Day 64: The Man and that Thing in His Eye; ‘Twinkle’

Beautiful liked to tell me that one of the major things that initially attracted her to me and was always so alluring was the passion I had for the things I loved. I can recall so many nights spent sharing stories and dreams and plans and hopes and how vividly it all came to me and the excitement in my voice, my eyes, my hands as I shared with her. I think there was something so natural about that relationship. She enjoyed watching me, being carried away with my wild dreams and gestures. I enjoyed being watched, feeling her gaze on me as I indulged in my hopes. A storyteller is only a storyteller if he has an audience, and the best way to his heart is to give him your eyes and ears.

I am normally a very reserved person. I prefer to observe and absorb as much as I can in large amounts until it becomes unbearable and I literally burst with stories. It is a common misconception to believe that the loudest and the most outgoing of us are the ones with the best stories to tell. I’m sure that plenty do and are, but you should never discount what the watchful and observant gaze can tell you. I am so much more occupied with capturing stories than telling them that I am sure to never run out.

There is constantly this ongoing battle within me between the one who watches and the one who shares. My hands were meant to wave wildly in the air with grand gestures mirroring the grandiosity of my verbosity. My voice was meant to rise and fall and inflect Jeremy.gifwith such passion and immediate transformation. Often times my fingers stumble over themselves trying to capture the words as they form in my mind. I can hear and see whole thoughts and images so vividly in my mind that I could so easily paint for you and transport you but the process of thought to hand to keyboard is oft times so much harder for me than thought to voice. I have finished all of this and right now my hands are actually just trying to recall everything I’ve already said in my mind. This is why I tell stories and not poetry. I could never figure out how to distill so much emotion and energy and wild fervor into the restrained fiery tempest of poetry. Instead I find that so many words fly in and out of my head that the fact I am able to restrict myself at all is a feat.

The thing of it is I also know that I secretly (or not so secretly) crave an audience. I am not content to be an unheard or undiscovered voice. I crave specifically that physical interaction. I love a live audience. I want to feed off of live laughter or gasps or cries. It isn’t just a coincidence that Beautiful felt that way when I spoke. I am, without ego or vanity or pride, aware of the effect of empassioned speech. I never feel as confident or as self-assured as when I am in the throes of sharing something I love. I spoke before of theeye-roll power of humor in attraction and how I was aware of that too and how it characterized my interactions with women. Even more so than that is the way I feel when I get a chance to speak about my passions. This is so much more than lazy, uninteresting, uninteractive self-centered speak. This is a way of engaging both people because when you speak with that enthusiasm and energy even listening becomes a more active experience. You listen with your eyes and your ears and your mind. You watch as I move from point to point, my arms flying with direct purpose translating thought to physical motion. You see every micro-expression as my eyes light or my brows furrow and how my mouth races to catch up with my thoughts. You hear the love and action in my voice. There is pleading and yearning and hope and despair whenever I need to invoke it. I find the best ways to connect to you, to move you, to transport you. I want what I see in my mind to be as vivid in yours.

Give me an opportunity to speak to you about food, about drink, about movies, literature, video games, martial arts, and I guarantee you will never see me as confident, smooth, articulate, and/or eloquent. Let me regale you with my stories. Let me strut with raw power and command across the stage of your mind. Let me undress you with my words as I wrap tantalizing, tempting, teasing words with my tongue. Let me move you and inspire you and sell you on my dreams. I wear my prose like a fine well-tailored suit and my speech could get me onto any red carpet.

The thing of it is though, for me, this is a very deep and personal relationship. It is a connection of words and thoughts and mind that…I choose not to want to share with everybody. The audience I crave is…an audience, really, of one. While I feel my most confident when I speak, I also find something incredibly attractive in someone who listens with such rapt attention and care. I don’t want some doting mindless audience of ‘yes’ bobbleheads. I want that one person who sees how significant it is to share. She would be the best, most engaging audience. I will feel inspired to keep talking and more importantly take words to action because of how much of me she sees and hears and believes. I miss and so incredibly desire that feeling again of being someone’s center of attention when I share. Someone who finds my hopes and dreams attractive not because of what they are but because of what they make me.

I never lost that twinkle in my eye. I just hope that someone will see it again.

