The past comes back, yet again.
I suppose one of the problems with doing a large scale research project (aka my Masters Thesis), is that somebody finds a digital copy somewhere and cites it, or finds the citation in someone else’s footnotes, and then 13 years later (Christ, has it been that long?), I get a message from someone asking me if I’m the same person that did a study on Visitation Dreams from the dead.
Yes. I am.
That was a long time ago, and a different me, entirely.
I invested a few years in that endeavor, and what I hoped would launch me into a life in academia, in a field that I loved, turned into a near metaphorical plane crash, as my life was being systematically destroyed by someone who I’d been led to believe was a good person. I graduated. I finished my thesis, but the person who wrote it – the person I was – died a few months later, having sacrificed too much of his identity to trying to appease someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Therapy has not recovered that person. I had to rebuild myself from scratch. I am not who I was, nor can I be.
I am actually mostly at peace with this. Mostly. Besides, I have other interests now, and the whole experience, despite leading to near complete destruction of my Self, also taught me that people I’d thought were friends really weren’t, and the academic community in which I’d done my research actively contributed to my psychological demise (albeit, not deliberately).
So, yes. I spent the better part of 5 years, trying to tackle the mysteries of consciousness. I spent the last two of those years, exhaustively researching the phenomenon of the dead appearing in dreams, from across four disciplines – psychology, anthropology, parapsychology, and dream studies. I tried to pinpoint just *what* exactly was different about these dreams, why and how they felt “different” than “normal” dreams (whatever those are). I wrote about it. I presented at a few conferences. Someone attended one of my presentations, and mentioned me in her own book. I’ve had a few small publication credits.
But the life in academia never materialized. My life in the field of consciousness research never materialized. Because I was too busy rebuilding the very basics of my existence, and by the time I was functional again, those worlds had passed me by. And, if I’m being honest, I no longer trust them, nor my ability (or desire) to move in those worlds without opening myself up to further harm.
So I let it go. I probably have a book I could publish based on my research, but I’ve also become really weirdly stingy about it. Why should I share it with the world? The world doesn’t care, and frankly, there’s more important stuff to care about in the world right now.
In any event, I asked the person who messaged me to email me. So far, he hasn’t. I don’t really know what I have to offer him, but to be fair, I don’t know what he’s looking for, either.
My interests are now radically different from those times, though threads of esotericism and the occult continue to be a conceptual framework that I want to bring to the fore of my slowly evolving Next Project.
I am happy with where I am in life right now (practically a year of Staying the Fuck Inside, notwithstanding). I can probably answer this person’s questions, just fine.
I just wish the thought of it didn’t cause the all-too-familiar nausea that usually comes with having to revisit this material.