Turn Back Time, Into The Darkness

A few days ago, I had another dream of dreams within dreams. I had a dream about a mad physician, of me facing a wall, an old man showering in front of a mirror, the clock running backwards, and everything turning dark.

In the first dream, we were having our annual physical exam and I was standing in a line with other colleagues when I overheard the physician angrily giving a sermon to the person he was checking. It didn’t make any sense but I thought, “Good thing I had an appointment with the dentist before this.” And then I woke up.

In the second dream, I woke up from the long line for the physical exam and found myself driving a car. I drove the car into what seems to be an industrial warehouse and parked between a big truck and a wall. To my left is the truck, to my right is the wall, and to the front is another wall. I got out of the car and observed the wall in front of me. And then I woke up.

In the third dream, I woke up from observing a wall in front of me. Now, I am watching an old man shower in front of a mirror. He has the typical Santa-like body. Big belly, the top of his head is balding but he has a few graying and white hairs in the sides, and he has a beard with the same color combination as his hair. He was shampooing his hair from the sides to the top. But there is no water, no shampoo, not even a shower head. He stopped for a while and walked backwards to the right of my view and up to the stairs. As he passed, I heard a clock ticking. I saw a wall clock that looks like some lucky cat Chinese decoration. Its hands were moving backwards. And it made sense to me that time that “Oh, so that’s why he’s moving backwards.” And then I woke up.

In the fourth dream, I woke up from seeing the cat-like clock, of time moving backwards. This time I found myself lying on the sofa where I really fell asleep on that time. I stood up, as if waking up, and turned the lights on. The lights didn’t turn on and when I looked around, all the rooms were dark. I walked towards the balcony to see the other buildings and found residential buildings that weren’t there before. The doors and windows were dark when it was still a pretty bright afternoon. I’m guessing the bright orange sky you get just before sunset. And then I woke up.

In the fifth dream, I found myself lying on the sofa again. I grabbed my phone and I actually felt I was holding it. Thinking that I was awake, I looked at my phone and it wasn’t there. I was holding something rectangular that wasn’t there.

In the sixth dream, I found myself lying on the sofa again. This time, I am very unsure if I had really woken up. I’m very aware that I’m dreaming but I couldn’t wake up. I was in another sleep paralysis. I clenched my fists and did everything I can to wake up. When I finally did, it took me a while to believe that I wasn’t dreaming anymore. I put on clothes and went outside.

I like to think that this is my subconscious telling me something but I am more likely to believe that these dreams are combinations of things I’ve seen before. I try not to make much sense about it but wouldn’t it be cool if it did mean something?

Turn Back Time, Into The Darkness

I’m Closed Off? It’s Because You Kept Undermining My Struggles

Never explain yourself. I thought I would never have a motto in life but somewhere along the way, I found myself saying that. I’ve said it to myself so many times that I added it to the rules I live by. It seems very simple, those three words, but it took me a long time to master it. There are plenty of things I do that I consider pointless. There are pointless things that I like and pointless people that I happily spend some time with. But when it comes to matters that triggers frustration, I always look for the point. The point of having an argument with someone. The point of telling the whole story. The point of telling my side of the story. Every time I feel the urge to defend myself, I ask myself “What’s the point?”

I’ve been judged my whole life for doing things that do no harm to others and for occasionally choosing my own sake over taking responsibility of the mistakes of irresponsible people. What I learned over the years is that no amount of reasoning, truth, and effort can make people value your perspective as long as they do not benefit from it. There is no amount of words that could change people’s minds even when you’re right. So what did I do? I moved away. I lived alone and every time I come across an abusive person, I don’t bother. I just don’t bother anymore. Every time I get the feeling or I am informed that some people are making judgments about my decisions, I let it go. What’s the point?

I remember buying my mother a card when I was a kid. Our neighbor thought it was sweet so I was excited to give it to her hoping that it will make her happy. My mother said, “This is a waste of money!” I didn’t think much of it before but looking back, I realized that was the beginning of my self-inflicted isolation.

