I Was Buried Under a Pile of Monkeys

I don’t think it’s normal to learn a lesson from your dreams, and I’m not even sure that I did learn a lesson. My dreams are startlingly realistic, most of the time they cling to me far past sleepytime and I momentarily forget whether I’m in dream world or reality. My life is like a melodramatic remake of Inception where the main character, Katrina, an oblivious white girl, works at an ad agency in Los Angeles and compulsively chugs tea out of an enormous Iowa mug her mother accidentally sent her.

Sometimes I can control my actions in my dreams AKA “lucid dreaming.” These dreams are the most memorable because they genuinely feel like a second life. There are certain things that exist in my “dream life” that don’t exist in my actual life. For example, my childhood home always has a pool in the backyard in my dream life but not in reality. This has been the case since high school, so it kind of felt like waking up and realizing you didn’t actually get that golden retriever puppy in real life. Every, day.

By the way, for anyone who thinks this sound “cool” I would gladly trade you this ability for ANY one of your marketable skills… Like the ability to do math for example. Or maybe ability to write code. Programming. Anything of that nature.

ANYWAY. For this dream, I was in Africa with a few friends (no I’ve never actually been to Africa) and we decided to go rogue on a safari. Dream Katrina is constantly putting herself in vulnerable situations with wild animals, not sure if that means anything, but she sure likes to do it. For the safari we were walking through a desert savannah and kept spotting monkeys in the distance. They disguised themselves as trees before attacking their prey… It was as acid trippy as it sounds, yes. Picture Kirby’s World for NES in that level where the birds all shoot out of the tree when you pass it (if you get that reference please notify me, ASAP, I’d like to make you my husband.) There were also alligators, rhinos, plenty of shit that can kill you. But we were prancing carelessly around like we were in a fucking Minnesota cornfield.

My friends rushed ahead of me and out of sight. In real life this wouldn’t be a huge issue because I’m fast as all fuck, but in this dream I might as well have been 95 years old with metal knees. While I fruitlessly rushed onward, I accidentally stumbled under what looked like a harmless tree, but was actually an aggressive nest of monkeys. This troop of monkeys leapt onto my back and paused for a moment while I pretended to be dead. They chattered amongst themselves, probably deciding how to best feast on my innards. What the fuck else could the monkeys of my subconscious possibly have to say? 

Unfortunately this was a very heavy pile of monkeys, and I needed to breathe, so they quickly figured out the truth as they felt the rise and fall of my ribcage underneath them. I braced myself for contact, which is a horrifying prospect if you’ve ever seen anyone who survived a monkey attack. Monkeys rip faces off.

For reference, this is sort of what the monkeys looked like:

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Before you make fun of the size of this monkey, let’s discuss a few things.

  • Look at its fucking teeth
  • Look how angry he looks
  • Imagine at least 12 of him on your back (you’re completely alone)
  • He is a wild animal, so the fact that his mouth is about the size of a cat isn’t relevant because this motherfucker will tear into you barehanded with reckless abandon on INSTINCT
  • He is defending his nest

Anyway. I’m deflecting because I’m trying not to be too morbid. This entire post is a little off, sorry mom, these are the things that keep me up at night (or not? these are the things that haunt me while I sleep?) 

The moment underneath those monkeys felt so real that I genuinely thought I was going to die. I felt those near-death thoughts flying through my head. How disappointed my parents, friends, family would be that I died in such a reckless way. I thought about how my last moments on earth would be wasted by my own ignorance and overzealousness. I would be just another white girl who thought she was invulnerable and could run around unknown territory without any repercussions. Just like when I used to walk home alone from Allston back in college at 2:00 am and get into strange cabs who offered free rides.

Most of all, I thought about how this was the real, black, immanent, void. The end.

I came to that lonely realization that I imagine most Atheists have in the back of their mind (but are too busy playing World of Warcraft and blaming ~society~ for their problems to admit.) When you reject religion or a higher power as a concept, you reject the belief in an afterlife. You truly believe that when you die, you just rot in the ground and that’s it. Maybe people scatter your ashes or whatever, but you cease to exist in any way shape or form. Bleak. As. FUCK. (I’m really fun at parties.)

When I was younger and a “practicing Lutheran” I had these types of dreams, I’d get to my Monkey Pile Moment and I’d pray. I’d pray that God would save me or that somehow this wouldn’t be the end, and many times when I did this I’d be rescued or brought to some other reality within the dream. But now, at 25, I feel that crushing defeat of ultimately losing faith. I don’t believe anymore, I genuinely don’t, and having that vividly illuminated in a dream is startling. 