Day 64

Man: 47 Loneliness: 17

Day 34 Supplemental: The Man and the Nightmare Experiment P.2

Good morning!

Alas, no nightmares. But being in that mindset, setting myself up, did make me hyper aware of my surroundings before sleep and was still quite the experience.

The first thing that surprised me was how hesitant I was to turn off that last light. My hand is heavy and tense and the movement is forced and laborious. Fear of the dark is not, as our parents would like us to believe when we are children, an irrational fear. It is deeply rooted in the DNA of our ancestors. It is a natural fear that teaches us to value the ability to survey our surroundings and to take comfort and courage in the known. In the dark we are blind and vulnerable. Most of us nowadays forget what true, complete darkness looks like unless we visit a science museum or Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Our nights are filled with the small creature comforts of ambient lights. From our laptops, cell phones, chargers, the street outside, starlight, moonlight, even the light LED glow of alarm clocks can provide us with just enough light to distinguish shapes, friends, or foes. But for last night’s experiment I took away everything. I closed the windows and put the thick blinds to block any outside light. Not that there were much, just any faint glows from the other hotel rooms. The TV, which normally stays on for the light and the noise, was off. I placed my laptop in my bag. Unplugged the alarm clock. The darkness I experienced last night as as close to true darkness as I could get. I would open my eyes, then close them, and realize I no longer knew the difference. I couldn’t even see the pillow below my face. If possible, I would have tried sleeping with my eyes closed, or confusing myself by blinking so many times I might forget which was which.

Hotel DiagramAs you can see by the diagram, there are two beds and one wall is almost completely window. I decided to sleep on Bed 2 because I thought being close to the window might be a bit more terrifying. Something peering through, or tapping on the glass, etc. I slept facing the window wall. This created another opportunity for a sense of paranoia and dread, the lack of awareness behind me. I did not change direction at all last night. Last thing I wanted was to turn on my side and see another shape inhabiting the other bed! I was definitely thinking about that possibility before falling asleep.

Aside from the deprivation of my sense of sight and the feeling of dreading finding something behind me, the last thing I noticed was how much more sensitive I was to sound. If you ever feel lonely, watch a scary movie and stay in the dark by yourself. You’ll swear you’re not alone. I expected complete silence. But when I did hear things, I felt a sharp electricity run through my body. A chill completely up and down my spine. A drop in body temperature. A sharp intake of breath. An ‘oh my god’ moment where you consider for a split second if everything you thought wasn’t real was suddenly real.

Even though the ride was certainly thrilling, the destination ended up being just another garbled, innocent, though complicated dream. Some pregnancies, fortune tellers with their dream catchers, hippies. I will say I didn’t sleep through the night though. I think I remember waking up once or twice, with brief different dreams with each interruption. No cold sweats or panic though.

And to be completely honest, I didn’t want any surprises or plot twists, so when I woke up this morning the first thing I did was pinch myself real hard! Glad to say I’m back in the real world.

 

 

Day 34: The Man and the Nightmare Experiment P.1

Two days in a row of thinking about nothing but Beautiful. It’s been rough on the mind and the body. I feel lethargic and lack energy or enthusiasm. Need to bring myself back to center. Easy enough. One of my go-to resets is a good movie. As fortune would have it my hotel is five minutes from a movie theatre so I knew I could fit one in tonight. The question then had to be, what to watch?

I remember my post from before, and decided to put my money where my mouth is. I want a good nightmare. A wake up sweating and heart racing kind of nightmare that makes you happy to be awake and alive. So I’m going to do everything within my power to try and induce one tonight, and write the rest of today’s post tomorrow morning while the dream, whatever it might end up being, is still fresh in my mind.

The movie itself was actually pretty decent. I still think the hardest part for any horror film is to find an appropriate and satisfying way to end. Most either go the ‘the end…or is it?’ route to either set up a sequel for more money or to insinuate that the nightmare isn’t over and it’ll leak from the screen to your home. I find it cheesy and unsatisfying. Empty Regal.jpgWhat it really does is make you feel like you haven’t had the full experience. The story isn’t over. You know, your Screams, Saws, Day of the Deads, etc. The other way they usually end is to just…end. They give up. The writers spent so much time creating an elaborate yet plausible reality where horror is real and they build this suspense and grip you to your
seats and run out of juice by the time they need to figure out the ending. Your Insidiouses are infamous for this. The beginning is great and the context of the story is certainly possible and enough to capture, but the ending was just…suddenly we’re in the demon world and am I watching an action movie version of The Exorcist? I half expect to see Arnold Schwarzenegger with a Super Soaker filled with holy water. Your one-offs are often like this as well. Deliver Us From Evil, for example, or Crimson Peak.

