Step into your wild self. Access your Dark Feminine energy to rediscover your full strength and unlock your untamed power. Recognise dark energies, but don’t fear them. Deconstruct the fortress of the self. Reweave the fabric of your world in innovative, transformative, driven ways. Embrace your Underworld i.e. shadow self, fears, desires; normalise negative emotions, seeing them as an opportunity to embrace authenticity. Allow yourself to experience nuanced emotions. Resist the temptation to bypass. Connect with yourself without neglecting the parts that you may have become disconnected from: reclaim them. Trust your instincts and assessments of the world, they’re usually accurate and you owe yourself self-belief. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Your intuition always sees through the fortresses of personas. Reframe your outlook on your whole existence. Embody the witch / alchemist archetype: Transform everything. Start by transforming your inner life, which will empower you to enact external change (including shifts in consciousness). Expand your vision, expand your knowledge. Only you have the power to hold yourself back from personal fulfilment. Some situations require control, others would be better navigated through an approach based on surrendering. You are the only one with the tools to discern between the two. Aim to be impervious to other people’s visions of your life’s trajectory. Avoid circumstances that don’t allow you to show up as your best, authentic self. Don’t feel a pressure to approach interpersonal relations as if they’re a performance and avoid situations where there is that expectation whenever possible. Healthy relationships don’t require you to change, pretend, cross your own boundaries, or feel depleted or uncomfortable in any way. Tap into childlike wonder and blissful maiden-like playfulness. Connect with nature more often. Be emotionally mature and empowered without losing a sense of connection with your innocence.
A beckoning sign.
I’ve been teetering on a thin line
Something as simple
as a knife twist,
A reframing of purity-
A false sense of security,
It’s coming, one step forward-
The switch has been turned.
The demon has been summoned
I sense the first intimations of life,
feel its claw without being touched,
almost taste its void, hushed
She picks up and licks the knife
it turns into a magic wand in her hand
the open wound morphs into a black hole
I can no longer lick it to exorcise my self
She is free to bleed into me, she’s in control
The last protective layer is pulled off, violently.
After a battle spree
progressing morbidly, artfully
I summon the will
to lull the beast to sleep
before I get silent and still
I’m in it really deep
yet once again manage to make it all seep
out of me as I get ready to take another leap.
In my dream
I was a siren, dwelling
in a pool of blood
filled with corpses
their starved predator;
Musical, aquatic Scheherazade-
unwilling witness, captive,
or cold-blooded accomplice
with a gnawing change of heart-
so not so cold-blooded after all?
Moon-intoxicated, I sensed
your presence from afar,
to the last tidal dream,
I wonder – who am I
the new live prey,
the ghosts of the dead,
Reluctant to find out,
I sing my melody, inwardly
to drown out the sound
of your blood feast.
Lifting the white veil, I open the old, mysterious drawer. Inside, next to a fairy tale-infused wooden music box and some forgotten Christmas and birthday cards that seem to either yearn for my full attention or yearn to be left alone or be destroyed, I see the charming box where the photographs are stored – those prosthetic memories that seem to have developed a life of their own. Where I currently live, few objects that are explicitly mnemonic tend to survive the memorabilia purge I execute regularly sometimes in my attempts at minimalism and sometimes for the sake of symbolically shedding the past and starting afresh – a peculiar habit, perhaps, for someone fascinated with archives and the archival process and antique stores. Any letter or card would have to be extremely emotional, soul-stirring, and potentially heart-wrenching for some reason (for instance reflecting the cavernously deep feelings of the sender) in order to coexist with me for long periods of time. I’d have to feel like throwing it away would be a blasphemous act. Or alternatively, there should be something within that object that propelled my mind to get spiritually irrational and make up a superstition about it, specifically a superstition of what might happen if I got rid of it, so I just let it rest in some corner instead, where it’s cast into oblivion.
Any physical diaries I have ever had have been burnt – I couldn’t get rid of them in any other way: flames are symbolic. The process is more cathartic than deleting a LiveJournal account, but everything has been digitised and that works for me, despite the supposed deprivation of the haptic pleasure and of the magic of writing with a fountain pen in a beguilingly beautiful notebook. With the amazing texture, designs, and cover art of some notebooks nowadays, I’d probably decay with indecision whilst trying to decide what thoughts were noble enough to be written in such a diary anyway, and if I managed to decide, I’d still curse myself whenever I have to cross out one word and I would embellish the hell out of those noble thoughts to the point where it would be more of an exercise in literary style, imagination, and language rather than one in authenticity, self-awareness, or memory preservation. I suppose I’ll stick to the occasional LiveJournal entries and notes on my phone for that.
