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1:01 pm - Thu 1/2/03
Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying

THURS 1/3/03 9:42 am

Like many people, I sometimes have dreams where I'm flying.

But even in my dreams, the feeling that "I just can't get it right..." persists; I'm not sure of the correct aeronautical term, but in my dream flights, I have a hard time controlling how I fly.

Sometimes it's more like I'm being pulled along, feet-first, and it'll take all my energy just to get into the appropriate "Superman" position.

At other times, while the rest of my body is weightless, my legs will not have gotten the memo, and I won't be able to keep them straight out behind me. I end up flying along with my legs dangling limply, making me feel decidedly uncool (Hmmm...legs "dangling limply". You don't have to be Freud to figure out that symbolism!).

I'm never really in control. Or more accurately, I'm fighting for control of something that is basically just happening to me. Flying, in my dreams, isn't a "superpower"; It's just an odd phenomenon I'm trying to get out in front of.


When I was younger, before I'd actually had sex, all my sex dreams had the theme of coitus interruptus, or sexual humiliation. Sometimes both.

A few memorable examples:

1. I'm in my bedroom, with Valerie Bertinelli. I'm giving her a backrub. I put my hands up under her shirt, and I'm trying to unhook her bra, when my Dad starts knocking on the door, asking me just what I'm doing in there ("Dad" would be Mr Pupo, who was playing the role of "Dad" at the time this dream took place).

2. I'm on the schoolbus, sitting with Abby Jacobs (Who was rumoured to be "easy"). The bus is full of kids, but we start making out, then taking off our clothes. When we're naked, and about to "get busy" (As the kids say these days), the rest of the kids on the bus, who had been oblivious till then, start laughing and pointing at us.

3. At a high school dance, I'm dancing with a girl. She unzips my pants, and...well, since this isn't "Penthouse Forum", lets just cut to the end--the same kids who were oblivious to me and Abby Jacobs till "the moment of truth" end up laughing and pointing at my rather obvious excitement.

(It just occurred to me--I can't remember the last sex dream I had...)


I remember, a long time ago, talking with my friend Tim Foley about the monsters that showed up in our nightmares.

His monsters were more along the lines of Godzilla--Big, dinosaur-like things--while mine were more human in scale, and sometimes were human. I was more likely to be terrorized by Frankenstein or the Wolfman, or just chased by some scary stranger, than to be stepped on by King Kong (I'm not sure what that difference in scale meant, but am pretty sure it meant something. Just like I think it was meaningful that my monsters were "humanoid"; I'm guessing that, as a child, I had more reason to be afraid of people than Tim did, and my dreams sybolically reflected that).

I was very big on monsters as a kid, and on some level, I think I still am (Aliens and The Terminator are two of my favorite movies, and what are they, really, if not "monster movies" in a sci-fi setting?. And of course, I'm a major "Buffy" fan).

I remember I had a poster of Bela Lugosi on my bedroom door (A "life-sized" poster, with glow-in-the-dark eyes that would scare the crap out of me at night!). And I really liked monster movies, and magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland, and monster model kits, and all that good stuff (I remember looking in the back of the monster magazines, and desperately wanting the super-expensive, "professional quality" monster masks you could order through the mail. Sadly, I couldn't afford them then, and I can't afford them now).

(Semi-interesting side note; I've played both "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" on stage. And yes, I know "Frankenstein" is actually the doctor, and not the monster.)

One of the comments a social worker made, in a letter sent to me as an adult, was how she remembered David and I--David was my older foster brother when I lived with Mrs DeHaven--playing "monsters" in the backyard (I don't remember exactly how we played "monsters"--I assume he'd be one monster, I'd be another monster, and we'd fight each other--but it's not that hard for me to imagine).

Watching Dracula and Frankenstein recently, it struck me--"Dracula" would be my "fantasy" of being a monster--witty, commanding, kind of sexy---while "Frankenstein" is more the way I really see myself. Or more accurately, I see myself as "Dracula" while the world views me more as "Frankenstein" (One of Mr Pupo's rather unkind pet names for me was "Herman Munster". In school, I was also sometimes likened to "Lurch" and, yes, "Frankenstein").

That's the aspect of "monsters", and what they mean to me, that I find most interesting; They symbolize both my fantasies (Of control, of being "a force to be reckoned with") and my fears (Of being ugly, unacceptable, somehow not completely human) .

Some days I'm the monster, and some days I'm the monster-fighter.

And interestingly enough, some days I'm both.


A persistent fantasy I've had in recent years involves the courageous, last-ditch, sacrificial effort. Slowing down the monster, or monsters, just long enough for everyone to escape (ex. "Gandalf" and the "Balrog" in Lord of the Rings).

It's pretty clear to me where part of that fantasy springs from--I know I'm never going to be cast as the "hero" in a movie, but that said, I still might be allowed a heroic moment in a movie---but I think a deeper meaning to that fantasy is my wish for a person, or group of people, that I would be willing to die for.

(I have so much I want to write about right now, but I think I'm going to leave off here, and take up again a little later on....)


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