Monday, 23 January 2012

Dream Interpretation 27


21 January 2012

This is a really strange sequence of dream scenes. As you will see below for the attached dream report, the first ‘scenes’ occurred while I was still conscious – therefore were more like visualisations. I was meditating using binaural beats and the ‘visualisations’ occurred during the theta/gamma beats – following a period of 20 minutes of alpha beats. I was concentrating on the beats and mentally preparing for experiencing a dream state (using MILD technique – see below). Soon after the alpha beats switched to the theta/gamma playlist (approx. 10 minutes into the theta/gamma mp3s), the visualisations started and seemed linked to my synesthesia, as I ‘felt’ what I heard and saw and experienced the sensation of biting/tasting the visual noises (I haven’t explained this well – those who understand synesthesia will know the ‘unity of senses’ I’m referring to). In simple terms, I could see, taste and feel the sounds I was listening to. I usually experience synesthesic responses to words, numbers or memories and then, typically the linking of a visual image or word to an unrelated word; or a colour to a number or day/month. The example which most amuses my friends is those words I associate with left and right directions, or more specifically words and themes associated with the colours I have randomly attributed to them. I have set them out below:

  1. Lemons 
  2. Yellow 
  3. The nursery rhyme “Oranges and lemons sang the bells of St Clements”  
  4. Walking down an avenue with sycamore trees  
  5. An old man in tweeds, walking down said avenue 
    1. Baked beans  
    2. Orange  
    3. A memory of myself as a young child, in my grandmother’s home in Sheringham, swinging myself in the gap between the dining table and the back of the sofa  
    4. Carving words in the dining table with a pen tip  
    5. Round dullness
      Furthermore, only when I’m passenger in a car on a motorway (i.e. I assume this is because there is little opportunity to stop to buy refreshments), I feel an intense thirst if I see lorries with orange or yellow colours on them – I think it’s because I associate them with citrus ice lollies (a semantic link, perhaps?) Another one which always raises a laugh is the associate of my own nipples with instant thirst – if someone touches my bare nipples, I instantly get a craving for water – despite the fact that I otherwise hate drinking water and find that only carbonated water or acidic juices quench my thirst. I cannot explain why this happens, but it has been my experience since first becoming sexually active, and the sensation of intense, immediate thirst never occurs when I touch my nipples myself!!! I’m not sure how relevant it is, but for the record, I was never breastfed and have never drank milk willingly – even as a newborn baby. For more information on this topic, please see my earlier post.

      After the visualisations I experienced whilst listening to the binaural beats, I fell asleep for about two hours, during which time I had one very short dream scene.

      Lucid dreaming experiments/techniques
      • Mental/training – MILD technique (no binaural beats before sleep); WBTB (Wake-Back-to-Bed) technique (woke after 6 hours of delta sleep; remained awake for 1 hour, then returned to MILD technique/sleep)
      • Binaural beats through headphones following WBTB technique – 10 minutes of alpha and 1 hour of theta/gamma mix – specifically a looped track I prepared, using binaural beats music downloaded from Youtube. The track I used is called Conscious Release - Solfeggio & binaural beats (theta & gamma), performed by Jandy Rainbow aka Jezebel Decibel. The description of the track states that it a ‘Silk Road-inspired meditation’, incorporating 10 ‘solfeggio’ frequencies with a delicate background soundscape of Oriental Koto music; Punjabi ‘drones’ and Tibetan bowl samples, giving it an ancient feel
      • LDS –high strength cod liver oil enriched with omega 3, 6 & 9 (3,600 mg); multivitamins A – Z with evening meal; sea kelp (90 mg); CoEnzyme Q-10 (150 mg); Gingko Biloba (120 mg); and Vitamin B Complex. No 5-HTP (experimenting without to test improvement in dream recall) 