I have also deleted many photographs along the years and there are long chapters in my life that only ever still exist, in some vague, distorted form, in my mind. Rather than doing so out of an impulse or lapse in judgement, it was always planned and I have always been at peace with it, which is even more sacrilegious. Freud would be disappointed – he praised the power of photography to act as a reliable mnemonic device, since physical proof of a memory combats the decay the memory would face if it were only stored in one’s mind – hence liable to distortions over time. In his view, diaries, photographs, cards, are all part of a chain of mnemonic devices which free us, helping us unload the burden that we would have to hold if memories were permanently retained in our minds. They are extensions of identity, of your inner life, aiding our capacity to remember, which in turn allows us to absorb new information and conceive fresh thoughts. Eh, anyway, family photos, in particular, lie by omission – in addition to being an enemy to individuality, which is sacrificed in favour of an unreal collective past. Belonging whilst losing one’s self. Not to mention the notion of counter-memory and how trying to retain the past might only bring about its destruction, ultimately alienating you from your past and from life and making you construct false or weirdly altered memories. Photographic self-obliteration as a form of resurrection or metamorphosis. The intersection between the other and the self, photographic depiction and identity: the end of existence.
I open the charming, memory-preserving or memory-annihilating box. The photo album has an imposing, magnetic presence. As I turn the pages, I remember most of the photos, so they’re hardly nostalgic artefacts. I’m quite desensitised due to this observation and the fact that nothing seems to elicit an emotional response. But then I reach one portrait that I must have seen before, surely, and yet there’s something I haven’t read on her face before. Am I imagining this? It seems uncanny. The girl in the picture, a defying, atemporal doppleganger, an embodiment of a spectral condition, seems to want to tell me “I refuse to exist as an afterthought in this simulacrum”. She wants to step out of the frame and haunt. “I want to smell like Alien, not naphthalene. And this curse of only seeing the light every few years during the holidays…” She reprimands me for forgetting her, for misunderstanding and misconstructing her, for only reanimating her as a “Screen Memory” on rare occasions. I want to hug her. Tell her she is more myself than I am, in a way. Tell her she wouldn’t like it out here. But I remain silent. My expectation of chasing decaying memory traces has turned into an uncanny Blow-Up moment as I catch a glimpse of resignation and almost grief on her face. As I notice this, the door to the unconscious is slightly open, but not enough for her to escape. I know I was supposed to integrate her. But she will be here until next time, feeling trapped. And I will still feel both protective and afraid of her. Perhaps next Christmas it will be different.
There has been a paradigm shift in the sense that in the past I was obsessed with our ephemeral nature and I used to drown in ruminations about mortality – not that I’m immune to that now, but I feel the focus is now on something else. Initially, this shifted towards the idea of rebirth and re-emerging from myself and leaving behind any psychological material, any thought patterns, any people, events, or memories that no longer serve me and that I need to shed in order to become a better version of me or step into a new, more enlightened self. The idea of identity is very limited – there’s this tension between being and establishing an identity because the latter is usually based on worldly things- accumulating things e.g whatever your idea of success is or knowledge. I’m reading an interesting book about the difference between knowledge and self-knowledge, which I will elaborate soon. You’ll still have this nostalgia for who you used to be, you’ll be haunted by the ghosts of past versions of you, with their own dreams. Unless you are able to shed all those layers and not repress but step out of that state towards a new you and embrace the now, embrace the current experience and let yourself be guided by the subtle currents of mindfulness and gravitate towards the reality of wholeness.
The difference between knowledge and self-knowledge is that objective knowledge is disembodied knowledge; it can be alienating and, paradoxically, it’s all about ‘me, me, me’, about how you can profit from something, how you can use information and map out the structure of reality in such a way that it allows you to manipulate the reality around you. And it’s focused on the wrong values like being in control (because it’s the realm of the ego), having a sense of power and control over others – which makes you feel good. At the opposite pole, you have self-knowledge, which is a world-centred view of the self: it’s all about felt experience and how you relate to the world around you, to nature, to people. Self-knowledge is used here in the sense of embodied knowledge and integrated information and it’s all about your body’s attunement to the world and about felt relationship and felt experience, when parts of you become illuminated. It’s not about thinking about the self in limiting, ego-driven ways, on the contrary, it’s about turning the focus towards the world and being in harmony with the world rather than trying to establish order and control. It’s not about control, it’s about surrender in a way, and about being present in the world and allowing yourself to integrate all aspects of the self as well. It’s something that reaches the depth of who you are by shedding all those layers that you were perhaps conditioned or wired to adopt. When you do that you are able to experience the wholeness of the world and the fluidity of being as well. And you will be able to resonate with the world around you and your entire world has the potential to change in a very beneficial way.
