Reckoning with terror that’s existential and irl

Howsannie

This is me right now, on the inside. It’s also the whole world right now, on the outside.

I just finished season 3 of Twin Peaks (what I believe is probably the final season of the series) and oh boy, am I shook.

In general the media I’ve been consuming lately has really led me down a vortex of screaming, writhing existential anguish–and I’m talking media that includes sci-fi drama entertainment and real-world news outlets. More on that later. First, other than other than the all-consuming vortex, I should note that I’m doing relatively well. Aside from the occasional pangs of dread and terror, I’m doing my best to stay mentally and physically healthy, and it’s really hard sometimes, but I’m not going to let myself free-fall down a whirlwind of pain and suffering. I’m privileged enough to not have to.

I’m hoping to not come off sounding like a crazy person here, because I think what I’m experiencing is being felt on a lot of different levels throughout the world right now.

First, here’s what’s been happening in my brain.

  • Okay, I don’t want to ramble about to Twin Peaks too much because I already do this enough as it is, so I’m going to get this one out of the way. It needs to be gotten out of the way (btw, spoilers ahead).It was all a dream?!?

    I’ve been reading a lot of TP theory after feeling really lost and a little frustrated as many viewers have, and I’m really buying into the ep. 18 dream theory. There are a few different forums and articles and blog posts about the theory, but this one is what really convinced me.  Basically, the evidence points to the idea that, when Cooper wakes up from his weird sexy motel night with Diane, he wakes up in the reality of the viewer. Our reality, not the reality of Twin Peaks or the Black Lodge or anything discernibly supernatural.

    Cooper takes Laura/Carrie Page to her mother’s house in Twin Peaks, but their arrival in TP is different from what the viewer would expect it to be. They don’t drive past the famous “Welcome to Twin Peaks” sign of the opening credits, but they arrive in town via a bridge that would really take you to Snoqualmie, WA, which is Twin Peaks irl. They stop at a real-life Valero gas station and drive past the real-life, non-fictionalized-but-based-on-the-fictional Double R. Instead of Sarah Palmer, the woman who answers the door at Laura’s old supposed home is the real-life owner of the Palmer house. And there’s a lot more evidence to support this waking-up-from-a-dream theory that was built up throughout The Return, but this is the short-version of the explanation that satisfies me most when it comes to the end of the series. (Which isn’t confirmed, btw, but if the dream theory holds true, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to continue on with a season 4.)

    Anyway, episodes 17 and 18 and the dream theory and Twin Peaks as a whole had me going a little bit insane last night.

    “We are like the dreamer who dreams and lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?”

    I don’t know! But I’m guessing the dreamer is us viewers, an idea that David Lynch has played with before but that now really has me looking at television and like, life, in a different way.

  • Knowing that the end of Twin Peaks was coming all too soon, I turned to Welcome to Night Vale for a new form of weird, somehow comforting supernatural/sci-fi entertainment. And while I love it, I’m pretty sure that all of the U.S. is going to become Night Vale by 2021, and that anyone who doesn’t vote correctly will be executed one-by-one in an HBO-equipped repurposed mineshaft.
  • Then there’s all the actual real-life disasters that are tearing up Houston, Puerto Rico and soon Florida, and the air is really starting to feel apocalyptic. It’s especially difficult when there’s nothing that any of us can do to keep these storms from killing and separating and displacing families. We can send money and enact legislation to make things a little easier in the aftermath, but since these ginormous tropical storms are an effect of a changing/increasingly warm, moist climate, only the Powers That Be can make real, impactful environmental change. And they’re not doing anything. When they do, it won’t be quick enough.There have been other terribly destructive hurricanes and tropical storms in the recent past, but not such strong category 5 disasters riding the coattails of one after another. It’s almost like the majority of us have been living in a dream in regards to climate change, but are now having to wake up to these real-world disasters and realize that our nonchalance was a dream of our own manufacturing. (See what I did there?)

Those first two bullet points seem really silly in comparison to the fact that climate change is tangibly affecting peoples’ lives as we speak. Twin Peaks and Night Vale were created to ignite questions and curiousity in their viewers, which can sometimes lead to a mini existential crisis of sorts, like mine, but my crisis isn’t really important. Right now, real-life terrors should be sparking questions, criticisms and crises in us all.

Twin Peaks: The Return doesn’t just blur the line between TV and reality, but it snaps its viewers out of the comfortable reliability of cherry pie and Angelo Badalementi songs, awake to the harsh realities of our actual lives instead of hazy and nostalgic dreams, like the one that Audrey woke up from after her dance in the Roadhouse.

In our Snoqualmie reality, people are being evacuated from coastal cities and Trump is ending DACA. I know, relating these tragedies to Twin Peaks and the existentialism I’m facing is kind of a stretch. But it got you to read this!

If you haven’t already, text “Resist” to 50409 to contact your state representatives and help save DACA.

If you’re looking to donate to Hurricane Harvey victims, here is a helpful list of charities. (I recommend donating to the local organizations. With bigger orgs like the Red Cross, it’s unlikely that all of your money will go directly toward helping those in need.)

As for how I’m staying mentally sane throughout all the chaos of the world (and non-world): keeping busy, yoga and sleep.

I’ll see you at the curtain call.

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