Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

A Dream So Vivid

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

I kneel in the dormer window of my childhood bedroom, but I’m an adult wearing a white, flowing nightgown. I am frantic, trying to shove the plastic window shade into the corners of the window panes to block out the streetlight streaming in around the edges of the shade. The edges won’t stick or wedge in, and the light is a shining pool across my face, body, and carpet. I am not sure if I am trying to block out the light from shining on me, or keep people from looking inside.

Suddenly, I’m downstairs in that same childhood house, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and my black hoodie. Except the downstairs is no living area, but a black-walled, red-lit rock venue, with a stage and booths, and high black, industrial ceilings, almost warehouse-like. I am sitting across from an aging musician, black-clad himself. He is handsome but no longer young, a bit worn about the edges like a well-loved, subversive book. Looking more closely at him, the lines and years are more apparent. He works there. We discuss the sound for an event, raising our voices over the song playing out of the speaker above us.

We walk around the room looking up at the ceiling and he shows me the locations of speakers and wire. He stops under a gaping hole with jagged edges in the ceiling above us, points it out to me. “We call it the Dungeon,” he says with a wry smile. It appears as if a large object has ripped through the ceiling above. Through the hole, I can still see my bedroom bathed in the light of the streetlight. I wonder what caused the hole; What could have fallen through and created a hole so wide?

Something changes suddenly, in the way that change sometimes cracks time wide open, and I have to perform onstage. The stage, though, is across the room in the opposite corner, and I realize that whatever came through the ceiling created a massive crater in the concrete floor of the room and the hole is full of bright blue water, aquarium-like and brightly lit. I stand at the edge, and notice dark shapes moving smoothly through the water.

“Sharks,” I think to myself.

There are probably three of them, maybe four. As they cut through the water, one and then another jump out of the water in an arc, then make a smooth dive back under, continuing to circle the pool. I realize I have to make my way past the shark pool, and on to the stage at the other side of the pool. My breathing picks up. I look around for ways to get around the pool. There is no overhang between the walls and the edge of the pool, nothing to tightrope walk across. The man tells me we have to go on. We? I look to my right. Ty Segall is standing next to me. “I know how to get there. You  have to go through the sharks,” he says. He is shorter than I realized.

The panic is rising in me, but he says, “dive” and plunges in, a clean California surfer’s dive, and I feel sick, but dive in after him, my head feeling like it will explode with the pressure. I do not feel like I am cutting through the water like a swift, smooth shark. One of the sharks bumps me as I swim frantically, my arms feeling no propelling traction or friction, my clothes weighing me down. I am tiring and running out of breath. I see a shark coming out of a halo of bright light, straight towards me, as my hand touches the far wall, which is only the black-painted wooden edge of the stage. I haul my torso up over the lip of the edge, and kick my legs like a child learning to swim, trying to push my hips and legs up and over. I get a leg up and then just as I see a shark coming at me, pull the last of my leg and foot out of the way. The shark strikes the wall and I feel nothing, but imagine a thud. I roll over and lay on my back, sucking in air, then hear someone yell, “Watch out.” I see the shark jumping out of the water at my face, it’s teeth all red and white. It’s dead eyes must be fixed on me, but they show no recognition or light.

I wake up terrified, lying in cold sweat, the dream as vivid as a movie, so strange a dream that it awakened me so violently that I thought it must mean something.

It must mean something.

And So I Shall Write

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

I haven’t even written anything this year. Not one post. I used to write every day. I’ve mentioned it before, but life has gotten in the way a lot lately. I am often tired. Part of it is due to going back to work. There is also a part of me that wrestles with things I never struggled with in the past. Mortality, politics, race, education, relationships. Many things preoccupy me, but cannot be put into writing. Not because I’m not capable of writing about them, but because it is painful and would cause pain to others.