Lights Out.jpgLights Out delivers on its promise to make you afraid of the dark. It is wonderful at setting up suspense and doesn’t rely too heavy-handedly on jump scares to find its way into your soul. See jump scares punctuate the horror. If it’s all jump scares, you can convince yourself it’s just a movie and that the story ends on the screen. But Lights Out creates a world where the dark is sinister and you never know where it will spread. If every second I was being startled, I’d never worry. But the suspense is there and it stays, subtly, in the background. Sometimes it delivers because it’s a horror and we expect to be scared but most times it just…dwells in environments. Environments similar to our own. For this I am appreciative. I am sitting in my hotel room surrounded by light but I know that eventually I’ll be turning them all off voluntarily, and for the first time in a long time, I will wonder what dwells in the dark once more. The world is minimally but essentially constructed and the idea of the monster is great. Like the Doctor’s angels, it is something that exists when we cannot perceive it. It exists in the unreality, which means we can never confirm nor deny it is even there. Where the movie lacks is its details. The origin story of the monster, critical for any original work, here is treated with half-hearted care and lazy convenient writing. It is a five second distraction from an otherwise convincing monster. The dialogue at times, especially for the young brother, is also hard to digest. Writing for children is always difficult because adults do it and they forget what children sound like. What they can and cannot process. What parts of the world they cannot access. At times the dialogue was cringe-worthy and took away from the investment and suspension of disbelief.

Overall though the movie did what it wanted. Created a new avenue to be scared. Put a name to the fear. It was a fun thrill and I’m hoping to cash in on the rewards.

Let’s take inventory. I just watched a scary movie and have been reading some scary stories and haven’t though about anything other than nightmares for the past two hours. I’m hopped up on caffeine, salt, and fried. My hotel is in the middle of nowhere. My window overlooks nothing but an empty field. The nearest building is about three miles away. The window is huge in my room. Almost the entire wall. I was tempted to leave the blinds open for possible shadows moving but the light of other hotel rooms and the parking lot would seep in. Instead I’ve closed all the blinds and when I go in for the night, I will be in complete darkness. Not even the light of the laptop will provide a safe anchor. At the same time though, I know my day was filled with thoughts of Beautiful still. I am still working out a lot of issues that I’ll need to express eventually. A lot of insecurities and memories. These both have equal possession of my mindset. Last of all, I am going to sleep (relatively) earlier than usual to give myself more time to hit the REM cycle and get the most vivid dreams.

All I know for a fact though, is that no matter what happens, I’ll be drawing my breath in with just that bit more fear and hesitance when I turn out the light tonight.

See you all on the other side of my nightmare.

Day 34

Man: 25 Loneliness: 9

Day 33: The Man and the Oneirocritic

Oneirocritic, from the Greek oneiros (dream) and kritikos (skilled in judgement). Oneirocritic, one who studies and interprets dreams.

A sure sign of when I’m on the road is a) when the posts are consistent and b) they come around 3am. A full day on the road, an escape to the fitness center, and a dinner alone take a lot of time before I can write. Hey PostADay, this still counts, right?

As mentioned in the last day’s post, I had a particularly painful nightmare whose meaning was not lost on me. I’ve had the day to think of it, mull it over, absorb it, fear it. I’ve had the day to realize I’ve had it easy this past month, and that I haven’t moved as far or as fast as I hoped I have.

Beautiful came home yesterday. She was on vacation the past month in Hong Kong and Australia. If any of you dear readers are keeping track, yes that means that she cut ties to me literally a week before her long vacation. Convenient for her, extra painful for me. I felt like she viewed me as nothing more than a tether. Holding her to the past, our past, or maybe holding her back from what she believed she wanted. I was cast aside to sink, crushed by every memory, every reminder that surrounded our two neighborhoods while she flew to far and distant lands to run away from all of the problems.