Self-integration should make you get rid of anxious self-conscious musings. By embracing all those aspects, you are able to become yourself. You can just witness emotions- this is a classical stoic teaching- you can witness an emotion – no need to numb it down- then distance yourself from it, allow it to pass, observe it, learn what you need from it, and then move on, with that knowledge in mind. As long as you are attuned, your body is attuned, your whole being is attuned to the diversity and the wholeness of the world, I believe that is the secret to happiness, inner peace, harmony, and comfort – being at ease with yourself. It’s not always easy; we do have a tendency to let certain things define us like a certain emotion especially if it’s a negative emotion, one that you’ve experienced too many times you feel like you might let it define you – especially if external factors like people around are also pointing that out, emphasising that or only choosing to see that. So you shouldn’t let yourself be defined or tainted by anyone’s perception of you, by your own focus on a particular negative reaction or emotion, because you are so much more than that.
Regarding success, even when you want to separate yourself from other people’s ideas of success you have to do it successfully so in a way that feels successful to you based on your own frame of reference or system of values which means you have to have a lot of faith in that in order for it to withstand the currents of opposing views. Spirituality tells us we are innately worthy, that worth should not be attached to external factors. I think for me success would be the idea of integration and harmony, especially inner peace. That looks a certain way, I have a vision of what it means. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have the capacity to make things vanish. The capacity to move on, step into new selves is important to me.
This made me think of that line from The Tree of Life which I will always remember- amazing film- the dichotomy refers to what I was talking about before about the self-centred view of the world versus when you look outwards and try to establish a relationship and with the world around you based on harmony.
“The nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.”
As beautiful and poetic as it sounds, I have always had mixed feelings about this quote. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked? That’s not the way. But I can see what they mean: the way of Grace is about transcendence; it refers to not letting external things affect you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you stay there and endure hardship and mistreatment, it just means you are strong – it’s about real power and transcending and about how the other – the one who was metaphorically referred to as nature has a false sense of power gravitating around the concepts of control, entitlement, order, wanting to establish order rather than focusing on harmony. Seeing the darkness in everything, which is basically a reflection of what is within. Not that there’s no darkness around you, but if you only see that, that says something about what’s inside you. Grace, on the other hand, only accepts insults and injuries in the sense that those things don’t change grace; there is something immutable about grace that makes it so that she doesn’t change in the face of adversity to the core. Her system of values doesn’t change. Things that don’t matter can change. So in this sense I do agree with the way of grace, however I have my doubts about the way this is expressed. I do stand by stoicism and the stoic world view, I always have. These are not opposites: You can preach about the fluidity of the self whilst at the same time holding onto that immutable aspect of you. A balance between the way of grace and of nature would probably be ideal – taking the best characteristics out of each and synthesising them and there you have it. This is kind of like how self knowledge and knowledge have to go hand in hand to be balanced and the more one grows the other one has to grow with it. As you cultivate your objective knowledge, the one responsible for accumulating information to use it in certain ways, you should also work on and nurture your self-knowledge.
The two ways of seeing the world (self-centred & world-centred) are also reflected in Only Lovers Left Alive through the following encounter between the two protagonists. Tilda Swinton plays an insightful vampire, sharing her perspective with her perpetually despondent blood-drinking lover.
Eve: “How can you have lived for so long and still not get it? This self obsession is a waste of living. It could be spent on surviving things, appreciating nature, nurturing kindness and friendship, and… dancing.”
