The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Playing God

The dream I had last night was a Super Freaky Deaky Dream, even creepier than the Freaky Time-Looping Deamon Dream, which was just about as terrifying as it sounds.

So anyway, in the dream I had last night, instead of adhering to convention and dying at the end of the dream, I died at the beginning. I’m not going to tell you how I died, because it was so ridiculously retarded that I’m embarrassed my brain came up with it.

So I died. That wasn’t the scary part. The dream got progressively creepier as it went on. Thankfully, I didn’t see any close friends or family or view their reactions to my demise, but somehow I was suddenly talking with old acquaintances from school who I haven’t seen in years and didn’t know very well in the first place. They were holding candles and talking about how afflicted they were by my passing, as though it were some sort of scandal, a crusade that they were going to take up. Furthermore, I saw on televisions vigils and wakes being held in my honor all over the world, people piling huge mounds of flowers like for Princess Di, and releasing thousands of balloons at once. At the time, I didn’t really understand or question why the whole world cared that I was dead, but later on the whole world-wide mourning came into play.

Soon after I was dead, I met a “spirit guide” as I like to call him. He was a Chinese man in his mid-twenties, somewhat Americanized and spoke with an American accent. Most of the time he was dressed in unremarkable American clothing and had an unremarkable American haircut.

I kept asking him over and over again, if I was dead, why could I talk to people still living? Why could I watch TV? Why could I walk around the world as though nothing were different? I hadn’t seen my body, but if it were dead and rotting in the ground, what was I now walking around in? I was solid, corporeal, and my body seemed the same, so had I been given a new body? Weren’t things supposed to be different after you died? Weren’t you supposed to go someplace else? Heaven? Hell? Was I in fact in a different world? Most of all, how does being dead change things? Everything seemed to me to be the same, except that people were mourning over me, but why were they mourning if I could still talk to them?

I started to get the vague feeling that if I were to look underneath my clothing, I wouldn’t see my body as I remembered it being.

So I pushed the thought away and didn’t look beneath my clothing.

My spirit guide wouldn’t answer any of my questions, and I found myself becoming more and more angry at him. I was also disappointed. Death seemed to be just like life; I was expecting something more exciting, or at least something with more answers.

Suddenly we were in Barnes and Noble, between rows of books, though in the dream the shelves were higher than in real life, so it was almost like we were in a forest or something… it’s hard to explain. Then my spirit guide started saying a few very vague phrases that hinted at something Really Freaking Creepy—everything I was seeing, doing, feeling, experiencing, and every person I had talked to since my death, was, in fact, my own mind’s creation. I was seeing what I wanted to see. I was experiencing what I wanted to experience, in some twisted way. Furthermore, I wasn’t in complete control of my own mind, and subconscious fears would occasionally surface, flying out of left field, like when a scary animalish-demon thing leaped over a stack of books in B&N and disappeared right before landing on me. The worldwide vigils, the adoring lamentations of vague acquaintances, the slightly off-kilter settings of my home, work, and school were all my own creation.

I was, in essence, my own God. There was no order to the universe. Nothing was what it was, it was only what my mind imagined it to be. This sounds really cool, but it really, really, really wasn’t. People think they’d like to be God, but really, it’s the scariest thing you could ever imagine. Nothing is solid, everything is constantly changing to your mind’s every twist and turn; there’s no authority to say that up is up and down is down, there’s no Great Father to keep the earth turning and the sun shining when your mind collapses into chaos. Instead of just your mind collapsing, the whole world collapses. There is nothing more frightening than having too much power, because who do you turn to when things go wrong? Being the ultimate Creator and Destroyer, when you’re as simple, weak, and confused as a human is not only terrifying in its implications, but impossible. I was terrified at the thought of it, not just because I knew I had nowhere to turn, no one to ask for help, no one to keep a bookshelf from shifting into a tree or a friend into a corpse, but also because it meant nothing was really *real*.

“What is real?!” I screamed at my spirit guide, “If all of this is of my imagining, then nothing is real! Nothing is solid, it’s always changing! How can I live like this?”

I prayed that my spirit guide, at least, was external to my psycho-circus reality, but then, I had no one to pray to then, did I? There was no one to keep the monsters from lumbering down the center of Barnes and Noble, there was no one to keep people from walking around corners and disappearing. Nothing was anything.

Spirit guide suddenly lost the unremarkable American appearance and grew a queue and donned a traditional Chinese tunic and wide pants. His garments were navy blue with red accents, and he possessed a quarterstaff. “We will fight now,” he said.

“Why?” I asked, but then I had a quarterstaff as well, and we fought. It was a blur, and there was no drama, no exertion, no feeling. After what seemed like ten seconds, he stopped and said, “That is enough. We have been fighting too long,” and then implied that we had been fighting each other for many years.

“We should go have children,” he said, implying that his time was running out to do so, and that we couldn’t waste time fighting.

I thought to myself, how can I have children if I’m dead? How can he if he’s a spirit guide? Why does he act like we are under a time constraint if we’re dead? We no longer have a clock counting down our days, I thought this was supposed to be eternity? Isn’t having children something reserved for the living? Why have children in death?

But I don’t think any of these thoughts actually came out of my mouth. After this, the dream sort of ended its linear-story section, and I just thought about all the things that had happened and were happening. Then I woke up, got out of bed (a little blind, no contacts) and stumbled into the bathroom. When I looked up into the mirror, my face was distorted. Not rotting and dead, but oddly shaped. One eye was droopy and half-closed, and there was a blurriness like someone had poured water on a painting. It was very much like the faces in The Ring. I looked down from the mirror, thinking my eyes were simply blurry and my mind confused from such an intense dream, and took a few deep breaths, trying to shake off the trauma of the dream. Somehow, I knew that when I looked back up, I’d see the same face, and my brain started to fly into a panic.

Fortunately for my sanity, my mind instantly rejected this reality and I woke up for real. It was one of the absolute most realistic, most terrifying fake-out wake-ups I have ever experienced.

I have a few analyses of this dream, both describing internal and external influences. I have identified several movies/shows/other art forms that my dream drew on and took from, but I think I’ll leave the analyses until I’ve allowed my readership (of 3) to comment and make their own speculations.

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