But her being gone helped me forget about her and the pain. It let me avoid answering the questions that remained. Her return has brought back too much too soon. I booked her trip when I was still an agent. Subconsciously I knew the dates of her trip. I remember when we were together I would worry and study her itinerary and want to make sure she was safe and taken care of. All I wanted was for her safe and secure return. Now her homecoming just predicts pain and sorrow for me.

I must have known her return and my subconscious triggered something to cause that dream. Those words that my high school girlfriend spoke to me, that cut through me like a jagged knife, delivered with that cold dehumanizing smile, those were the words I wish I could say to Beautiful. I still haven’t found a way to make myself angry at her. I still can’t find righteous fury or indignation. I can only feel pain, and longing, and sorrow.

There has never been a shortage of space in my life for anger. I have always been an angry person, quick to judge and immovable in my decisions. I hold grudges with every breath. I used to be much angrier though. Quicker to act on blind rage. I could be mean. She softened me though. In college she taught me to round out my edges. She blew out some of those flames. Now, for everything she has done to me, for all the pain she has caused, I can’t find any fire. I wish I could say those things to her. Tell her how bad she is for me. That I need her like poison. But I am too afraid that, given the chance, I would take her back in a heartbeat. She’s robbed me of my anger and my opportunity of expression. Anyone like you and I, who live by our words, knows and hates the feeling of being dumbstruck. Mute. And yet when I think of her, I find only silence. The words do not flow. The feelings are blocked. I want to find the words to tell her how I feel. One day, I want to be able to address her with the confidence and intent that I deserve to be able to address her with. Now I feel so…small and weak. I know I have no control with her, and I am afraid our conversation would somehow end up with me surrendering what pride I have left and begging her to return.

Her being back is slow torture. I didn’t have to think about feeling like navigating a minefield to avoid her while she was gone. I didn’t have to worry about how to feel comfortable and at ease in all our old familiar places. I didn’t have to worry about what she’d do when she returns. If she would call her ex. If they’d get back together.

That was and is my greatest fear, and the material for the second half of my dream. A sudden, unexpected breakup is hard enough. Digesting half-truths tastes like bile. She made it seem as though it was just about our hobbies. How we couldn’t share in hers though I tried and would have been supportive to see her pursue it on her own or with her friends. I thought it was such an unworthy reason to end a relationship I had been hoping and dreaming for since we broke up in college. I was pouring my heart and soul into this relationship, working to fix all the wrongs I caused last time and redeeming myself in her eyes and in her heart. I pursued her interests with an honest and open heart but I couldn’t see myself investing as much as she did and I thought if I were open and honest about that we could move forward and find a way. When she said it was bigger than I or even she thought it was, how important this hobby would become, how much of it was her life now, I couldn’t see our relationship ending but I could see him again, how many pictures and memories of the past four years apart she had made with him. I couldn’t see that she was running away but I could see where she was trying to pull me. To have to discover, after everything, after all the talk, after me reaching out to her after she made the decision to destroy my heart so I could see how she was doing and if she was taking care of herself, to have to discover that she was lying and not speaking the truth unless I went to her blog and read what she could so easily share with the whole world but not with me, she successfully broke the last fragment of me that was trying to remain whole.

Words she could never say to me. Words she had never shared to me. Beautiful emotions and expressions that were never going to be addressed to me. I read how she missed him. How he defined her growth and grew so much in her heart. How her birthdays were not enough without him. I read beautiful things that I never even knew she was capable of.

She never saw me in that light. Maybe she did once, in college. But she never really gave us another chance. I was not me. I was another attempt at a better him. I would never see those words directed to me. Not for my love.

Now here I am caught unprepared for her return. With no words, yet hungrily seeking any from her. I have realized today that I am not ready to be part of a world where she is around again.

I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to see her. I don’t want to hear what my mind will make her say.

Day 33

Man: 24 Loneliness: 9

 

Day 32 Supplemental: The Man and the Nightmare Know-How

First, on the virtues of nightmares.

Consider the following scenarios.

Scenario A) You are walking along the sidewalk in your town when you notice a dollar bill stuck between the cracks in the pavement. You decide to pick it up and, with no other better idea coming to mind, you purchase a lottery ticket. You use your birthday, the birthday of your brother, mother, father, and finally the birthday of ‘the one that got away’ and your anniversary. That night you wait for the numbers to be called and it wins! Then a train full of beautiful naked your women rolls past your bedroom window, but you notice that on the hill past the train standing underneath a large tree stands your ex, beckoning to you. You cannot believe it. There is the indescribably happy feeling of being wanted. You did it. You found your way back.

