Thursday, March 18, 2010
Inside what's left of my skin...
I have always had vivid dreams, and I usually can remember most of them. I usually spend some time trying to figure out what the heck my dream means or what it's telling me or saying about me. I think that dreams are probably made up of both memory and the things that have been relegated to the subconscious maybe because we can't focus on them consciously for whatever reason. It's interesting that originally the word dream meant joy or gladness. Interesting because most of my dreams are anything but joyful. They usually revolve around something that plays a part in my life but it gets turned upside down and inside out. Freakin' weird is what they are. Like my grandmother turned axe murderer. Actually, now that I think on that one, it's probably not so weird. I saw her chop off a chicken's head (yes, with an axe) and everything else she did to get it to the cooking pot. In my dreams, however, she was after my brothers and me. This was one of my regular childhood nightmares.
Last night, I dreamed about a place where everyone was covered in some kind of strange...rubber cement like stuff. It wasn't sticky, but it was pliable. The people in this place were not very friendly, and in fact, constantly looked for anyone who was different in any way. Of course, that would be me. The punishment for being different was that the "skin" was removed and the person vaporized. Now I have no idea why the skin had to be removed if the person was just going to be vaporized anyway (maybe the skin was really a protective cover?), but who can explain dreams? I'm fairly certain that Freud could find something in my dream that would represent sex in some way, shape or form. I'm not big on believing it all winds down to that. So if anything of a sexual nature can be found in my dream, just keep it to yourself. All I know is that I really got into the artist's work from an earlier post--Elizabeth Ingraham's fascinating and strangely disturbing "skins," which were meant to represent the mental or emotional things women take in or take on. Society has placed these labels on women for so long, and only since my generation have women tried to buck the system. Her site describes most of the "interactive" skins and how she portrayed the various labels. Some were beautiful, like the one named Regret, made with lace and covered with beads and shells. Ms. Ingraham says that Regret "...rattles at the slightest touch, producing faint echos of love and loss." I'd say that's about right except my echos would not be faint. Accommodation was constructed so that she would open up and become larger by pulling on a row of snaps. "After becoming large enough to accommodate virtually anything, she then obligingly snaps back up into her normal size and shape." Interesting that it's someone else that has to pull the snaps to open and then shut them back up. Accommodation doesn't seem to be in control of what she's accommodating. Guilt was pictured in my earlier post, but there were no words that described her on Ms. Ingraham's site. Guilt appears to have seams or zippers over most of her "body." Perhaps as she tries to atone for each of her offenses (inadequacies) each unzipped area pours out red fabric. Self-flagellation, drawing blood whether by scourging the outside or ripping ourselves apart from the inside.
As I said, I've always carried a boat-load of guilt. For anything and everything. Things I did and things I didn't do. Until recently, that is. Now I'm not so much feeling all that guilt. I guess by not being bombarded with stress and requests and feelings of having to make everyone happy, along with doing whatever I can to make myself feel better, there really isn't anything to feel guilty about right now. Although I did feel guilty about selfishly taking so much time for myself at first. Now I feel okay about saying no when it is what I really want to say. I don't say it to everything now, but I didn't used to say it to anything. Making some progress in the last seven or eight months, no? Today I realize that not feeling guilty is not the same as not caring. Big load off my mind, because I was really feeling guilty about not caring. Never ever want to not care. Thinking about my dream made me realize that no one else can make us feel guilty--we do it all to ourselves and usually over our own ridiculously high expectations. Thanks, Ms. Ingraham.
Too bad I had to get vaporized to figure it out.
(Image from this post is entitled "Ray Bradbury 2010" and is found at workingearth at Etsy.)
(Along with Ms. Ingraham's "Skin" exhibition, an experimental dance performance was given at La MaMa Theater in New York in 2005 based on the "Skin" concept. The performers eventually "...become so wrapped up in societal expectations and others' opinions that they become mummies. After being fully bound in tape and adorned in plaster, they are left alone for us to consider: real, struggling people trapped inside someone else's dressing. Their emergence from the oppressive tape that binds them is a turning point in the story." Read more at offoffonline.com.)