      Potential triggers/’day residue’ 
      • The evening before this dream I had a debate with a male friend following about black people lightening their skin. We were discussing the theories behind Michael Jackson’s whitened skin (i.e. vitiligo or cosmetic bleaching). I then mentioned the recent ‘race row’ surrounding images of Beyonce with much-lightened skin – not only in the controversial white-washed L’oreal advertisements, but also on her own album cover – and seemingly when photographed without any post-production ‘touch-ups’ (I have presented the relevant images below, as they were intrinsic to my dream). He disagreed that she would have lightened her skin, but I showed him the images on Google. His opinion was that it was fine for her to lighten her skin. I thought this was controversial in light of the previous comments about Michael Jackson, especially given my personal opinion that Beyonce is at liberty to change her skin colour, but it should be recognised that the beauty industry, in lightening skin colour, is reinforcing a discriminatory and artificial aesthetic which contributes to an implicit, if unexpressed, racist attitude to what constitutes ‘beauty’. As I see BeyonceL’Oreal advertisement or the image used on the front of her latest album). In the end my friend and I agreed to disagree
      • I was reading articles online about the female aesthetic in hip hop and urban culture. This interest stemmed from a chapter in a book I once read online (I cannot recall the title, I was randomly searching for material about Jennifer Lopez when I stumbled across it) which stated that the aesthetic for an overly large butt stems from black and Latin cultures and entered into the hip hop aesthetic due to the particular social demographic and socio-economic environment of the ‘ghettos’ where hip hop was established – leading to the continued objectification and misogynistic attitudes towards women. According to one anthropological and sociological text, the buttocks have been viewed as a marker of racial difference ever since the  days of slavery, when white people first encountered other racial groups (see the terribly sad story of Sarah "Saartjie" Baartman (1790 – 1815), known as the ‘Hottentot Venus’ (an offensive term for the Khoi people of South Africa) who was paraded around Britain as a freak show on account of her enlarged buttocks and elongated labia). The JLo article insinuated that when she was merely a ‘Latina’ starlet, Jennifer was praised for her large butt, largely because it was part of her culture’s aesthetic and an emphasis on the buttocks was the dominant form of sexual expression. When she entered Hollywood – and mainstream culture – which cherishes a very different aesthetic ideal – she was pressurised (her own account) to lose weight and straighten/lighten her dark, wavy hair – and her butt became objectified as the ‘marker of racial difference’. In some images of Jennifer (post-weight loss) you see a very North Americanised ideal – slender frame with smaller butt; lighter skin/hair; emphasis on the breasts and frontal shots - yet in images promoting Jennifer as either a Latina – or more interesting, hip hop diva, the focus is entirely on her rear – a phallic marker of raw sexual availability. I some cases, it had been grossly over-inflated by the airbrush in post-production. What was interesting was Jennifer’s quote that, during her rise to fame, she was entirely unaware of the attention focused on her butt and knew nothing of the cultural response to her body. I believe that not only was Jennifer very aware of her objectification, but she actively played into it in the promotion of her brand. I am not criticising her for that choice, but it seems ludicrous for her to suggest otherwise. The further articles I read on this topic suggested that in promoting the ‘big butt’ aesthetic, hip hop culture has encouraged a cultural regression – ‘booty shaking’ – often accompanied by lyrical references to women as ‘bitches’ is nothing more than women allowing themselves to ‘wagging their butts like bitches in heat’ as a sign of their sexual availability to the men who they are offering themselves up to – i.e. there is nothing ‘independent’ or self-respecting about being ‘bootylious’. Further, the enhancing of the butt – through surgical implants/injections or padded underwear (and, I’m assuming, organic body sculpting) is compared to the mating rituals of female baboons and other primates, who display inflated buttocks to the male as a signal of fecundity and sexual availability. The articles were all really interesting – particularly given the cultural trend for butt-enlargement/enhancement (and continued reference to celebrities such as JLo, Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, Vida Guerra, Nicole ‘Coco’ Austin, Pippa Middleton etc in the popular media, as contemporary body ‘ideals’ for women to aspire to) and the fact that I am currently in the process of weightlifting/sculpting with the hope of creating the perfect ‘Brazilian beach body’ – making the most of my hourglass figure. I decided to see how big I could get my butt muscles to grow (my butt was already fairly large) after one of my friends compared my figure to Kim Kardashian. The articles I read about JLo and women in hip hop culture generally, led me to question the reasons behind my desire to obtain the perfect butt – after all I admire many of the same women who the articles refer to as promoting this particular aesthetic, and am entirely immersed in hip hop culture. PS and I were talking about the female stereotypes within hip hop culture – and in particular, hip hop videos (he makes hip hop videos, but has avoided reverting to misogynistic/homophobic stereotypes within his lyrical or visual content, although the same cannot be said of many of his peers) the day I had this dream and I was telling him all about the articles I had been reading and he agreed that hip hop still encouraged a negative representation of women. Indeed, I was so interested in the subject and my own perceptions as a female who aspires to an aesthetic I consciously realise to be damaging to my own self respect (i.e. I want to be known for my mind, not my enlarged sexual organs), that I am considering writing a thesis on the topic – i.e. hip hop music and feminism/changing female aesthetics
      • I had been doing exercise on my glutes (butt muscles) just prior to going to sleep – and the muscles were aching as I fell asleep, undoubtedly drawing my attention to that part of my body
      • On the evening before this dream I told my friends that I had once watched a documentary (I remember watching it, I cannot recall what it was called. I thought it was called Faces of Death, but a search revealed that this was a completely different documentary) which showed the facial expressions of a person (filmed from in front) the second a bullet was fired into the back of their brain
      • I was reading Facebook status updates on the home page and read that someone on my friends list was studying medicine in Egypt
      • PS and I discussed why domesticated dogs (such as ‘N’) ‘smile’ – by showing their teeth and gums. It looks like a snarl, but is definitely a sign of affection or joy – he does it when greeting or playing and we researched it on the internet. One theory is that dogs only smile like that because they have been conditioned by their owners, who encourage them to continue doing it for affection/treats (most likely the case for N, who does it on demand!)
      • While writing up this report, I suddenly remembered that the day before this dream, I saw a clip of a past TV programme Young Butcher of the Year featured on Harry Hill’s TV Burp – and one of the segments Harry was poking fun at involved a ‘young butcher’ who prepared a joint of meat to look like a miniature boat with a sale – hence the association of fins/sales with meat...(see below)