How is life? A work in progress. Just like me. I’m constantly growing and learning; acquiring knowledge of what fascinates me is one of my enduring obsessions. There is definitely more that’s unchanging and relentless about me (including, paradoxically, my regenerative strength), but it’s much easier and more palpable to articulate the ways in which I feel I have changed or the areas in which I invite change. In my life I have shifted from cynicism to idealism to optimistic nihilism to a sort of hedonism to aestheticism (I know I’m merging philosophical and artistic concepts here, but I think of them more widely, as approaches to life), and there have been times when I have ricocheted among them. I’ve spent some time in what may be considered an adrift state, but this has often led to acquiring better knowledge of what I see myself doing, what I enjoy and what I’m good at, a realignment with my deep wishes and interests, and attunement with myself, in all my glory and imperfection. On that note, add an increasing willpower to either embrace or change and improve imperfections, case by case, because that approach makes sense the most, a balance between personal development and contentment is key, and both complaining and self-pity are the most useless ways to spend your energy. Unless you write it down on a blog or capitalise on it or use it as fuel to express yourself through other creative outlets, in which case you can be relatable, earn something, or it can be cathartic. With that being said, perfectionism should be kept within limits, otherwise it becomes a sad quest.
After emerging with more self-knowledge regarding what fulfils me, plans have crystallised, but I need to maintain a healthy self-discipline in areas that are essential to my functioning and leading to a more substantial well-being rather than dopamine rewards. Building self-discipline is a challenge for most, and I’m the type of person who has always been most driven by spontaneous bursts of energy and motivation and outpourings of inspiration more than consistency and routine. I’m naturally inclined towards having a whimsical rather than methodical approach to life, with a lifestyle that may seem chaotic to some, though I can adapt and push myself to add order to chaos. I plan daily routines, but I sometimes end up doing what feels best ultimately, if I can afford to. This has worked for me creatively, in the past, but it’s not a viable or sustainable option as I age and have more responsibilities. I believe personality is a fluid thing, and thus I can adapt to something different and more efficient, but it takes a lot of deliberate effort to change something that has become ingrained in your being. I’m on the right track, though, because I’m getting into the habit of being more productive even when I’m not feeling at my 100 percent.
I want to put myself in the way of beauty and in the way of inspiration and of good things happening, even when my willpower is somewhat tentative- as opposed to resorting to taking the easy way out, or prioritising self-indulgence in the form of distractions, of whatever nature, and yielding to unproductive mental traps that get me stuck, creatively or otherwise. “Everything in moderation, including moderation” as Wilde said. Also, although focusing on materialising plans is necessary, it should be noted that this will definitely not be achieved by obsessing and thinking about the future, but by living in the now and taking steps towards tangible results- even small steps make a contribution. You’d think this should be obvious, but my brain often begs to differ for some reason. Obsessing over things and slipping into problems with self-discipline used to be my Achilles’ heel, but it’s something that I’ve focused on altering and dedication truly helps you forge new neural pathways. On another note, doing good deeds has a very uplifting power and effect for me. So does inspiring someone, either through my words or activity. I used to receive personal, touching messages online, in which people mentioned how I posted, wrote, or quoted the right things at the right times for them to see or read and how they’ve been inspired or helped by posts and that makes me smile. I like influencing and inspiring people, and this realisation has made me reconsider the appeal of certain paths to me.
I should probably nurture my dual & complicated relationship with vulnerability. I know better than to associate vulnerability with weakness, I know it can be empowering and unifying and brave, and yet, I find it so unnatural to open up entirely, I always have, partly because I don’t want to put myself in the position of allowing others to have full access to everything I am, partly because I don’t know how to convey things in an ideal way that makes me feel satisfied because I haven’t figured everything out but also partly because I’m at a point where I need to prioritise other things and don’t feel like I need to make many connections in order to be content. I’m also someone who doesn’t need constant contact to validate a friendship and actually in my book giving each other space and allowing yourselves to fall back into place and reach out to each other whenever you both need or feel propelled to is a love language. Also, it’s quite rare for me to fully resonate with another person so whenever it happens, when everything just flows and feels right I often feel this compulsion to protect it, and worry that there will come a moment when I might say or do something that alienates them, which triggers an uncharacteristic fear of abandonment. There are psychological shadows that I still need to integrate. I think it’s not uncommon, I think a lot of people curate their thoughts and feelings to express mostly positive or flattering ones, especially online. Within the context of a relationship, ironically, not wanting to give all of you can be considered a fear in itself, of sacrificing, of being tamed, subdued, sucked into, or simply, too dependent or entangled with someone else. Actually, I used to be quite the opposite in the sense that I felt like sharing many thoughts with others, I poured my mind and heart out. I still kind of do that, yet, on another level, perhaps emotionally, I’ve never fully given myself, in a way. At least I never feel like I do or that it’s beneficial. It’s also partly because we are all made of multitudes. Even though, in theory, I acknowledge that when you connect and give love (platonic, romantic, or of whatever nature), in a way, there is strength in putting yourself on that path, no matter what happens. But what happens if you become so enmeshed that you forget where you stop and the other begins? What happens when someone doesn’t act the way you expect him or her to? What happens when someone changes?
