Last night, to ring in the New Year, I had an old dream.
For the record, there are two recurring dreams that I have. One is that I am just super casually pooping in public and realize too late that such behavior is social suicide. In these dreams, I am without fail approached enthusiastically by someone I have long wished to impress. Awkward and distracted conversation ensues as I desperately cling to the possibility that my pooping in the azaleas with my skirt hiked around my waist will go somehow go unnoticed. And surprisingly, it always does. Turns out that most people I want to impress are total fuckwits, in the end.
Nonetheless, those dreams are never fun, and I invariably wake up grossed out. I have no idea what it means, so don’t ask.
Seriously. Let’s just move on.
My second recurring dream is equally horrific, though totally different. In it I have been transported back to the personal prison of my childhood. And by “personal prison of my childhood”, I mean life under my mother’s roof. In these dreams, I am an adult, so theoretically I could just get up and walk out of the house and go live somewhere else and no one would stop me.
But the globbity gook of dream rationality is such that instead I just try to hide from her in various rooms and complain emphatically to my friends and teachers. (Yes, I am also a 40-year-old high school student in these dreams, and there is a certain degraded frustration about this, like, “What the fuck? How have I not even finished high school yet?” Despite this, I am still mildly popular, probably in part because I abstain completely from public defecation).
At the real pit of these dreams is the horrible reminder that when I was young I really didn’t know if I was crazy, or if my situation was crazy. Mom would prowl around the house and I never knew when I accidentally stumbled upon her if she was going to offer me a sandwich or clock me over the head with a broom handle. Well, no, that’s not true. I did know. It was pretty much always going to be the fucking handle. But I never knew where or when, and the primitive survival tactics required kept me from even wondering about the why.
That life sucked. And that dream sucks. But the nice thing about it is that when I wake up, I am always so happy that I eventually got away and figured it all out. Turns out that yes, I am crazy. But not the dangerous, wildly unpredictable, tackle-your-daughter-in-the-front-yard kind of crazy. More the confused, moderately paranoid, occasionally-join-cult-religions kind. And I’m okay with that. Mostly. I mean, I have to be. So whatever.
Anyway, it is the recurring dream of the second variety from which I woke this morning. The trapped-with-a-psychopath-that-also-happens-to-be-your-next-of-kin one. But this time, there was a variation. In this dream I couldn’t hide anywhere, for any amount of time, because I was being held in a near-suffocating embrace, and I trudged around my dreamscape with my blonde, 110-pound baby koala mom gripped tightly to me. I know for some mothers and daughters this might seem sweet. I even wondered, “Is this sweet?” But my desire to slam hard into a fence post or roll around in a smoldering fire pit was so great that I could tell it wasn’t. It felt like I was wearing a straightjacket. A straightjacket made out of a violent, crazy person.
I didn’t remember this dream until about halfway through the day, right around the time I was letting my dog out. It must have been the shock of strong sunlight that triggered it. It struck me hard, like a broom handle to the skull, and I was forced to sit on the couch for a while afterwards and let my slow mind attempt to sort it out. I can’t say I’m entirely sure about all of it, but the main gist seems to be that I need to be careful about who I let in. I mean, really. Because some people, it seems, just want to to be worn like a human straightjacket. And I’m pretty open, in many ways, but I sure as shit don’t want that. I know that for sure.
It’s a blessing, in a way. That dream. Because look. It’s an hour yet until the new year, and no resolution has ever been more obvious.
So, you know. Happy New Year. May what is needed in your life present itself just as easily.