But I feel a gaping hole where my writing used to be. Or maybe it is more of a malignant growth that I used to remove daily with my writing. And now it just grows larger and larger and I feel the weight of it more every day. I realized this so much yesterday when my son turned 11. I used to write about my kids on every birthday, but sometimes it would take me hours; I just don’t have time like that anymore, and when I do, it is at night, and I am so brain dead from work that it just doesn’t happen. So yesterday, I promised myself I would write something today. I wrote for an hour. I wrote for me, not for public consumption, but to cut out some of what had been growing unchecked.

After that, I wrote for the daydreams. I spend a lot of time in the car, listening to music, and sometimes I have things I want to write, but they are just warehoused in my head, daydreams or movies in my brain. Believe me, you can imagine a whole lot when you’re stuck in a 10×10 metal box for almost two hours a day. You have to create your own little world, or you will just lose your shit completely. So, I wrote a little of that world down. It is not the only world, but it is the one that has most recently been occupying my mind. A snippet of a photograph from a dream I had a month ago, to which I add a little bit of the story every day. Aren’t brains and books amazing? Sure, they educate and inform, but their true value is that jump to another world. It might be vastly, wildly different than our own world, or it might be so very similar, comforting, but with only the best or worst of what we have to offer. We pick and choose which worlds we travel to when we pick up a book off a shelf. For some of us, if we can’t find the world that is just right, just what we imagine it should be, we create our own.

The writing of those imaginings is much harder than just writing what I think about real things like life or politics, or what it is to be a mother/wife/daughter/sister/member of the human race. Those things are concrete. They dictate to me what I will write about them. But Fiction? Fiction requires me to dictate to the story what must be written. And that requires dumping out my mental purse for the world to see the little pieces of what I most value, of what I most desire, of what scares me most, and of what turns my mind on.

What I get off on, the real me, not the me that people see, or the one that I choose to show to others, but the one that lives in that car for two hours a day. And that, i think, is what is preventing me from writing more. I guess we all feel like we are freaks on the inside (and maybe on the outside too). It’s fear. Pure fear. Not so much of what others will think of me, but more of what I will think of myself if I see it laid out on paper. What if it is all there, and it isn’t even freaky? What if it is just uninteresting crap? A meaningless, cliched, sentimental, boring, shallow, poorly-executed pile of poo?

I’ve promised myself I’ll work on overcoming that fear. And the only way to do that is to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.

And so I shall write.

Amazing

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Feeling kind of ill after stomach dropped out upon hearing shrieks, screaming, and crying from Rollie in the backyard. He got stung by a yellow jacket. First bee sting in six years. Hasn’t swollen up yet, thank god. Always worry about that, since my Grandma was deathly allergic. Amazing that I knew IMMEDIATELY that it was not a normal Tiller-pissed-me-off scream.

Rolling With the Punches

Friday, May 29th, 2009

So, i am doing a triathlon a week from tomorrow. I am trying not to panic or get wigged out by the fact that my family obligations have shot my training all to hell. I have gotten in two workouts this week. I know that nothing i do now is even going to have an impact on my performance. So frustrating that I’ve worked out and prepared for this and then everything went to hell in a hand basket in the last few weeks of my training. I guess that is just life.

So, i am going to go ahead and do the damn thing. I know I can finish the distance. I just think it is going to be a lot more painful than I planned on it being. I know I will probably have to walk parts of the run, which sucks; My main goal is simply to finish; my in-the-back-of-my-head goal was to finish the run having not walked a bit of it.

I guess sometimes success is not about preparation, but more about having the stones to do something that intimidates you and for which you are unprepared.

Some Days

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

This is just downright scary, but not really surprising to me. A friend received a warning from their company travel agent. I was curious, so I googled it, and it appears that it is a widespread alert (not just some travel agency covering their ass) issued by WorldCue.

“Worldcue® Alert
Severity: Warning Alert

Security:: Civil unrest possible late Nov. 4-early Nov. 5 after U.S. election
results are announced. Avoid demonstrations.

This alert affects United States.