Scenario B) You are walking along a dark alley when the narrow opening on the other side slowly begins to close right in front of your eyes. A brick wall manifests itself out of thin air and you are forced to turn direction. Where once you were alone, a large four legged beast with the face of a grotesque carnival clown is now standing between you and your only exit. You run straight at it and at the very last moment do a dive between the beast’s legs. You end up on the other side, which is now a landscape of a cemetery with tombstones floating in midair. You try to hide behind them but just as soon as you touch them they shoot up to the sky, defying gravity. You cling to one and it rockets up. Your grip begins to loosen. The beast is waiting, directly below, with an evil grin. Your hands finally fail you and you begin to plummet.

And then you wake up.

Now I pose this question to you. In which scenario do you feel better being awake rather than asleep.

My guess is, tempting as A may sound, if you really think about it, B is guaranteed to get you up off your feet and ready to face the day.

I’ve had both of these dreams in the past. And let me tell you what happens the morning after.

After dream A, I wake up with a smile. There is this warm feeling radiating through my body. Until I realize it was all just a dream. There is no one in bed next to me. And no one who is looking forward to hearing from me or seeing me today. There is no reunion, no lottery fortune. My bed is cold and empty. I bury myself under the sheets trying futilely to go back to sleep and recapture that feeling. For the rest of the day I will think about the girl under the tree and how she looked at me and wonder if anyone will ever look at me that way again. I will wonder about her. I will remember that I can’t go out to lunch today because I have no money. I’m unwanted, lonely, and broke. I want to go back to sleep. Back to my dream. My day is unproductive. Everything around me is a stark reminder of how much better my life was asleep. I just want the day to end and hopefully I can catch that train once more.

After dream B, I awake startled and alert. I am acutely hyperaware of every detail in my room. There is no lull, there is no sleep still left to wipe away from my eyes. There are a thousand thoughts racing through my head, ever forward, grateful, enthusiastic, and none of them are of sleep or to lull me back into retreat, stepping backwards. I am happy to be in my own bed. I am excited to see who I will interact with first on this bright beautiful day that I am happy to be a part of. My heart is so full of adrenaline that I am springing to my feet and racing through my morning tasks. A nightmare makes me happy to be awake and to be nowhere else but now here.

Nightmares, the good kind, the monsters and ghosts kind, make us appreciate more what we have. Those nightmares are fun and exciting. Much like the Twilight Zone episode of the man who eventually realizes he’s in Hell (spoiler alert) we would tire and grow weary and maybe even numb or resentful if our dreams were the dull repetitive winning the lottery, getting the girl (or boy), having superpowers, eating a bunch of food (what, am I the only one who watches Iron Chef Japan before bed?).  Sometimes I choose to try and invoke nightmares because I feel my daily life has become too boring, too bland. I need some variety, some nuclear spice, and a refreshed appreciation for what I have. Other times it’s for the story of it. Some of my nightmares make for incredible stories to be told by the campfire or to little kids you don’t like. Other times it can be an insurance policy to help ensure I get out of bed on time. Hahah.

The point is, I think nightmares are seriously underrated. People like warm and fuzzy and safe and comfortable. But that doesn’t push us forward. If we were always like that, we’d have no drive to do anything. I’d stay in bed all day until I withered away if you gave me a button that would shoot happy blissful dreams to my mind while I slept. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein came to her in a nightmare. Nightmares bring our fears and secret thoughts to the forefront, in bright contrast where we cannot hide from them.

So I implore you. Give nightmares a chance. Feel what it is like to wake from a nightmare and pay attention to those initial sensations after waking. Just…no nightmares like the one I posted about today. Those are different. I don’t like those either. Just a good monster and a good chase and one of those jolts at the end that make you jump when you wake. A shark about to bite. An axe about to fall.