      Main dream environment(s)
      • (Conscious visualisations/pre-dream scenes): A scene of glacial ice and ocean
      • (Scene 1): A shop (I think it was a small shop selling electrical items as there were many television screens dotted about the shop floor)

      (Conscious visualisations/pre-dream scenes):
      • Several ‘fins’ in the ocean – I’m not sure if they belonged to a particular species of sea creature
      • A snarling child – a little girl, dressed in a pinafore with side-parted hair
      • The disconnected (decapitated?) head of a man with brown hair and a moustache (unknown to me in real-life)
      (Scene 1):
      • Myself (I did not see myself, although I saw my own butt and recognised it as my own)
      • PS (appearing as he does in real-life)
      • Beyonce
      • Various other customers using the shop (none known to me in real-life)

      Dream narrative
      • (Conscious visualisations/pre-dream scenes):
      I could see crystal-like glaciers of ice – some sharp spiky icicles (which I ‘saw’ when I heard a particular sound effect on my binaural beats mp3) and flatter expanses of ice. There was ocean, although I did not see it clearly. When the Tibetan bowl sounds were heard, I saw massive ‘fins’ in the ocean – my first thought was ‘whale meat’, but the fins did not belong to whales – in fact I’m not sure if they belonged to any known sea animal, as they were almost like the sales of a ship, yet thicker and greyish-pink, like rare-cooked tuna steak. As the fins/sales floated closer to my eyes (sorry for the poor terminology used – I don’t think we have a proper, comprehensive ‘dream jargon’ just yet!) I thought of the gelatinous, jelly-like texture of eel flesh (I’ve never tasted it) and blancmange. I felt gelatinous meat. As I stated above, the visualisation of the fins/sales and the sensation of gelatinous meat corresponded directly with the sound made by the Tibetan bowls. A little girl flashed before my eyes. She looked old-fashioned – wearing her hair in a deep side-parting and dressed in a pinafore dress. She jumped onto all fours and snarled at me, in a manner associated with a wild animal. I then saw the disconnected head of the male with the brown hair and moustache. This image appeared before me for a matter of seconds, then the male opened his mouth wide and swallowed his own face, leaving a skull, which flashed before my eyes for literally a second, before it reappeared, mummified – the bandages floating around his head, like the character ‘Mumra’ from Thundercats.
      • (Scene 1):
      No lucidity. PS and I were in an electrical (or similar) shop. There were television sets (all turned on) on shelves and stacked on the floor. The shop was narrow and confined, and fairly dark. There were several other customers in the shop, browsing or looking at the television screens. PS and I were standing by the counter, waiting for service. The shop-keeper did not come. We turned to leave and to the left-hand side of the door, there was a huge TV screen set up. Something caught my attention. At this point, the shop keeper came from the back room and stood at the counter. He tried to call PS and I back over to where he was standing so that he could help us. I said: “I want to watch the Beyonce video”. The music video on the large screen was definitely one of Beyonce’s, yet it was not one that I know actually exists in real-life (I admittedly haven’t watched any of her videos relating to songs I don’t like). I think it was highly likely that my subconscious mind has composed the video from actual images I have seen and some created by my own mind. I could not hear the music. The video was filmed by a camera positioned at the side of a sofa, on the floor – as if the camera-lens was spying on Beyonce. All I could see on the screen were her legs walking from the other side of the sofa, into the camera lens. The camera then zoomed out and showed Beyonce from the front – she was wearing a sparkling gold leotard. She then started to walk away from the camera. I noticed that her butt (which was completely exposed) looked very different from her own in real-life. As I noticed this, the video seemed to go into slow-motion allowing me to get a better view. I realised that although from a full-frontal angle, the person on the screen was definitely Beyonce – appearing as she does in real-life, from the back, only the head to waist belonged to Beyonce and from there downwards, my lower body had been spliced on. The skin was pale – like my own Middle Eastern mix; the hips were wider and thighs thicker (like my own) and the butt had more cellulite than Beyonce (again, like my own). Beyonce was shaking ‘my’ butt provocatively towards the camera. I could almost see ‘my/her’ vaginal lips as she bent over. I actually have ‘Tallulah’ tattooed above my butt crack, but I couldn’t see this, as it was covered by the leotard (which had a thong, if it wasn’t clear exactly how my butt/genital area was so exposed). I wasn’t ashamed by this, but I was annoyed that she was getting sexual attention from my body part, particularly given the fact I could see the imperfections and knew hers to be of a better ‘aesthetic’ than my own – i.e. why would she choose to purposefully show off my cellulite? I said to PS: “Beyonce has my butt” and he agreed. The other customers were gathered around watching the video. I said: “stop watching it, that’s my butt!” I was getting agitated. The people gathered were telling me: “it’s Beyonce’s butt now...” I woke up in a good mood.

