Let me preface with a description of what sleep paralysis is. It is a phenomenon that occurs during transitional phases of falling asleep or waking up, wherein the body is still at rest while the mind is experiencing a cross between dreaming and staying awake. What the victim of sleep paralysis feels is a strange inability to move or an uncomfortable prickly sensation crawling over their skin when attempting to move. This originates from the state of paralysis that the body sinks into during deep sleep to prevent them from acting out their dreams. However, they are able to open their eyes. Victims like me are suddenly caught in a terrifying warped sense of reality. Your dreams blend into your immediate vision, thus, causing many to hallucinate or hear voices screaming at them. In Chinese, a direct translation of such feelings is called “Ghost Oppression,” which many describe comes from how paralysis resembles the feeling of someone pinning you down.
Sometimes the images you see in the mind's eye can disappear as soon as you wake up. But sometimes they stick to you for a while, even when you try to forget them.
That’s my curse.
Often, I remember my dreams as vividly as real life. A friend of mine heard the dreams I recorded and said, “Girl, you sound like you’re tripping on acid.” See, it happens so much that I’ve had to train myself to realize when it is happening to calm myself. The period of lucid dreaming can be turned into something quite amazing.
A surrealistic mental journey.
So, I thought I'd share it in this series, which captures specific parts of my half-asleep, half-awakened endeavors. Enjoy.
In Harmony of Scales and Stripes, there are two characters I once dreamt of—a reptilian and a tigress-wolf hybrid. They embody aggression and hard-headedness. Although they see each other as foreign beings, they are drawn to each other with a common understanding of how they are perceived from the exterior. It connects them on a level where they find mediation in their anger towards a judgmental, misunderstanding world. They lay their heads low to avoid instigating conflict, and in doing so, they relinquish the initial intimidation. Like yin and yang, these two opposing colorful beasts are able to maintain peace as they lay resting, intertwined with each other. In this sense, they have chosen camaraderie instead of conflict. But peace can be fleeting, so at least in the moment of sleep, we’ve captured an eternal picture of tranquility. Even the most clashing characters can find resolution.
"Harmony of Scales and Stripes"
Modeled by: Sarah Hussain & Christina Nguyen