This alert began 28 Oct 2008 16:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 Nov 2008
23:59 GMT.
Event:Presidential election
Date: Nov. 4
Location: Nationwide
Impact: Heightened security; possible civil unrest

Summary
Security forces are preparing for outbreaks of civil unrest after the results of
the Nov. 4 presidential election are announced. Thousands of police officers
will be deployed during and after polling for the election between Republican
John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, which will see either the nation’s first
black president or first female vice president take office. Mass protests are
likely should Obama, who is leading in the run-up to the election, lose the
final vote in a controversial manner. However, postings on dozens of Internet
Web sites have also warned of violence should Obama win.

Small-scale political unrest is likely before, during and after the polls.
Clashes at party rallies and small-scale attacks on party offices are possible.
Record voter turnout could overload polling places on election day, further
raising tensions. Violent unrest is most likely in Chicago, Detroit, Oakland,
Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. but could occur anywhere in the country.

Advice
Expect increased security leading up to and during the election. Avoid political
gatherings.”

Some days i feel hopeful, some days I feel scared. Some days I just think everyone else has lost their mind.

Dogwood Girl Fears Few Things

Friday, October 10th, 2008

But, I admit it. I am scared of looking at my investments. I have not even peeked at them this month. I am an ostrich, head in the sand. Just the thought of it makes me feel weak in the knees, and sick to my stomach.

Have you looked at yours? What was your reaction?

Fear of Finishing

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I am a procrastinator. I am a failed perfectionist. I cannot finish things, because finishing them means putting them out for review, and review deals with stuff that freaks me out like approval, disapproval, praise and criticism. In addition to coming from wild women, I also come from a line of people who are nearly incapable of praise, and downright professional at criticism. Even the slightest bit of approval must come with a dab of “but you didn’t.” To be fair, the last generation is making a concerted effort to focus more on the positive, but it is obvious by the strained and stilted manner in which this new praise is given that this tack goes against the grain of the wood from which my family is made. We are knotty pine, not tiger maple.

All of this is my way of saying that while I do not give a shit what the public say about me as a whole, I care very much what a select few people say about what I choose to create.

I mentioned that one of my new year’s resolutions was to write more, but what I didn’t say was that by “writing more” I meant: Write and finish more fiction, and then let someone who isn’t me read it. It is that “finishing” part that has always been tricky for me. I have countless files laying around my computer unfinished. Snippets of dialog that I overheard, ideas for stories left only as placeholders, half-stories written but never gone back to out of fear of. . . what?

That is the question: What am I scared of? That my fingers will type something on a blank page, thereby making it no longer blank, and that someone will ridicule me for that? Which is funny, because I have so much respect for those who put forth the effort in the first place to create something out of thin air.

I told Todd over beers a few weeks ago that I was actually enjoying writing again, and that I felt so much more confident because of what I had written on Dogwood Girl, and on Metblogs, and by merely clicking Publish and putting my words out into the ether for all to see. It has been freeing. Very rarely have I received a negative word about my writing and in a few instances, I have received praise that has done wonders for my confidence in my ability to string a few words together. I am eternally grateful to those who have bothered to say, “I liked that” or “well-said.”

All of this has worked to give me the push I needed to start writing again, and to really try to finish things. Then what? Well, I haven’t figured that part out yet, and really, I will just be happy to finish a project and let those few whose opinions I value see what I have been up to lately.

I just sent Todd a short story I have been working on the last month or so. His instructions: To print it out, without reading it, so that I can see my work in print. (We have a printer, but right now, we are too poor to buy new print cartridges for it, so we are mooching from his office. Cue King Missile’s Take Stuff From Work here.) I want to do an edit, and then I am going to start having some people look at what I’ve written. I am a little nervous about that, in the same way that I get nervous when I get a new haircut, or wear something that I wouldn’t normally wear.

I think I know what the problem with my work is, or at least what I fear the problem with my work is: I am a decent writer with nothing much interesting to say.

There. I have said it, so maybe when I hear that from others, it won’t sting quite as much. Or maybe since they have read it here, they won’t be scared to tell me the truth. Either way, this fear of finishing is something that I am conquering.

To do: Find new fear. I know I had one around here somewhere. What did I do with it? I just had it. . . .