What else am I still in the process of learning? Learning to let go. Of detrimental or fruitless thought patterns, of the burden of roles other people may cast me in through assumptions or expectations because sometimes I’m not easy to read and other times I’m pretty straightforward and transparent, letting go of my own expectations from everyone in favour of focusing on whomever resonates with me and I resonate with, of unnecessary prohibitions and restraints uttered by a part of my psyche that I keep silencing, instead of reconciling with or making sense of in order to change it.
What was that, right there?
Your sigh… a sign of weariness, blasé indifference, the content of decadence, spiritual relief?
Concealed contempt, a remembrance of loss, emotional capitulation, or repressed agony?
No, it was actually me remembering your intrusive habit of analysing nonverbal cues and how in moments like these it tends to rub me the wrong way. Consider it a sign of my discontent with this dynamic.
We should look into that, I’m sure there’s a reason for it. And for building invisible barriers of psychological impenetrability and feeling resentment whenever I try to cross them. Perhaps it’s because…
Hilarious. You’re talking about trespassing, excavating, and infusing. There’s a way to enter someone’s inner world, force and a lack of subtlety are usually not the way. And seriously…The fact that you get visibly and, depending on your familiarity or affinity with the observer, often vocally irritated when the same treatment of psyche dissection is being inflicted upon you without consent…Now, what was that golden rule of Confucius?
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves?
That’s probably misattributed. And a cautionary statement more than a rule. Give it another shot.
To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it!
…Also not a rule. And I’ll be buried with my grudges.
Not an ethical rule, but a self-help rule. Look, I know, but are you truly bothered or just digging up reasons to be dissatisfied with and closed off to me?
It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.
You don’t actually live by that. Also, preaching about trust… Your obsessive devotion to double standards is the gateway drug to narcissism. But I’ll look past this because I see a version of myself in you.
Your dogmatic devotion to projection under the disguise of spiritual awareness is a gateway drug to psychotic solipsism.
A game of subconscious associations
There is a cute game you can play with someone you’re just getting to know – potential friends or romantic partners. It’s pretty old and well-known and as questionable as dream symbolism interpretations; I unpublished this blog entry before because although it’s associated with relational psychology, it can be considered pseudo-psychology, but here we go.
- What is your favourite colour? And tell me three reasons why.
- What is your favourite animal? And why? Describe them using three adjectives.
- What is your favourite body or form of water? Again, list three qualities behind your choice.
Answer these questions for yourself now too, before you read further into this. Try not to use superficial, unimaginative reasons.
Like other associations that tap into your subconscious, each answer supposedly reveals other aspects about themselves:
- How you describe your favourite colour reveals how you view yourself.
- The qualities you attribute to your favourite animal represent what your ideal romantic partner is like. Another version of this says it actually represents how others view you.
- The last question refers to how you perceive your sexuality or your attitude towards sex and/or love.
Even if the associations are merely speculative, it could nonetheless be interesting to see at least how they/you relate to them. And it’s always good to get a sense of people’s relationships with animals so you can determine any red flags like psychopathy. These were my answers, followed by reflections.
- Sometimes it’s black, but that’s technically not a colour and also, for me it’s more of an aesthetic preference regarding fashion style and hair. In this context I associate black with the words dark, elegant, and mysterious. Otherwise, it’s definitely blue – leaning towards dark turquoise hues. I associate blue with freedom, fluidity, serenity, and depth. As far as the implications are concerned, I’m not so sure about ‘serene’. I have a fluid personality, and serenity only applies sometimes, so it’s not a fixed defining characteristic. Because I always oscillate between black and blue when someone asks this question in any context, perhaps this also hints at my dislike for limitations to a particular way of being, or perhaps it’s about seeming versus being.
- Dogs, wolves, snow leopards, cats, or polar bears? But I also like deer! I can’t pick one.
It’s not easy to choose between cats and dogs when it comes to domestic animals, but I’d say my favourites are dogs. Typically, I’d describe them as cute, friendly, affectionate, and loyal.
