Mabel knows her brain is messed up and is super proactive about doing stuff about it. At first, it’s really scary, but she’s the first one to ask their parents if she can start counseling because certain shades of pink make her space out and she may have had a panic attack because a really cute girl asked her out to homecoming and the words too good to be true wouldn’t stop buzzing around in her head.
Mabel’s a lucid dreamer. She knows when she’s dreaming and she can control it. It’s a very familiar feeling. She tries to make her dreams into places she knows aren’t real, weird art galleries with twisting blown-glass slides and gold toilets and weird hamster tubing all around. She tries not to imagine people there so she won’t forget and think its real.
Lucid dreamers are super susceptible to sleep paralysis so she finds out that sucks pretty fast. Sometimes she sleeps in the bathtub with a comforter because it’s something cool and weird and really real.
Mabel tries to deal with all of this brain and dream stuff and mostly manages to function. It makes her sad that her parents admit they hadn’t noticed anything off at all when she tells them she needs therapy. They ask if they shouldn’t let the two of them go away for the summer again and Mabel tells them she can’t not go. That would make it worse for her.
Mabel grows up in waiting rooms with outdated carpeting, bad magazines, and those cool slider toys that she refuses to grow out of. She’s very open with her therapist, who takes all the weird stories in her stride, mostly believing that they are parts of dreams that Mabel’s anxiety manifests through. Mabel makes calming jars and blanket forts and all the cutesy stuff, because it’s fun and it makes her feel safe.
She looks for imperfections when she’s disassociating. Ugly colors, a crooked line of stitching on her clothes, the fraying curtains in the waiting room. She collects the cast off sculptures from her school’s art class and has a weird corner dedicated to them in her room. Uncute things make her feel comfortable.
When she feels really bad and Dipper’s around, they plan a big dang road trip for when they graduate high school. They’ve been talking about how they’re not going to be together forever, but they’ll work to not lose each other.
They talk about ugly vans and inviting Pacifica, Candy, and Grenda. They talk about going to the worst tourist traps in the country and all the tacky bumper stickers they’re going to get. They’re scared of a lot of things that are different and they try to talk about that.
Dipper doesn’t want to go to therapy and that makes Mabel sad. She has him write stuff down and she has mock sessions with him so that she can “learn the art of healing word things” for herself.
Mabel never has dreams about the road trip. Or about therapy or earnestly ugly things or her family. She dreams colors and ugly-cute and being alone.
She likes to try to make miniatures of the places in her dreams. Her fear of stop motions long cast aside, she thinks about making stories for those places she builds in mindscape and styrofoam.
The stories are sad and ugly and alone. And they make her feel a little less of each of those things.