of what these dreams are about. It's not the aftermath, I see, but as it's happening, the process. Me watching from some suspended third-person pov, random people, say, being systematically crushed in a vehicle without a top on it. All it took was a brief moment of seeing it in another dream before my brain decides to go off on a tangent and just show the same thing over and over again but to different people. I don't feel my own body being crushed but I get an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, paralysis brought upon by panic, the feeling that even if you got out, someone would be there to shove you back in, so why try to escape? You wake up thankful that it was just a dream, but that same sort of lead-heavy feeling follows you around all day, like it's reminding you that life is finite. I could be crushed by a vehicle when I go out for a walk. The apartment could collapse on top of me. Maybe it's my paranoia manifesting in dreams, trying to break through that wall I put up with the help of meds years ago. The feeling subsides after a few hours though. Watching lighthearted stuff like Game Grumps or Adventure Time, something to make me laugh, works pretty well. But then I'm going to pick up my copy of Beyond the Black Rainbow and Lake Mungo, the ones I ordered from Amazon. A therapist would tell me to stop watching such things so I wouldn't have bad dreams like that but I can't help it. There's a part of me that's addicted to being creeped out or disturbed. The only time it's unpleasant is when it just manifests itself in a pure form - like in my dreams, where I don't have a way to seperate myself from what I'm witnessing. Most of the time, I don't have such disturbing dreams and lots of times I find that they're only disturbing because what's happening is so out of context. The car-crushing dream was fucked up because it came out of no where. Sometimes if the dream continues, I find myself being soothed by how a story starts to arise from what I'm seeing.
The dream I had earlier in the week started off with showing a faceless mother trying to feed a faceless child. The scene played out in high contrast, black and white and I wasn't sure what was happening until the child turned towards me for a brief moment and realized there was a jagged hole where his face was. The mother was a hunched figure sitting on a stoop, covered in various kinds of cloth, one hanging over her head and face and I realized there was something weird about the shape of her body. At first glance, it was human, but then I noticed her neck was too long, the head too small. She was trying to shove a spoonful of black liquid into the child's hole. The dream changed, and I'm looking up at this creature suspended in a corner of a farmhouse. Her limbs are tied so that she's splayed somewhat, her back providing support for her child who peeks out from beneath the pieces of cloth on her back. The child now has a face and I'm less disturbed. I realize that the two are just creatures or spirits who, while unsettling in apppearance, are actually harmless and are just hanging out in a corner of my mind. Even in the dream, I realized that they were some weird artifact my brain created in trying to work out a concept I had forgotten about in my waking life or maybe to make sense of something else I had seen in passing, or maybe even an amalgamation of things I'd seen or thought about. If I hadn't had remembered the latter part of the dream, the imagery would have haunted me a bit more severely throughout the day. As it was, only the first image bothered me, and still does. Mostly because that was the part of the dream where I didn't understand what I was seeing. I think the fact that I started to understand it was what made the child look less disturbing as well. The monster was starting to look more recognizable, less frightening.
I remember reading a long time ago about how to deal with bad dreams, and I've always been a somewhat lucid dreamer so the advice seemed helpful. The book said that if you were being chased by something to try to stop and simply ask it why it's chasing you. I've done this a few times in my dreams and it almost always works. Sometimes I wake up before I can get an answer, other times, something humorous almost immediately happens as a response. Like that one time I was being chased by a bear and I finally turned and asked it what it wanted. It suddenly holds up a six pack of beer and says "I just wanna party". A disco ball appeared in my cieling and girls wearing gogo boots and white bikinis hopped out of my closet and everyone started dancing to techno music, and soon after I woke up with a severe case of "wtf" but was also laughing pretty hard. Anyway, I suppose that's what makes these sorts of dreams so fucked up - I can't just stop a thing and ask it why it's doing what it does. Usually I'm some sort of passive, witnessing force that watches. I have no body and lots of times the forces themselves that carrying out the violence are as faceless as myself. I have no one or anything to stop and ask 'hey, why are you doing this?'. It's one of the few kinds of dreams I get where I have very little if absolutely no control over myself or the dream. And to me that's what makes it so bad, so terrifying. Other dreams I've had, when I describe them out loud to others, sound pretty terrible, but at the same time, I find myself enjoying them because I know I have control over them to extent as I'm dreaming. If things get out of my control, I have tricks to wake myself (like counting to 4). I have telltale signs to let me know I'm dreaming (light switches not working when I go into rooms, seeing the moon in a weird place, etc.) But there's none of that in these dreams. I don't know I'm dreaming. I'm just absorbing whatever it is I'm looking at.
Anyway, that's been on my mind for a while now and I'm not sure where to really put such things when the mood strikes me so Facebook and Tumblr it is! (And then I remembered that I have a DA and FA where people actually read this stuff! lol)
Anyone else have a similar thing going on or am I just weird?
Listening to: the hum of my refridgerator
Reading: Frakenstein by Mary Shelley
Watching: Game Grumps
Playing: Pokemon Y
Drinking: green tea smoothie