I have loved polar bears ever since I was little, probably ever since I read a Romanian story, “Fram, the polar bear”; I love polar bears because they are adorable and peaceful (when they’re not bothered or hunting), and I guess also because I associate them with my childhood (hence a purer perception of the world). It’s fascinating and calming to watch documentaries about polar bears; I like their whole vibe and that they live in the middle of icy nowhere.
I also admire snow leopards a lot, because they’re beautiful, agile and strong, elusive, and solitary, living their best life in the mountains. Nicknamed “Ghosts of the mountains”, they are crepuscular, like me. Despite their wild, predatorial nature, they don’t generally attack humans, even when they’re feeding. They can be found thriving at the highest altitudes.
Deer are pretty transfixing to me because they’re graceful, peaceful, and they have depth and gentleness in their eyes.
Anyway, since I couldn’t pick one, I’m gonna say I appreciate all these traits. Taking into account the other interpretation of this question, as in, if this question actually shows how others view me rather than what I want in a partner, then the feline would probably be the most accurate. My spirit animal is probably a feline. A shapeshifting feline: a cat morphing into a leopard at will.
- My favourite body of water would be small streams/creeks/rivers that you can find in the woods. So relaxing and refreshing, elevating, ever flowing. I also like lakes that you can find in certain caves, the ones with transparent crystalline blue water. Because they are enigmatic, pristine, and hidden. I love waterfalls, but I can’t find the right words to fully describe why. Maybe I like their impetuousness and dreaminess. I love the sea and its unpredictability; I especially like being in it when it is windy or after a storm when the waves are tumultuous. Not going to attempt to interpret all these qualities in relation to the subjects of sex and love; I suppose all of this could mean my feelings towards sex and/or love represent an enigma even for me, that I have a changing attitude in this regard or I appreciate variety and self-exploration.
Window to the soul
I watched her face
as she integrated all of them
inside her being
the change was subtle
I was attuned to her
recognising the look
of the split self
others couldn’t tell
why she seemed off-
the warning signs,
so tragically striking
Her soul seemed made
of something solemn, unrelenting-
I trusted she could bounce back
from the lowest circles of hell.
Slice-of-life nostalgia & oneiric landscapes
For me, episodes akin to the Proustian Madeleine cake epiphany are often closely interrelated with one category of the uncanny. There are certain sudden, surreal ‘triggers’ that evoke images from a distant past in a most bizarre manner – the thing is, it’s not always clear whether the memories are real, constructed from narratives, films, and other media, or dream fragments. But they feel real. And I feel like I catch a glimpse into a distant world – again, it’s just a feeling, but I would say this counts as a spiritual experience at times. I used to call this “the fairy tale sentiment”. I will now focus on the glimpses into my own memories rather than those into the more vague “memories” of other lives, which are likely to be fabricated. The aforementioned evocative elements are rarely direct links to that specific memory piece, but they project me in a trance for like 2 seconds whilst those nostalgic images flash in my head. Sometimes it’s not even a particularly visually striking experience, it’s more about the texture of the moment, about ethereal scents, or glitter, pearlescent lights, fashion fabrics; the best type of experience is when several such elements come together. Such moments have an intoxicating effect.
Here’s one instance in which the memory that is summoned up is quite intuitive: a certain piece of fabric, combined with glitter and with a particular perfume – Alien by Mugler let’s say – together recreate a very distant memory of my childhood self in a sparkly, silver sequin-adorned ballerina dress (I used to do ballet, dance, and rhythmic gymnastics so at least the core motifs do belong to a real memory), on a stage with dark curtains. The auditorium was also graced with some familiar visages and eyes that are no longer filled with light in our world. I never remember the actual dances or even the feeling of being on a stage dancing at that age. I just experience those seemingly insignificant, yet memory-preserving details enveloped in obscurity.