It has been more than a year since I stopped seeing my mother and pretty much all of my relatives except for one of my brothers who occasionally stays in my place with his wife and son. Before I stopped visiting, I spent at least another year and a half visiting only on holidays or some birthdays. My mother has spread a lot of drama against us especially me. After all, I am the daughter who stopped visiting and responding to her calls and text messages. I am the daughter who gave my relatives (cousins, aunts, etc.) a mouthful each time they attempt to suck me into the hell hole the whole clan has dug for themselves. For me, it wasn’t just a choice to distance myself from these people, it was a necessity. It’s like choosing not to drink a slow-acting poison. I did it because I didn’t want the torture and I wanted to survive.

I wanted to live what’s left of this life. For decades of existence, I felt like I never lived. After I moved away, I felt alive and I started to see the potential of having a great future, a future I can write for myself. I felt unstoppable and that I have no other step but forward. Before I moved away, I had no dreams for myself. All I wanted was to someday buy a house for my parents and give them a rich life. My mother crushed that dream with her constant “That’s gonna take a long time, now. We’ll be dead before that ever happens.” That dream eventually died. But before it did, it gave birth to a new one. A new dream just for me. I realized everything that I want.

I want to build an establishment or perhaps, a school, that teaches and trains people to gain the skills necessary for us to advance into the future. I want a new kind of literacy, not just read or write. A new literacy more fitted to the future. Aside from that, I want a house and a farm, or a village of my own. I want my own home office. I want my own business. All of these dreams, I could not have entertained if I didn’t leave the people holding me back. If I never left, I wouldn’t have found a purpose. And that purpose grows each day I dream and work towards my dreams. That purpose grew a spine, enough to stop me from ever going back to what killed the old me. And as time goes by, I no longer feel the pressure and no amount of relatives and harassment can ever make me go back to that past. I have moved on but I still remember. I have to remember. But it’s just like remembering a past life. Surreal and makes no sense in my present life anymore.

I am filled with dreams and yet people find me so cold. Aloof, hard to read, closed off, and detached. I believe that every one of us has their own back story. A series of events that made us the way we are. Every one of us has their own shell. Each one is different, forged with a variety of pain and struggles. I told you a small part of my story. I would not tell you the whole story because what is the point? You’ve made your judgment by now. You’ve probably said to yourself that my struggles are nothing compared to others’. Or maybe you’re one of those rare kinds of people who understand that you have to live through another person’s life to see the whole picture. Maybe you’re nothing like the people I share my DNA with.

There was a time when I sent money for my father’s surgery which is probably one of my mother’s lies to get more money from me because after that, people have seen him drinking alcohol in the middle of the afternoon. Do they know how hard it was to earn that money? Do they know that afterwards, I had to gather coins just to have enough money to buy myself a small pack of biscuits and a can of tuna to eat for two days? Do they know that I had to borrow money just to get through the rest of the week? And the time they constantly guilt-tripped me for breaking up with a guy they thought was rich. Do they know that he borrowed plenty of cash from me that he didn’t pay and even got money from my ATM without my permission? Do they know how I felt working so hard, earning so much, and yet ending up starved? Do they know that the same abuse they inflicted on me since childhood, he inflicted on me, too? Do they know that he also tried to sabotage my career by constantly making an argument on how I earn more money than he does?

Aside from constantly telling me that I’m ugly, stupid, and would probably just get impregnated by some man and die poor, I guess my parents never really knew anything about me. And it’s too late for me to say anything because they never listened in the first place. They never cared unless it involves them having money. Now that I’m typing these, I feel stupid. That I’m a whiner. I whine too much about small things. I feel guilty because that’s how I was programmed to feel for the rest of my life. I’m too dramatic. I deserve to suffer, not to complain.

Would I rather be called all those things or be called “cold”? Guess which one I chose.

I’m Closed Off? It’s Because You Kept Undermining My Struggles

Silent Madness

I’m mad. Mad at the world. To be more specific – mad at people and how fucking mean they are to each other especially to those who live a quiet and peaceful life. I’ve been bullied my whole life and I know bullying when I see it. At first, I was frustrated of being told to speak up when I already am. There is nothing more frustrating that it waters your eyes than the world telling you to do something that you know you’re already doing. It’s as if nothing you do could ever be enough. It’s as if you’re broken and there’s nothing you do to fix yourself fixes you.

