The other night my brain did that thing where I have waking nightmares and sleep paralysis, and I hate that shit.
Right after I graduated from college, during my brief stint in grad school before I realized it was a waste of time and money, three very important things happened: (1) I got really into The X-Files, (2) I saw The Notebook and realized Ryan Gosling was a crazy, crazy creepo, and (3) I taught myself how to control the action in my dreams. Lucid dreaming is almost automatic for me, but then again that's just the awareness of being in a dream, and not controlling the action.
But sometimes the dream fights back and won't let me take charge, and then it makes fun of me. It's like my psyche is lashing back over having too much control and starts to fuck with me. So I will dream about Ryan Gosling, for example, and then my dream will make him speak, and speaking completely defeats the purpose of people like Ryan Gosling, who is not a real person at all. If he had a voice like, say, LA Confidential-era Russell Crowe or Fabulous Baker Boys-era Jeff Bridges or always-era Paul Newman, things would be different. But he doesn't. He speaks like Ryan Gosling, or an audible abusive relationship, which means he always sounds a little bit drunk and kinda pervy and sensitive to the point of serious violence. He's best in photographs with feminist thought bubbles and Drive.
So Ryan Gosling and dream-Rassles are in an elevator boudoir, and I am like, "Oh, this dream is about to get ab-tastic" and then Ryan Gosling speaks, and dream-Rassles is all, "No good. Talk like Bruce Willis" and he totally ignores me and smirks and then dream-me is all, "shut UP Ryan Gosling" and Ryan Gosling is all, "u wan me ta shoo urp n hid mer emoshins? Za wah u wan?" and I'm all "YES" and he takes off his shirt and starts to fucking cry, wiping his nose on the bedsheets, and I'm like "How about this - shut your mouth or I'll kick your teeth down your throat and I'll shut it for you" and he smashes a window and starts carving my name into his arm with a giant shard of glass and then he just looks at me. Like a horny Labrador. And I'm all "stop eyefucking me, Gosling" and then he gets stigmata and a bunch of Golden Globe nominations.
But that wasn't my nightmare.
For those who aren't familiar with it--during that stretch of time between wakefulness and legit sleep, if you can slide yourself in there...that's how you start actively influencing your dreams. At least, that's how it works with me. Usually I have to make the conscious decision before I sleep.
The problem is this: sometimes I don't make the decision and my brain gets switched around, so instead of me consciously controlling the dream, I have no idea I am dreaming and everything is fucking terrifying and more realistic than life.
So the other night I was laying in bed, waiting to fall asleep, when a severed head started throwing up on my stomach, and I was like, "WHAT THE FUCK" but I couldn't move or speak. But then I heard my dog and I strained to move my eyes and just out of the corner I saw a giant fucking Overlord gargoyle beating my dog, alternating between my Louisville Slugger and his rocky fists, and I could hear my dog screaming and I tried to cry and snarl, and then someone started smashing rocks through my bedroom window and the gargoyle like apparated over to me and raised the bat above my head, beating his wings and laughing like a small child, and I was struggling and trying to move because my dog was still alive and I knew I needed to kill him and put him out of his misery, he whimpered and sputtered to breathe, and I couldn't fight and fucking kill everything around me, I couldn't do that, and I couldn't cry and I was so, so, so scared, and the vomit was coagulating all around me and slipping down my sides and it smelled like roadkill and old milk and the severed head rolled between my legs.
And I woke up screaming and sweating and yelling, "WHAT THE FU--" and I felt the shadowed gargoyle whisp away, and I felt the bat land on my neck and bounce off my jugular and heard it thwack into my dog and clatter on the ground, and I heard my dog die, I felt my crushed windpipe and the warm vomit and at the "--UCK!" and I woke up, and all was well. But I was sure it was there. I was so sure.
I smashed my head into the wall behind me, and I started crying.
I walked over to the corner and picked up my bat, which was resting nicely where it lives. And I carried it around my apartment and I looked in every single corner, because I was sure. It was there. I knew it. But I was clean, and my dog lives with my parents. I turned on all of the lights. No one was there. I took a shower. I got dressed and walked around the block with the bat. When I got home I watched Drive. Twice.
Now, I know it's sleep paralysis. I'm familiar with it. But can't my brain come up with something less sinister? Some people just imagine a monkey sitting there at the foot of the bed, but no, with me it's all baffing severed heads and dog-murdering gargoyles. I wrote this letter:
Dear My Brain,
Please stop being so scary. You are not helping.
I've been grinding my teeth for days. It hurts my jaw and my head. And it's like, why can't my paralyzing dreams be of Ryan Gosling? I don't mind his voice that much. I swear.