Multiples Of One
2014; November 8:
I’m searching for someone. A missing part of myself.
Wandering through a mall, I stop at a presentation demo showcasing make up artists transforming people into human-animal hybrids with paint and prosthetics so detailed that they look like genuine genetically engineered, gene-spliced creatures. Displayed out front in barbershop chairs backed by a mirrored wall are finished samples; I look behind the scenes, see the magic happening— so I know it is not actually genetic manipulation.
Borrowing a pogo-stick sort of hopper thing from an adjacent kiosk, I bounce away to check at a toy store, which I discover is now almost empty from a going out of business sale. A part of me is there, but it is not who I thought I’m looking for. I leave with a toy Voltron (lions, of course). I bounce back to return the hopper, seeing the presentation crew prepping more volunteers off to the side. I continue my quest elsewhere on foot, but now I’m a hamster. I locate who I’m looking for, and find my soul mate: the yang to my yin. Although he looks and feels like Gevrall, somehow I Know this is really an artificially flavored simulacrum.
When we meet, he begins alternating between human and hamster form, and then so do I. He insists we can’t be together until we find a way to be fully human again.
So we reluctantly part ways, and seek a means to break our curse. We run into each other again, and this time he is morphing from human to hamster to ferret, while I am morphing back and forth into a hedgehog. Our anguish is palpable— a horrid, living thing. Stealing a few too brief but glorious moments in each others’ presence, we fret over our dilemma like Romeo and Juliet. We wonder if we could make our relationship work as we are, but decide to separate to continue our quest.
We meet one more time in some anonymous glass trinket shop, and regrettably still no resolution has been found. Shamed by his malady, but not giving up hope, he ventures away from the mall indefinitely. Away from me.
A dreamscape shift, and I’m outside.
I resent the unnecessary complication of simplicity, and its resultant inefficiency.
The adult world is so cluttered with over complication. I miss childhood. I miss who I used to be, when I was a kid. Who I could be because I was a child.
Maybe it’s because I’m nearly age 40, but I’ve been thinking about her a lot recently. What I’ve gained; what I’ve lost by “growing up”.
Fortunately, I’m still on speaking terms with my younger self:
I love the way you are. It's who I am— so I don't have to try hard.
I remember all those crazy things you said. You left them running through my head.
And the truth is that I really miss all those crazy things we did. Didn't think about it… just went with it. You're always there, you're everywhere. And, right now, I wish you were here.(this is my dream journal, so I’m not legally obligated to give credit to Avril Lavigne)
And she was here— which is to say, there _I_ was… me as I am now, watching myself as I was way back then-- a child, maybe 6 years old-- squatting by and staring into a water puddle on the sidewalk, the remnant of a hardy summer rain. Back then, she wore her hair long enough for pony tails, which was often her preferred style. Feels like morning, and locale is reminiscent of a small town suburb, like the ones I grew up in, when I took breaks from circus life. For some reason, older me is out walking a toy Voltron on a leash when I… “find” myself. Voltron might represent a kind of matryoshka doll or Kurlan naiskos; and also a totem of my being a Leo.
Me now, I am a reflection of my former self-- as if seen through a dirty mirror with my pixie hair cut, literally & metaphorically standing in the girl’s shadow behind her, looking over her shoulder as I listen to what she has to tell me.
Now, I’m talking to myself. Again.
“What we like,” young me continued, while casually moving the tip of a small stick fallen from a tree through the puddle in a figure 8 motion “—what we ARE like—is always changing. We don’t live in the moment. We are not who we are. We are suggestible, allowing ourselves to be influenced. We act as—and ON— what we were and what others are… and what others say we are.” Me and mini-Voltron stood silently, but attentive beside her.
Younger me paused, staring a moment longer at the puddle, before standing up to look at me.
She still held on to that stick.
“We like those who understand us, who know us--” she told me, “even when we forget ourselves.”
She paused again… seemingly finished.
“This is why,” young me sagely revealed, “old people, like you, are the future.”
I looked at her askance. Old? Me?
“I’m 37,” said I, with a smirk, amused by my cunning Monty Python reference, “I’m not old.”
Even though I am actually 39. Is that right? I don’t keep track of my age anymore. I suck at math, but I remember I was born in ’75--- so you do the math.
I don’t lie about my age— defying yet another womanly cliché, I was only making a joke.
To which younger me simply shrugged without looking up at me, her gaze directed somewhere down the street; nonchalant, as if to say “whatever” or “you know what I mean”.
I knew what she meant. Her pronouncement may seem contradictory to conventional wisdom, which says children are the future.
But “old” people like me remember a world before the Internets.
And then I am being summoned. I can sense a transition bridge forming, my dreaming merges into someone else’s.
But before I go, early me looks me in the eyes, holds up one finger and says, “First” with a tone and mannerism that indicates a word association, so I say, “Love”. A second finger sequentially joins the first, and she says “Second”, to which I reply “Chance”.
As I anticipated, she adds a third finger, saying, “Third”-- I kindly reciprocate with “Act”.
Bits and pieces of that some other mind comingle and blend into mine, as the me of yesterday fades away, momentarily co-creating a dreamscape, as each dream overlaps until I fully cross over.
I don’t always dream walk, but when I do, I prefer going into the most interesting people in the world.
Pulled into the dreaming of an excellent and favorite actress of mine playing the main character in one of my favorite shows ever--- Fifth Wall. The well known semi-spin off of the Star Quest TV series, currently in its third season. The show is about a contemporary TV cast and crew producing a sci-fi series called Matryoshka, with the same 1970s sci-fi aesthetic used in the original Star Quest series. The series comments on and reveals the creative, political and business aspects behind the scenes of making a TV series. Plus, a few episodes are actually full episodes from the sci-fi spin off they are making.
She played a Doctor Who type role in a drama cleverly and brilliantly combining the cerebral elements of Andromeda with those of House and Studio 60.
I say played, past tense, because... this 30-ish year old Indian woman took her character so seriously that she gradually began thinking she IS the character--- experiencing a fascinating psychotic break… a personality/ identity schism.
Her actual identity increasingly became suppressed and overwritten by her fictional persona.
In an interesting and innovative creative decision, the show runners began integrating this development into her character— before she had to be written out of the series recently for obvious reasons. Heather Bishop is lobbying on Professor Nelson’s behalf to get her sent to The Prometheus Institute for observation and treatment.
Since I am not restricted by doctor-patient confidentiality, this is the story of what I saw in her head…