I stand by my beliefs. I am not broken. I am person who happen to have a different personality than the crowd that surrounds me. I am different and I know nothing is wrong about that. I am quiet and I enjoy being alone most of the time. There is nothing wrong about that. I never hurt anyone. What I know for sure is wrong is telling someone that there is something wrong about them just because he or she is different.

Being turned into something I’m not. Being pressured to fit into some type of personality that one boss prefers. Being treated as if I wanted to fit in but can’t when I would really rather be alone. It’s a nightmare. I do my job really well and I speak up when necessary. I joke with co-workers when I’m not too busy. I hang out with them after work occasionally. Somehow none of that is enough. It’s as if it’s a sin to have your own life outside of that circle or not fool around when you should really be working.

People have called me many things. Loner, anti-social, weird. I’ve heard it all before. Recently, I received a feedback from some of my colleagues that I lack communication skills and that I should talk more during meetings. First off, none of these people knew what the words they say mean and yet they have no problem writing it down on your annual review. All of the feedbacks I receive contain “excellent work”, “quality work”, “accurate” and it makes me wonder how one person can provide excellent and accurate work without communication skills. How do you raise issues or clarify something without talking or reaching out? I am confused about what communication skills they meant. More so, I am enraged by how easily they blurt out words that they do not fully understand. Words are weapons and I am very careful releasing them.

People depress me. Sure, not all people but this is one of those days when I feel judged and betrayed for being me. I feel angry but also empty, like nothing makes sense anymore. The more they pressure me to speak when I already am, the more I want to keep quiet. Nothing I say changes anything. No one listens and if they do, they judge or spread gossip about it. Or they simply ignore whatever you say because they are already fixated on their own ideas on how everything should be. Nothing matters anymore.

I still look forward to the day that they all realize that they are very wrong. I still have hope that one day, I will find myself in a place where I belong.

Silent Madness

Nested Dreams

I’ve been dreaming a lot about an open door lately. As far as I can remember, it started a few months ago. The dream is simple and yet it feels like a nightmare. In the dream, I would wake, walk towards the living room, and find the door to the hallway open. There is nothing special on the other side of the door. All I can see is the hallway, the same view I see when I’m “not dreaming”. I live in a condominium unit on the 45th floor. Anyone can understand why an opened door can be alarming but compared to all my other dreams, this particular dream about an open door is the dullest and it occurred several times before. And yet it still terrifies me every single time it happens.

Last May 22, 2017 at around 4 AM in the morning, I “woke up”. I say I “woke up” because I’m not really sure anymore if I’m still dreaming. The seemingly endless set of dreams occurred to me again. This time, not a friend knocking on my door, but the same damn open door. As if it was not enough to have one set of this dream occur to me several times on different nights.

In the first set of the dream, I woke up in my bed and as I was about to walk outside the bedroom, I found the front door open. Strangers came in to attack. Surprised, I looked around me and there were a few people around me who I believe are my allies. I heard gunshots as I ran towards the balcony. The two groups were fighting each other. The first group was trying to attack me while the other group was trying to protect me. One of the attackers went as far as the door towards the balcony while one character was trying to shield me. The character, I believe, is a man and I do not know what he looks like. Cornered, I jumped off the balcony and tried to hold on to the rails at the bottom so the attacker would not see or harm me. The character who was protecting me shot the attacker while I look down, still holding on to the rails, seeing how far I would fall if I let go. The dream ends there and then I woke up.

In the second set of the dream, the first set was nothing but a dream. More realistic, I woke up alone in my dark room and noticed the shadow of an intruder. Again, the door was open. I recognized the intruder. She was a short lesbian with short hair and in an orange uniform. I went to the fast food chain to confront the manager about her crew. Surreal, she said, “She’s from the province. It’s her first time in the city and she thinks people living in condominiums are rich so she decided to rob them.” I do not recognize these people in real life. The dream ends and then I woke up.

In the third set of the dream, the second set was nothing but a dream. Even more realistic, I woke up alone in my dark room and the door was open. Still hung up on my second dream, I panicked and ran into the hallway. I screamed and went back to my unit. I looked around to see if anything was missing. Nothing was missing. The room felt bigger instead. Confused, I tried to wake myself up and confirm that I’m only dreaming. I sat down on the floor hugging my legs with my head buried between my knees and clenched my fists as hard as I can. The dream ends and then I woke up.