If you are not in the habit of remembering or recording your dreams, I also highly recommend you begin some sort of system for yourself in order to keep track. You might be having incredible dreams or nightmares but if you are not exercising the ability to retain them, you could lose complete recall within just the first minute of your day. When you wake up, try to keep your eyes closed and don’t distract yourself with outside thoughts. Don’t think of the day ahead. Don’t look out the window. Grab a piece of paper and a pen that you will now be required to have at your bedside to jot down what you remember or grab your phone and record your voice. With time you’ll find your time of recall gets progressively longer and then you can have the dream still in your head by lunch.

Below are some of the methods I have used in the past to incite nightmares. If you are brave enough, I challenge you to experiment with a few. Of course be aware and be warned of whatever emotions or images this may bring up, and do this with care and with responsibility.

Method 1: Eat certain foods. Certain foods are believed to help invoke nightmares. I prefer salty and/or spicy. But they also say fatty foods might help. I just don’t recommend it because I want you to be healthy. I’m looking out for you. Eating these things a little before you go to sleep can help intensify the vividness of your dreams.

Method 2: Scare yourself. There is a fine line between spooked before bed and lying in bed too terrified to close your eyes. I think watching a scary movie is too stimulating and can end up making too much of an impression. But a good scary story can do just enough to begin planting a seed in your imagination that could end up maturing in your sleep. I love the short stories that give you just enough of a scare to send a chill up and down your spine. You certainly don’t forget that as you fall asleep and your eyes just manage to lazily register the shadow moving in the corner.

Method 3: Pills. Whoa whoa whoa. Let’s be clear here a second. I am absolutely `100% NOT advocating for the abuse of any drugs of any sort. I’m talking about vitamin B6, which also affects vividness but can also have a certain slight influence on dream subject. And melatonin, which is often used as a sleep aid. One of the specific side effects of melatonin are bizarre or vivid dreams. A combination of the two would be highly effective, and a more natural way to combine would be to have melatonin and a banana.

So game plan: About an hour before you go to bed, pop some buttered popcorn, add some salt, and sprinkle some cayenne pepper or Sriracha. Not for nothing, but if you don’t have a nightmare you’ll at least thank me for this serious popcorn upgrade. While you munch on it read some scary stories. Real life encounters with the paranormal. Ghost stories. r/creepypasta. Whatever floats your nightmare boat. Then right before bed, take the proper dosage of melatonin and snack on a banana. You’ll be healthier and on your way to hopefully some good nightmares.

Hope this works for you and that you give this a try. If you ever need a refresher, a good nightmare is an excellent restart button.

Day 32: The Man and the Nightmares

Let me begin by saying I love having nightmares. Whenever I have the opportunity, and I know I have nowhere to be and no obligations the next day, I do whatever I can to try and induce a nightmare to enjoy for the night. Some methods work better than others but worse-case scenario, I may not get a nightmare but my dreams are definitely much more vivid and intense. I will most definitely do an accompanying post for this on methods and techniques to try and induce nightmares for those of you, after reading this post, who are so inclined to try. I have very strong feelings on the virtues and benefits of a healthy nightmare so I will love to write about that in conjunction.

Regardless of dream or nightmare, I have always had very vivid images in my sleep. I love to dream and so many wonderful inspirations and stories and feelings have been brought about by a good (or bad) night’s sleep. I have written down story ideas for movies I would want my action star hero Jackie Chan to feature in. Or perhaps more like after a night of binging his classic films I dreamt up one of my own for me to star in. I’ll pitch it to him and when he humbly declines because he feels he won’t be able to do it at this age, I will, reluctantly of course, assume the role to save the project. Some dreams from early childhood were so vivid and so significant they have become part of my story, my narrative. I have absorbed some of these dreams to be as legitimate and as valid as actual physical memories because they have had the same lasting impact regardless of their root in reality or not. Dreams have also been a topic of conversation and bonding experience for the women I have dated. Even with as much practice in recollection as I have had, dreams do not last long in the mind unless it is placed somewhere else first. As a child I drew out my dreams or bored my parents to death with accounts. As I got older I would practice writing it down, texting it to myself, or even leaving myself voicemails with vague cryptic reminders of what I had dreamt the night before. I found that one of the best and most beneficial ways of saving these precious pseudo-memories was to share them with someone when I have just woken and it is the freshest it can get. So I would call my girlfriend, or on those rare and wonderful nights when we could spend the night together, I would have her right by my side, shaking and jostling her awake so I can pour it out and capture the essence before it floats away into the ether. In contrast, most if not all of the women I have dated have not been big dreamers. Some even insisting they do not dream (this by the way, is false; we all dream but not all of us have the ability to retain the memory of them). So for them it was an opportunity to live by proxy and they would be astounded by the intricacy and vividness of these dreams. They were also an excuse to start the day immediately thinking of the other person and reaching. Sometimes I feel we don’t give ourselves enough reasons to want to reach out and talk to our significant others. It was also fun because whether directly true or not, if there was a chance to add them into my dream, it certainly makes them happy and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Hahah.

