Friday, October 25, 2013

Fear Landscapes


***Caution: Minor Spoiler for Divergent series***
Front Cover
Allegiant, the third book in the series, arrived Tuesday. They're incredible.  Movie arrives in March.
One of the things I like about the Divergent series by Veronica Roth is the way the Dauntless faction deals with fear.

"Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it." --Veronica Roth, Divergent

Their main methodology of coping with what gives them the heebie jeebies?  Fear landscapes. Just inject a special serum  in your neck and it triggers your terrors so that you can learn how to control or be free from them.  Before going into the final stage of initiation, the Dauntless are told that the average number of fears is 10-15.

Wondering how many you have?

Recently, I went to bed, fell asleep, and traveled through my fear landscape. As in the book, I knew it wasn't real.  I knew I just had to get to the other side somehow.  My fears hit me one after the other.

First, total darkness. Then my vision pans out until I see movement beneath the black. Spiders. Thousands. The shot moves higher until the shape of the container is clear. It's a coffin. The spiders move and reveal my face.  They crawl all over me, but I can't move my arms or legs to knock them off. If I scream, the spiders will crawl in my mouth. That's what has happened in this dream the many times I've had it since childhood.  I don't scream.  I focus on it not being real. I focus on it being about claustrophobia and being trapped with the spiders. I remember I no longer fear spiders because Garrett refused to remove a gigantic spider from the front porch last October.  (I certainly wasn't going to do it!) He said I needed to get over my fear of spiders, so I watched that arachnid grow and grow and scare visitors until I wasn't frightened anymore.  I was even a little sad to see her go.  As I recall this, my fear in the dream disappears, and the spiders on me are her babies...a la Charlotte's Web. They're visiting me. Awww.

So I go to the next nightmare.

Long before Harry Potter's dementors or Twilight's Volturi, their lovechild tormented my nights.  I haven't seen one in a long time, but a brood of them are resurrected.  Almost 18 years ago, I realized I could control my nightmares. It is this one that taught me that. I recall the feeling of power when I stopped running and turned to face the demon. It smiled at me and ran away. Freedom made me fly. I take a deep breath, turn to face the demons, and remember how to fly.

So I go to the next nightmare. 

And the next. 

And the next.

I've not conquered this one before. I tense up as I go deeper into the fear landscape.
 
My skin pulses with urgency. Lost in the woods, I must rescue someone. I see a wood-paneled house.   If the person I seek is here, I have no clue how to find safety. But I know we must flee. I creep closer and peek through a dirty window. A conveyor belt carries life-sized dolls of identical size in identical boxes. Varying shades of rosy cheeks dot their faces.  Pretty dresses adorn their bodies. But after watching a while, I notice a clear pattern to the dolls.  They are reproductions. A madman stands by a sink full of what looks like giant Barbie appendages bathed in bloody water. Spare parts? Is he creating them according to his whims? When one blinks her thick eyelashes at me, I realize they aren't dolls. They are women, and I am staring at myself. I am there to rescue me.

In Divergent, the Dauntless face the fear or control their fear until the fear landscape goes away. Either way, the effort requires courage. I struggle with this fear landscape.  I ponder what it means.  I work on calming myself.

Oddly, this fear landscape fades and goes to my next...dream.

My most secret--and not-so-secret--aspirations appear before me, almost realized. And then I get in my own way.  Then my next dream materializes and I sabotage myself again. If the monster causing all these problems weren't me, then I'd really hate myself for keeping me from being happy. Um...what?

It is the most terrifying landscape so far.


I think it's time that changes, don't you? Dreaming is scary. Allowing oneself to take the risks to turn those dreams into reality is even scarier.  But I think it's time I try being dauntless.  How 'bout you?


Are you like the Divergent and can you control the nightmares in your fear landscape? What's in your landscape?  Do you have nightmare re-runs?  How do you stand in the way of your own dreams? How do you plan to dare to dream?




 

8 comments:

  1. Wow Brandi you freaked me out on this one! Great post preparing for Halloween and all things scary! The spider mouth thing is a pet peeve of mine, just saying. Spiders should stay outside and away from all mouths.

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    1. Agreed. No spiders in the mouth. Unless they're covered in chocolate, then....we'll see.

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  2. Many years ago I heard the saying? book title? "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway." I think this kind of goes along with the dauntless philosophy. I'm still working on that!

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  3. Way to conquer your fears! That fear of success--fear of being seen?--is a hard one to get past. Dreams can be as scary as nightmares sometimes, that's true!

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    1. It seems like a strange realization that we get in our own way. I'm guessing Pinterest had something to do with this epiphany.

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  4. When I was a new mother, I dreamed my son was in danger. I woke up shaking and in tears. I went back to sleep determined to "save" him in my dream. I did it. Since then, I've been able to turn several nightmares my way. I don't know if I'm exactly dauntless, but I do feel a little bit more in control of the night:-).

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    1. And isn't it empowering? Way to go, Susan!

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