If I’m awake now, I can never tell.

Nested Dreams

Can People Really Think Outside the Box?

I see people as no different from computers. They have varying physical appearances, parts, and source code. As a software engineer, I know that when a computer behaves in an unexpected manner, it is usually for a reason. Sometimes, due to hardware malfunction or invalid user input but most of the time, it’s the developer’s fault. Most of the time, the error is very easy to trace. Other times, you are presented with long lines of nested errors. And under the many reasons leading up to the error, you have to hunt down the source. I must say that computers are not unpredictable at all if you know how to read them. And to read them is to have access to their source code and study the language they speak.

People are very predictable in the same way computers are. But people do not give away their source code so you have to hack them in some way. The reason why we think that unlike computers, people are impossible to read is because most of us are not inclined to noticing small details especially about other people. We notice if the person is male or female, attractive or unattractive, short or tall. We notice what they wear, what they carry, are they sitting or standing? Do they look sad, happy, angry? Are they walking slow or running fast? And other basic observations that we need in order to survive. The rest of the information are given away through talking and most of the time, people will only tell want they want other people to know.

And then there’s the subtle hint. Imagine interacting with a robot that follows the same pattern every hour of the day and then something outside that pattern occurs. For a moment, it seems like the robot is human and it sparks your interest. Same goes with people, people follow a certain behavior and as much as they want to believe that they are unpredictable, they always follow some sort of pattern.

We don’t really have much options. Every decision we make is just one of the options already presented before us. We can only think what we are allowed to think. I’m not talking about society and playing by its rules. I’m talking about our brains and how we’re programmed to be. We can never see beyond three dimensions no matter how hard we try. We invented religions to find excuses on what we cannot understand. Every time we question how an object existed, it all boils down to “God made it” or “I don’t know”. Who created God? Who created the universe? Who created the laws of physics?

We believe that everything has a beginning and an end because that’s our mind’s limit, that’s the way that the environment we lived in works, and that’s the reality for us. When we dive deeper into the root of all things, our guts explode into nothing. The thought that some things simply exist without being created or born is easy to consider but hard to imagine. Which brings me to my question, “Can we really think outside the box?” And what the hell is this box? Our we trapped inside the box to be protected from great concepts that could kill us?

I imagine the box as, well, a box. Inside, it is peaceful despite all the petty violence that humans call “chaos”. But these humans have never been outside that box. Their chaos is nothing compared to the chaos outside the box. If you were to ask an observer, that observer would say that our little box is peaceful. It is peaceful because no one is really free, everyone follows the same rule, and everything is born and dies. Humans are perfect, not compared to everything else in space. Humans are perfect humans. It’s our limitations that make us perfect.

Can People Really Think Outside the Box?

Undone

I never finish anything I do. I wanted to change that but couldn’t. I never say goodbye, I disappear. There’s something about giving closure to things and people that I just find very hard to do. Maybe I’m afraid of the emotion that comes with it. After all I’ve been through, I just couldn’t afford any more surge of emotions. And even if I try, I don’t know how else to respond to them but with despair and anger. Maybe I simply don’t want to make a decision because I know that every move I make opens up several paths to different destinations and I simply do not want to make another choice especially if it leads to the end. My mind is very tired. I don’t know how to make it stop thinking.

I played a lot of video games and I liked the adventure ones that has long story lines but I never finish them on purpose. If I had a hint that I’m about to reach the final boss or the final quest, I stop playing. There was a time when I accidentally finished a game because I didn’t know I was already up to the final boss. The game ended and I cried. I felt helpless thinking that I had no choice. Now all the characters are gone. I wanted them to exist for as long as I live but they are gone. I thought the same for people. I thought that if I just leave, they will stay the same way as when I left them.

A part of me wants to move on, sometimes she takes over. Another part of me wants to burn the bridges, most of the time she takes over. I find myself on the same ground, somewhere at the center, all bridges leading to me are burning. For a moment, I find peace. I’m unreachable. No one can touch me. I can be alone forever. But do I really want to be alone? I don’t know. It gets lonely sometimes. I like being alone but I crave for another warm body every now and then. This is just the way people are programmed and I’ve come to terms with the fact that there is no way to beat the developer when you are the machine.