Not all dreams are warm and fuzzy though. Just as our real world experiences and emotions can run the full gambit of all human possibility, even more so in our dreams where we are no longer tethered by conventional rules and expectations a la Inception. Come on, we all went through puberty, who could forget those wet dreams? Fun in the moment but a pain in the ass to clean up after. Then you have your ghouls and goblins, monsters under the bed, what’s in my closet, type of nightmares. The ones where you wake up with your heart racing and sweat running down your back as you grip tightly onto your bedsheets to remind yourself that this is what’s actually real. Those are the ones I love.

And then there are these.

The nightmares of a different nature.

The dreams that bring out your deepest fears and insecurities.

The ones that draw on the thoughts that keep you up at night. The ones you try to push away. The ones you thought you had forgotten or left behind.

Nightmares that don’t scare you like a bump in the night. The ones that scare you like a constant heavy weighing burden that rides on your shoulder and bury itself deep into the back of your mind. The ones that make you cry rather than scream. The long, twisting, slow knife.

One of the worst ones I can remember was when I was younger but aware enough to realize my parents would fight sometimes. As a kid you don’t know how to process the first time you notice that your parents are humans too and sometimes humans fight each other. You have no sense of time or permanence yet, and so every terse word seems like the end of the family.

I dreamt that my mother died, and right soon after my father pulled us all out of school and everything familiar and flew us back to the Philippines. I didn’t want to go and I wanted my mother back and I yelled and screamed and accused him of killing her to drag us back. He took a power washer from the backyard and aimed it at my head and just shooting it into my forehead and I was yelling stop but my mouth was filling with water and I was choking and my eyes were stinging and the pressure on my forehead was so intense and so persistent that I felt I was going insane. I woke up frantic, scared, bawling, with an unrelenting headache of blinding pain. I was numb but on fire at the same time.

Last night I had one of those dreams. A deeply buried fear brought to the light kind of dream. A nightmare that had no benefits, no rush, no thrill. Just a bitter, lonely feeling of fear and loneliness and inadequacy.

I hate the idea of high school reunions. I don’t like old hash. But there I was. All the friends who either I had let slip by, judged too harshly, felt I were too good for, or were smart enough to leave me. All the relationships that felt like the world. Old flames. One in particular. I hurt her, badly. I couldn’t ever face her after what I did, and so I ran and just hoped that she would be better. I think I wanted her to hate me. Hate is an easy emotion. You don’t feel responsible when someone hates you. But there she was, standing in front of me. I knew it was her because I looked her up on FB a little while back to see how she was doing. I recognized her face. Her long midnight black hair that glistened. The tender porcelain skin. A smile of pity. She came up to me. Stroked my cheek. Forgave me. With a cold smile, knowing how much it would hurt. She said everything I didn’t want to hear. How weak I was. How little. How small and dumb and insignificant. How I made no impact, no influence, was of no worth and no reflection in her life. She forgave me because I was nothing, and you cannot blame nothing. And then I saw her. Beautiful. Standing next to her ex. How happy. How proud. How she proclaimed to everyone who looked at them ‘this is my boyfriend’ ‘see us’ ‘look at us’. And I couldn’t look away. Like a voyeur, my eyes were glued on them, even though every second was torture. I wanted to take it all in. I wanted every last drop of poison.  Do I miss her calling me her boyfriend? Do I miss the pride and joy she had in being mine and in my being hers? Or do I just miss that privilege and luxury in general. What am I chasing after. What do I miss. Who will remember me. What will I amount to.

I know why this dream came up. Make no mistake, our dreams are products of our subconscious. Each element, no matter how fantastical, is still rooted in reality whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. I know every ingredient in the poison in my cup.

But when I woke up, I no longer had anyone to talk to.

Day 32

Man: 24 Loneliness: 8