I slept for 3 days after that.
I dreamt of my dad. I was with him inside a clear plastic box, the size of a tiny room. He was sitting at a clear plastic table on a clear plastic chair. His big plastic frame bifocals have slid to the end of his nose. I was screaming loudly but no sound was audible, trying to find a way out of the room but I couldn’t. I could feel the exertion in my throat, but I was watching myself from outside the plastic box, which was soundproof. Or maybe the dream was soundproof. There was the quiet crispy static of radio silence. My dad was reading as I screamed, until finally he looked up in annoyed disbelief, like he couldn’t understand why I would want to leave, why I was willfully disturbing his reading. Didn’t I know how much he needed his silent reading time?
I dreamt of Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was, like, mid-40s Arnold, like Terminator Arnold, not dubbed Hercules Arnold. His skin had just begun to pull away from the bone, from the sub-dermal anchor that makes skin taut. We were on a crime spree. He worshiped me. He managed to scam us into a ritzy hotel penthouse. He was sitting in the Olympic size hot tub, steam rising from the pool and the head of his hard dick was visible. I was walking around slowly, just like he liked, in an enormous full-length fur coat. And finally I stop in front of him and I drop the coat to the mother of pearl encrusted floor. He starts crying – he’s never seen anything more beautiful than my naked body. A thin white woman appears, and she tells me there’s no way a man like him could love a woman like me. She has a frothy, venomous smile. Arnold doesn’t bother moving. He knows I’m going to take care of it. I lean forward, my cheek against hers, my mouth against her ear, and as I push a knife into her leg I tell her what a piece of shit liar she is. Arnold happily watches.
I dream that I am at a lecture. The woman says:
“The thing about internalized colonialism that you need to understand is that you don’t necessarily feel it. It’s not like a cold, where you start to feel a tickle and you know something unpleasant is on the horizon. Internalized colonialism is more like the frog in the slowly boiling pot. Imperceptible. Until you’ve been consumed, and you can’t even imagine how it all happened.
“It’s like being taught to only eat bones. You don’t know how to have an appetite for meat.
"Internalized colonialism lives in the tiny feelings, small discomforts, clearing of throats, minor flushes of the face. Not some monster with horns and tentacles, but yourself with the parts of you that you don’t know how to shed. Not loud, panting bigotry, but polite smiles and naïve hopes.”
I dream about the time I was a little girl, and I was learning all the names of the books in the Bible. The sad woman who was teaching us all the Bible things was named Tanya. She liked talking about weight loss. She liked sugar-free, caffeine-free coca cola. She'd ask me to bring her can after can from the little cooler we packed for our weekend at Little Girls Who Love Jesus Camp. Her husband had a red face and liked vodka. Her son had a speech impediment that was caused by the expectation of his silence. We'd sing:
At the camp Tanya asked every girl to come into her bedroom to talk to her alone. She'd begin with simple questions "do you like the camp?" "did the Holy Spirit touch you tonight?" and those quickly progressed to the measurable outcome portion: "did you speak in tongues?" I didn't like to lie and so I said no. She said, "well you weren't touched by the Holy Spirit then, were you?" And I felt the sting of failure.
In the dream I can hear Tanya's thoughts. She hates me and all my fellow Girls Who Love Jesus campers. She relishes the opportunity to tell us that the Holy Spirit didn't touch us. She pretends to speak in tongues. She says "you stole my bowtie" over and over, faster and faster.
ABOUT THE BOOK
I release a new chapter a week on Thursdays - unless I'm exceedingly overwhelmed or whatever I write is so epically terrible I'm too embarrassed to put it on the internet.