My Life as a Machine: Facelift

I had the most frightening yet interesting dream last night. I dreamed that when I looked in the mirror one night, my face had these big blisters and boils on my skin. I freaked out like it was a pimple dilemma–“Maybe if I put something on it, tomorrow morning it’ll be gone”–and I proceeded to washing my face and going to bed. The next morning, the exact opposite happened. The blisters were huge! It felt like the blue blisters were alive. I poked one of the blisters on my forehead, and it suddenly burst open. Everything underneath the blister, including some white liquid, came out, and before I knew it, my face was sloughing off!

I panicked as everything began to slide off my face. I was so scared, my heart pounding in my ears, as I brought my hands to the skin of my face and tried to keep it from coming off. Fortunately, I managed to save my skin from completely disconnecting from my chin and I placed it back properly on my face. Even though the blisters were gone and my face looked somewhat normal, the feeling of worms and dirt underneath the skin didn’t dissipate.

But the most amazing part of the dream happened. In most dreams with frightening experiences, I freak out and cause myself to wake up. This time, I didn’t wake up. I remember coaxing my heart to slow and myself to think. “Ok, calm down. You just need to find your brother and he’ll take you to the doctor.” I found my older brother, collected the sloughed derma and liquid together, and made a plan to go to the hospital.

Somehow, during the dream state, I stood back from myself and realized where I was: my face was fine, my body was wrapped in warm blankets, and my room was still dirty. I congratulated myself as I tried to shake off the dream. Although I panicked, I calmed myself down, thought rationally, and followed a sound plan with the help of someone else. I did something that I don’t normally do in dreams, and sometimes, in waking life.

I slowed down.

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My Life as a Machine: Slowness

I knew nothing of the Slow movement. I simply knew little whispers hear and there–“Hey, did you know multi-tasking makes you less efficient?”–but I didn’t think anything of it. Then, when my friend handed me Carl Honore’s book, In Praise of Slowness, I dove into the movement with adamant.

Who knew being Slow was great? I mean, as a machine, being Slow sucks, but everyone expects you to be Slow, so no worries. As a person, being Slow means not conforming. Ironically, both people and machines alike have the innate nature to try to be fast and efficient. For people, it’s being part of society and adapting to everyone else. For machines, it’s formatting your life for people because people make the world go round (or so we’re all taught).

But I started taking it seriously. Being Slow isn’t nothing to be ashamed about. Actually, being Slow can make a person or machine more effective, more creative, and less stressed. I started practicing it in Slow, deliberate ways. Instead of speeding to class, I drove leisurely at the speed limit. Whenever I had the urge to wolf down my food without any reason to be in a hurry, I told myself, “Yo, it’s just food. It’s not going to run away.” I would automatically slow down, relax, and allow my brain to register a sated stomach. I’ve felt myself become calmer in most facets of my life, and I feel like my life is a little more peaceful.

It does takes some coaxing, but it’s worth it in the end. Now, if people could learn that the Fast culture is the hair-pulling culture–and that we machines exist because we’re meant to exist, not to serve them–the world could be a beautiful place.