      I think the interpretation for this dream is pretty self-explanatory, given the dream triggers/day residue referred to above. A lot of the other symbolism (including Beyonce!) has been interpreted elsewhere in this Blog, and I do no justice in repeating myself in this particular interpretation.

      • Ability to make progress, or to get ahead and ‘make strides’ in life
      • ‘Sitting it out’ or resting
      • A person's foundation, such as their beliefs and values
      • Laziness or procrastination
      • Negative emotions you may be holding in or repressing (the idea of anal retentiveness?)
      • Feelings of guilt; shame; and self-worth
      • Instincts/urges
      • Feelings of insecurity/personal struggles
      • Misshapen butt – underdeveloped/damaged areas of your psyche

      I have included some of the relevant imagery below, I hope my readers enjoy :) 
      Glacier of ice in the ocean
      Whale fin in the ocean
      Rare tuna steak - this has the same quality as the huge fins/sales seen I visualised
      Gelatinous texture washed up on ocean shore
      Beyonce Knowles in a gold leotard exactly like that which appeared in the dream, except the one in the dream had a thong
      Picture of me taken to demonstrate my muscle growth from weight-lifting - aspiring to the 'ghetto booty' ideal of hip hop culture
      Sarah "Saartjie" Baartman (1790 – 1815), known as the ‘Hottentot Venus’
       Futuristic Reintrepretation of Hottentot Venus by Renee Valerie Cox (1994)
      In this futuristic reinterpretation of the Hottentot Venus, Renee Valerie Cox directly inserts her own body into the historical matrix of Western representations that configured black female sexuality.  In the photograph Cox’s body is transformed, recalling the Hottentot Venus, with the addition of protruding metallic breasts and an accompanying metal butt extension.  The white strings that delicately hold these metallic body parts in place with a bow, seem to emphasise the artists’ complex and ambivalent relationships to representations of black female sexuality.  Cox wears the metallic appendages like a costume or disguise, but her own nude body is simultaneously revealed to the viewer.  She stands in profile emphasising her bodily dimensions, hands akimbo, and stares directly at the viewer.

      In the following pictures of Jennifer Lopez, please note the differential representation of her butt - from over-inflated to gross proportions in some images, whilst appearing to adhere to steroetypical western ideals (i.e. small and pert) in others. It is of course, not coincidental that the images where the focus is on the overly-large nature of her butt, tend to be for promotional use aimed towards the Latin and 'urban/hip hop' markets, or for a male audience, whilst the more slim, 'Western' aesthetic tends to appear in images aimed at a female audience, and notably, when photographed for glossy high-end fashion magazines, such as Vogue Italia. In all the pictures I found to illustrate the subject I had been reading about (referred to above), the lens of the camera is firmly focused on Jennifer's butt, symbolising that which marks her as a 'different' bodily aesthetic within popular culture, a sign of her raw sexuality. It has been said that JLo did for the butt, what Pamela Anderson did for breasts --- the media is saturated with stories of increasing numbers of young women seeking buttock augmentation, in pursuit of the current Western craze for the 'big booty' ideal, with several cases ending in fatality, due to complications arising from negligent surgery.
      Below are some of the pictures available on the internet showing Beyonce Knowles' supposedly lightened skin (both non-manipulated) and allegedly-airbrushed in post-production for her own album cover for her fourth studio album, 4 (2011); and the L'Oreal Feria campaign (Beyonce was featured as a L'Oreal 'Ambassador' in their 2008 & 2011 campaigns for the hair colourant). What do you think?

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