Sometimes, in stream-of-consciousness style, this scene cuts to the next one – this time set outside, with me still in one of my dance costumes, only this time I’m holding my favourite doll; she is very special to me. I place the doll standing up in my mother’s open bag, so she can see the world like us. As we walk along a fountain, I hear loud noises and sense agitation behind us. Looking back, I see young adults or adolescents gathering together in a circle like animal predators looking down to check out something on the ground whilst constantly chattering about something I can’t hear from that distance, but presume it’s nonsense. They seem so intrigued. What could it be? What could this group of almost adults be so exuberant about? I look at my mother’s bag. I start panicking: she’s gone. Mom, they’re stealing my doll!! Let’s go back and take her please. I start crying. Or not. I don’t remember. But I was pretty sad. And even more importantly, I felt disappointed and betrayed by my mother in that moment and who knows for how long after that – who knows anything about the inner time of a child? Betrayed, bewildered, and bereft of my “Darling, dearest, dead” doll. For some reason, despite my plights, my mother refused to go back with me and retrieve it from them. I don’t remember what she said, but I think she maybe didn’t notice or want to notice that it was happening right in that moment. In retrospect, this memory doesn’t even make sense. Not in the sense that’s it’s not real, or at least partially real, but in the sense that it’s ridiculous. Why would an entire group of students or whatever be so excited about a doll? Was it a group of freaky doll fetishists? Why would they gather together jubilantly in a circle as if about to perform a satanic ritual or act like they’d never seen a doll in their life? And why would they want to steal it from a sweet (on the surface and in public at least) little girl like I was, leaving the scene super pleased with themselves? Even more importantly, how was this such a memorable event for me? I can’t remember my age at that time, but my pov was very close to the ground, so I can only imagine. If this is a screen memory, I wonder what it masks. I know that one’s mind also stores moments that have been particularly emotionally impactful in one way or another, but how come the very scarce memories I have dating back so far are mostly of negative incidents, mini-trauma, or my own mischief? What about the other extreme? I don’t actually remember a time when I felt particularly happy from back then – I’m glad I have pictures to document it though because there were a few.
Anyway, I wish I could turn back time just to bestow haunting powers upon my doll and warn them with a scary look on my face so they would gradually get so paranoid they’d convince themselves it was true. Happy Halloween Season!
Another memory, that most psychology discourses would deem unreal, constructed, and yet, living quite vividly in my mind is of me as an actual baby crawling onto this glistening white fabric that somehow covers both the floor and the table where my extended family was feasting. I was just minding my own business in my crystal globe, fascinated with the brightness of the room and of being. To be honest the aesthetic looked more like a detergent commercial. But it didn’t matter. I was all there for it: for being alive and exploring silky sheets.
Another type of uncanny experience is given by recurring dreams, particularly focusing on landscapes I’ve inhabited in my dreams rather than actions. Ever since I was little I revisited several unknown places in my dreaming life, some of them so pretty and full of good energy that it’s a sin they don’t exist. For instance: I often find myself in this space filled with abundant ever-expanding vegetation over an abandoned railway and dilapidated trains. Brutalist, sci-fi architectural structures bless the surroundings. Somewhere in the vicinity, there’s an agitated turquoise body of water. The slightly dystopian landscape is somewhat reminiscent of Tarkovsky’s Zone, which of course, I wasn’t aware of when I first had this dream. I try not to wander in plain sight, as if hiding from something or someone who is following me. Or perhaps I’m trying to find someone’s traces in order to save their life. Still, I don’t think this dream is about fear. I might just as well play hide-and-seek, except I keep moving because I can’t find the perfect spot.
This dream image morphs into a totally different location, buzzing with people and little shops, like a scintillating outdoors bazaar. More than that, it’s an entire imaginary city designed by this polarising Unconscious with layers upon layers of life and vivacity, scents lingering as I pass by the fragrance shops, hills to climb, and fountains to rest on to dread the time of waking up if you’re lucid dreaming. I know so many narrow alleys in the city and idyllic shortcuts to get to my favourite places in that sanctuary. Sometimes the city restructures itself in real time. The geography is resplendent, alive. But I know where to go for some peace and quiet- the immutable place where the noise of the crowd ends and the singing of the sirens begins.
Fast forward to another oneiric landscape, this time drenched in scarlet, desert-like, with ominous volcanos. I always ended up there, on top, by following a sinuous trail. There is a lot of tension in the air. Still, not as much as the one present within the ultimate nightmare, featuring…the lift. How can I forget the lift. Probably the most frequently reoccurring oneiric space I find myself in. And I’m usually terrified because, of course, it’s malfunctioning (I don’t have a problem with lifts in real life). Yet in this nightmare, it either races up or descends at an unreal, flesh-unfolding speed and clearly way beyond the 14 floors of the building. Sometimes it stops. And I can’t move. Because if I made the slightest movement my body would be torn apart by the metallic door.