On the optimistic side, I realize the importance of self reliance. Being able to find solutions for yourself and work your way through The Monkey Piles Of Life (I hate myself for just saying that… I feel like I just wrote a fucking sermon which is some pretty tasty irony for you literary fiends out there who might be picking apart my work trying to decide if there is any deeper meaning! There’s not, and I’m sure that’s not what you’re doing here.)

Let me try again without getting all preachy. I woke up from this dream covered in sweat, with a very sore throat from some sleep-apnea-esque snoring (I’M SORRY, I’M ACTIVELY WORKING ON IT OK?) and I felt myself actually relax a bit. Whatever the hell gets thrown my way, whether it be an entire tree full of monkeys, a knee injury (please no), or a career change… I’m gonna make it work. I’ll be ok. 

Your story is not already written for you. If you’re an Atheist or even just someone who is questioning faith, spirituality, etc… If you’re feeling like you have nothing to fall back on… You do. But either fortunately or unfortunately, that thing is you. As I’ve said many times before, if you don’t like your life, it’s time to grab it by the haunches and hump it into submission. Because you can, no one else can.

Genuinely beautiful song about loving yourself even though everyone else might think you’re a lunatic ❤ (and they might be RIGHT)

Pope Francis and “Amoris Laetitia”

Didn’t expect myself to be choosing a Pope for Fearless Friday but here we are… As a disclaimer, my knowledge of the Catholic religion and structure of leadership is minimal. All I know is that the Pope is a big deal fella and the things he does impacts the religion worldwide.

Well, let’s talk about the “Amoris Laetitia” I guess it’s Latin for “The Joy of Love.” After two years of self-examination, earlier today the Pope released an important document outlining “family issues.” Catholics around the world filled out lengthy questionnaires to determine whether or not the Catholic church meets their families’ needs.

Pope Francis is a left leaning Catholic which gave religious liberals hope that he might start to shift antiquated beliefs to fit today’s society. One of my biggest criticisms of modern religion is that it never adapts; they’re still following a system of beliefs established in an old society. I would love to see a major religion address issues like birth control, same sex marriage, abortions etc… What precedent might this set? Will other religions be forced to do the same? At least we’re starting a conversation.

Though the document did not go so far as to address birth control or abortions, there are subtle victories within it.

One of the issues addressed in the document was the cessation of the phrase “living in sin” to describe irregular living situations. This is a big win!!! As someone who is currently “living in sin” with a boyfriend with whom I share a bed… Thank you. The Pope says in this document that the church needs to stop applying moral laws as if they were “stones to throw at a person’s life.” HELL YES!! Yet another issue I have with modern religion, addressed. I get that you have moral guidelines to live by, but please don’t force them upon me.

My next favorite part is that the Pope addresses SEX ED!!! He admits that children must be educated on sex and sexuality. Rather than simplifying it and withholding information he says that children need to understand sex “within the broader framework of an education for love and mutual self-giving.” Mutual self-giving. I like that. I mean, granted he doesn’t mention sex for pleasure… Or the fact that you won’t burn alive if you have sex before marriage. But hey, requiring sexual education would be a step in the right direction!!!

Of course, he didn’t go so far as to allow gay marriage within the church but he does call for Catholics to respect the LGBT community. The direct quote is that a homosexual person needs to be “respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, and ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression or violence.” It pisses me off that they won’t budge on this issue, but it’s only a matter of time. As frustrating as it is, this is a good start.

The major victory in this document is regarding the Catholic policy on disallowing divorced from receiving communion. According to the Catholic church, marriage is indissoluble… HAH! With a divorce rate in the U.S alone of 40-50% the chance of your marriage being “indissoluble” is up to the flip of a coin. The Pope opens the door for Catholics to use their “moral judgment” in specific situations, which isn’t anything EXPLICIT but take the dubble-ya (W) where you can, right?

While the document doesn’t go nearly as far as I wish it had (because my opinion matters), sometimes progress is slow to move. Especially when you’re following a set of beliefs written a comically long time ago. Pope Francis is dealing with extremely touchy subjects that define the religion as it stands. If there is hope for change, it lies with him. It will move slow, but change is starting.

So is he really fearless? Even though the document hides from making controversial statements? Yes. The document’s theme is an important one: Acceptance. Our lives can’t be defined by rules written in black and white. You can never REALLY understand another person’s situation, ruling with rigidity on all issues isn’t realistic.

Fuck yeah Pope Francis, you’re fearless for being a reasonable human being!

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“I’m the freakin’ Pope”