November 28:  Just what kinds of possibilities are we letting into the bedroom?

Our bedrooms are private vaults–we keep our secrets in here. We only show them to people we trust. We don’t let just anyone in. Safe to be ourselves in our room, we relax knowing we are in a private sanctum. This room is locked tight, we think. Except… that balcony… that window.

“What is happening in this painting, Jerome??”

Why is it that, in movies, supernatural entities all seem to have a key to every balcony door and bedroom window? The strange things enter in through windows of the bedroom–whether it is Dracula at the balcony of Mina’s bedroom, or Frankenstein entering through the balcony to kill Victor’s wife, or George Hamilton’s Dracula in the 70s alighting on Susan St. James’ balcony saying with a sly smile as the breeze pushes the curtains away, “With you, never a quickie. Always a longie.” It is the beating on the bedroom window of the gnarly tree in Poltergeist, the giant vulture who brings a cage every night to the balcony of Andromeda to carry her away to see Calibos in Clash of the Titans, The Snowman coming to take James on a magical flight to the Arctic, Romeo climbing up to see Juliet, Aladdin alighting on Jasmine’s balcony, Salem Lot’s child at the window, Phantom of the Opera, Peter Pan, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The bedroom, inaccessible? Every rogue, bandit, and monster knows how to get into an upstairs window! These three moth men have no trouble. Maybe Yukon left it open because it was hot. It makes sense that horror movies capitalize on bedroom windows–the only way into our security from the outside. But erotic and romantic stories also play with balconies–as the passage into the forbidden room, the access to the Lover that bypasses the guards, the parents, the doors. Romantic fantasies quiver on the possibility of love working hard to find us, especially when we’ve failed to find love before. Fantasies use them as launchpads and gateways to the mysterious and wondrous waiting just outside. “I can show you the world…”

Are we frightened or intrigued by these access points? Something has gotten in and sees us–sees the private things we hide! Oh my. Just what kinds of things are we letting in to our bedrooms?

Our thoughts are the real access points–the other window into our rooms, our sleep –and those we can control, sometimes.

***

I’ve had a lot of bad dreams and scary moments in my bedrooms. Being a sensitive, imaginative kid, I experienced my share of nighttime paralysis where I would see things in my room that would frighten me–still frighten me. Heads rising up the wall, children coming in and out of the closet, covers being pulled off by invisible hands. I’ve heard voices in my room fly down from the ceiling and whip past my ear telling me I was not safe. It looked like a fortress, didn’t it? Who let these things in?

However, I’ve also had some good dreams of someone coming to take me on journeys, flights, or back up to the Enterprise to live my new life. I’ve imagined lovers, or werewolves that just need a place to stay until the hunting party leaves the forest, or angels watching over me, or fun dreams of wandering through castles, or dogs that I know from the past finding me. Some of us pray in our bedrooms, allowing a safe protective spirit of God or Spirit to enter and comfort us. We want to have good things in our dreams, our thoughts, our hopes! We want to imagine the positive possibilities. We want to have choices about what gets in–what gets access–who sees us–what gets barred.

***

This was my second painting in the Yukon series, back in art school. The surprise on Yukon’s face! The three moth men coming in through the window to scare him?? to cuddle with him?? I got a lot of kidding by my fellow artists about the magically-supported sheets up against his legs. I swear I just didn’t get the folds right, and now it looks like something else is holding them up. How much fun it was to create this painting!–kind of a taboo for me to break. A giant naked man. My first. I still get asked if this is my body. Why do people want to know? That’s a very private question! I think they want to know because they assume I’m making the private public and that I want public question about what should be unknown. They think they’ve seen something private from my bedroom. They think I’ve given them access to a private fantasy! HAHA, they say! I’ve let them in. Any question is okay now….

Well, mothmen coming in my window, hmm; it is a nicer thought than the fears I used to have about things in my bedroom. I used to be afraid to go to sleep because of recurring nightmares. But I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking of awesome things happening–or reading happier, cozier, fantasy books before bed, or watching something light and fun before I sleep. I fill my room with fantasy and imagination before I sleep. I laugh.

Our dream life and our fantasy life need to crowd out our Fear life. If we have to think about the future in the face of the unknown, let it be warm, inviting, magical and mystical things that mean us no harm. The fantasies (or horrors) we allow into our minds color the way we experience the world–as a place of hope or harm around every corner. They can give us good sleep or no sleep. I choose to believe that there is hope around the corner because I want to open up my window to the fantasies and the magic and be vulnerable to the possibility of joy.

May good thoughts and good fantasies fill your minds and rooms this holiday season!

____________________________

This is part of the “The Bedroom is Our Living Room,” as part of “The Further (Queer) Adventures of Yukon Cornelius” series of paintings I did, reimagining the prospector from the Christmas special as a gay man whose whole life is helping “Hiddens” (or as other people put it, Monsters) as they adapt to life in a world of often fearful humans. My way of talking about queer issues and queer life.

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