People compare my disappearances to bubbles. They say I’m untraceable because I change my number, delete my social media accounts, and move to a different office or city. It doesn’t matter who you are to me, I will disappear anyway. When all I need is a break, I will go back but if you caused me too much pain and I know nothing can be fixed, you’ll never hear from me again. It all boils down to the choice I make and I make no regrets. I taught myself a long time ago to never regret anything, to disappear only when you’ve become detached, and to never take people for granted as you stay.

I want to immortalize ideas and people. If the world will end, I want it to end while I’m asleep. I don’t want to remember that any of these have ever happened.

Undone

Fragility and the Power of Suggestion

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Each time I go to the bathroom, I expect to walk into my bedroom and find myself sleeping on the bed. Not “myself” myself but a different me that’s still me. I always thought that time, aside from being the temporal dimension, is a very fragile and unforgiving one. Almost every story we hear and every movie we watch involves messing with time, turning back time, or going forward in time. People have always fantasized about time machines so they could go back in time to fix something or go forward into the future to discover something but hardly anyone dreams about living two timelines at once that are only a few minutes apart.

Sometimes you have those innocent and perfectly human moments where you have to use the bathroom but you are too sleepy to get up. Sometimes, you get up and sometimes, you sleep it off. When I wake up, I split these two realities in my head. Two, because it’s more simple to imagine. In the first reality, I get up and go to the bathroom and in the second reality, I sleep it off. Let’s invent a rule that there’s a certain hour, minute, second, and millisecond that no human is supposed to wake up but for some reason and I did. It causes a glitch where the two realities cohere. The other me got up and went to the bathroom while the other me decides to close her eyes and sleep again.

As soon as I get up, I wouldn’t notice that my reality has split into two. I would walk towards the bathroom, do my business, and walk back to the bedroom. As soon as I close my eyes and start falling asleep again, I wouldn’t notice that my reality has split into two. I would sleep and probably wake up when I hear someone walk into my bedroom. This is a spooky thought to think especially when you’re living alone like me. Sometimes, I peek into my bedroom or the bathroom to see if I am there when I am really “here”. It makes me feel like I’m going insane but I don’t see it as something so far from reality. After all, we don’t get just one.

Timelines can be so easy to mess up or duplicate because we never really notice when it happens. There is something that protects us from seeing the implications of the very small things we do each day. The butterfly effect, I bet you hear it all the time. How small causes can have large effects – as Wikipedia puts it. So let us see an example from a meta-human who sees these implications. The Flash, a speedster, is notoriously known for doing things to save other people and ending up messing the timeline. Every time he makes an innocently small change that causes good for someone, a big disaster happens in return.

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One of the greatest examples is The Flashpoint Paradox where The Flash saves his mother. Him keeping his mother alive steered another timeline into a different direction. The Bruce Wayne / Batman we used to know dies as a child. His father lives and becomes Batman. His mother succumbs into madness and becomes the Joker. Aquaman and Wonder Woman fought each other and lead a war between races which resulted into the end of the world. And it’s all because The Flash’s mother lives when she is not supposed to. That is why I say time is fragile and unforgiving. It takes very little change to make everything go so wrong.

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In the movie “Mr. Nobody”, the main character (Nemo) states several small decisions or little happenings that affected his life and other people’s lives in a big way. He stated losing the love of his life, Anna, because an unemployed man in Brazil stayed home and boiled an egg to eat. This caused a condensation and resulted into heavy rains on the other side of the world on the same day that Nemo receives Anna’s phone number after a long time of being apart. He says that he may have caused the man’s unemployment because he bought a different company’s cheaper jeans. These all lead to that exact moment that he loses contact with Anna. There were plenty of scenes like these in the movie including the part where a fragment of an eggshell dropped into the waffle batter while it was being made in the factory caused his father to stop for a moment when he bites into it which then caused him to lose track over his parked car and this lead to an accident. The car ran into a woman and kills her. In short, the small oversight of an employee from a waffle factory caused the beginning of the destruction of his family’s life, as well as the woman’s.

