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Body-Switch

Dreamed 2000/6/10 by Chris Wayan

THAT DAY

I'm tired and don't know why. My friend Ingrid mentions some art & music events happening today, but I just can't get out of the house. Stay in and do bills, repot some plants, install some hooks. Walk over the hill to the Farmer's Market but it's too late, they've all packed and gone home. So I scrape the numbers scrawled over my windshield by the city towing company when they found my stolen car. Only now does my car feel fully mine again. But I don't use it--don't cross town to Fort Mason or the SF Folk Festival. A zombie today.

Wonder if it's my dad in the hospital. Tell him in my head "I have no more energy to give, you're on your own now--live or die." Brutal but true. I feel squeezed dry. I visualize cutting the psychic links between us.

Still drained.

Just play with Photoshop. Feel better immediately. Art is the cure! Scan some close-ups of my dream-painting American Tanka and white out the edges, leaving only the central figures in each scene. Floating vignettes! I like the effect--new for me.

Draw some illustrations for a second dreamtale, His Deer Wife: Captain Nezahualcoyotl, and a picture of a vicuņa, and a little sketch of a crashed time machine...

Can't paint any more. Eat dinner, watch TV...

First a BBC mystery by PD James: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. The detective is betrayed--another employee of the man who hired her throws a sack over her head, tosses her down a well, puts on an iron lid. And she survives, climbs in dark, pries it off, gets out--a dripping, bruised Fury. Fleeing her in a panic, the man gets himself killed! Grim but gripping.

Then Cleopatra 2525--schlocky science fiction by the producers of Xena. Cleo, a nervous girl from our era, gets drafted as a sort of superhero in the future. In training, she botches the mission over and over. But they're desperate: send her out half-trained. It's a strange future out there--she walks through a door and suddenly has to sing in a lounge, she has to wade through slime, quell her disgust. Cleo avoids fighting, knows she hasn't learned to be a hero. She finally succeeds by tossing the part she always botches to her friend, who gets it right with no training at all! The wise message of cooperation, flexibility and humility shines dreamlike right through the inept, cartoony script. And I liked Cleo--trying so bravely, so hard. What could be sexier?

THAT NIGHT

Secret agents attack a dark-haired 12-year-old girl in a mall, stuffing her in a coarse sack. They have an adult woman in another bag. They zap both prisoners with a device that swaps their minds: the child's now in the woman's body, the woman's, in the child's. They thrash blindly in the sacks but can't fight back effectively, disoriented in these unfamiliar bodies. The agents lug the twitching sacks to an escalator or conveyor belt that swallows and crushes whatever doesn't get off... and toss the sacks on. The girl's body is mashed to death. The agents, alert and brutal before swapping their souls, are over-confident that a soul in a new body will be helpless; they walk off to buy coffee after tossing their victims on the death-belt! But the girl's spirit, though in a strange adult body, takes advantage of some small distraction to roll off. Slowly she squirms out of the sack. Slinks up the stairs like a stalking cat, and takes cover in the crowd gawking idly at her own crushed, bloody body. They seem to treat murder as normal for a shopping mall--just idle entertainment.

She can't go back to her old life. Her family won't accept some adult stranger! And she has no adult skills or identity. She becomes homeless, lives on the street. Her face gets tanned and coarsely lined. Not just grown up in a flash... middle-aged! Cruel. But she intends to fight those who stole her childhood. She becomes an agent on our side, one of the best--keeps the unusual coordination and adaptability that saved her from being crushed. She learns to dance, sing, skate, do judo and gymnastics in this new and hard-used body. Her spirit's energy is so strong she can temporarily appear as the much younger woman she would've been--a beautiful twenty-year actress in a short red skirt. She gets her own TV show and uses her abilities to fight the kidnappers--no distinction between TV villains and real ones.

The enemy agents pulled one final dirty trick on her, in case she escaped: the adult body they put her in is incurably insane. Has visions, hallucinations. But she's had twelve years of grounding! Enough to treat these visions as metaphors and use them in acting--draws the audience in and shows them. On her show, in one scene, we see through her eyes as all the people murdered by the kidnappers climb out of their graves in sewers, trash cans, under heavy machinery... their spirits ready to fight injustice. They give her warnings and advice that save her life. But then she turns and says with practical adult irony in her voice "And now we return you to reality." As long as she has to hallucinate, she's gonna keep it under control. Yet she got real benefits from those ghosts: their warnings were accurate. Psychic as well as crazy.

Partly because she listens to her madness, she's one of the most effective agents for good we have!

NOTES IN THE MORNING

So what can I do? Even this body's weaknesses--the poor boundaries against psychic intrusion--can be strengths if I listen to the messages I get. And always remember: you're only crazy if you act oblivious. People will accept almost any behavior, as long as you frame it socially: show sensitivity to others.

Of course, I say this living in San Francisco...



LISTS AND LINKS: I'm Just Not Myself Today! - gender-bent dreams - violence - death - children - reincarnation and inheritance - madness - ghosts - living with ESP - dreams of shamans - - four months later, a soul-swapping sequel: Soul-Shard

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