All these apply in real life and are probably inspired by real life. Most people do not recognize the impact of the little things we do and what more, the power of what we say. I’ve performed some experiments on the power of suggestion for quite some time. You would think that I’m not much of a talker and certainly wouldn’t have the interest in performing social experiments but I am. Perhaps, I’ve had too much fun on the experiment that you would no longer see it as an experiment but rather a lifestyle. You don’t need an army to destroy someone’s reputation and people’s lives, all you need is a single comment uttered at the perfect time and heard by the right people. The thing is, when you say something about a thing, an idea, a place, or another person, it starts to have some truth into it. When you utter the words, you bring those words to life, and as fantasy-like as it sounds, the more people who believe in those words, the more real it becomes.

If we know each other and I make a remark that someone we both know is taking advantage of women by constantly touching them and making it look “friendly”, you will consider the idea that he is. Now, if I say this in front of other women he’s close with, who had “touching” encounters with him, they will consider it too. A few may shake their heads and say “I don’t think that’s true” but the suggestion remains in the back of their minds. Every encounter they have with this man puts that suggestion into spotlight. Every encounter becomes a confirmation of the idea you planted into their minds. Such confirmations become so hard to resist and there will come a time that it is all you will see. Now that it becomes the truth, it will spread through word of mouth. Maybe it will reach the ears of new people who are yet to meet this guy and they will have that initial impression. Most of the time, they wouldn’t give him a chance to prove he’s innocent. Sometimes, they would and the confirmation phase comes to play. There you have it, you just destroyed someone’s reputation. This could lead him to getting fired, accused of sexual harassment, and not ever getting hired at all. If this man was suicidal, he’ll most likely take his already ruined life. In short, one artfully delivered remark can cause chaos or someone else’s life.

So how does this differ from the typical and petty “spread the rumors” that most teenage girls do to destroy each other’s reputation? Typical rumor-spreading does not require calculations. These rumors simply want to reach the most ears they could. They don’t target specific listeners. They could spread through texts or Facebook pages or any possible medium. And they are often first heard from sources that are not credible or people who have been known to be destructive liars. If I had the reputation for being an honest, intelligent, and credible source, people are more likely to believe whatever I say. No new findings there. If I’m the type of person who is private and rarely speaks against anybody, people will assume that whatever I speak about is big and serious. If instead of blatantly telling people something, I let myself be “overheard” while talking to a close friend and I appear to be burdened but not necessary crying or displaying “out there” emotions.. If I placed myself in a position where the people who will most likely overhear what I say are known to be talkative.. If at first interrogation, I refuse to answer their questions.. In short, if I give people the impression that my ideas are private, they assume that it’s important and must be true. After all, there’s no reason to hide something that isn’t true. Another thing to look at is if the enemy has already shown a hint of the reputation you’re trying to give him/her. If he/she does not, create that situation before making your “suggestion”. In the right place, at the right time, and with the right people, words have a powerful impact. There is no violence required to make such impacts and you are less likely to be convicted of the “crime”.

Now before you diagnose me of psychopathy, I’m saying all of these based on my observations and these techniques have become second nature to me. As crazy as it may sound, I perform such acts on good people and I rarely waste effort on revenge unless I need to stop someone that’s causing too much damage to others. You can reverse the intention by suggesting that someone has positive traits but people are more likely to believe the negative – negativity bias.

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For the highly analytical people, the power of suggestion is a subtle weapon of mass destruction. They know its importance and they utilize it. Perhaps, the best example of this evil can be found in the television series “Gotham” when Nygma decides to destroy Penguin after finding out that he ordered to kill his girlfriend. He orchestrated subtle hints that lead Penguin to kill one of his staffs, blurt something out that isn’t good for his reputation as mayor on national TV, make a fool out of him, break his heart, shoot him, and throw him into the river. Intense, isn’t it?

I guess the whole point of this insane article is to never take for granted every little detail. It’s a trait I find hard to find in most people and as arrogant as I may sound, I am amazed of their surprise and ignorance when the outcome of their actions is handed over to them.

Fragility and the Power of Suggestion