Monday, January 12, 2015

Dreaming...

NAMA - Statue of a sleeping Maenad 09
Photo by Marcus Cyron
via Wikimedia Commons
About a week ago, just after the start of the new year, I dreamt I was married and had a daughter*. But it seems I'd been neglecting my family, as well as my duties to our home. Not sure why; possibly because I pursued a career or simply my own entertainments, apart from them. A violent pang of remorse, and a deep desire to atone and reclaim my life, made me return to our home.

I went to my "husband" first. He was grimly unhappy with me. Hurt, somber. He was a tall, blond man, wiry, with a bit of scruff along his jaw and chin. He looked like a man who hadn't slept in God knows how long. He's not anyone I know in real life. I walked up to him, gingerly hugged him. I had to stretch and get up on my tiptoes to do it. He didn't resist me, but was slow to respond. He did eventually hold me, though. It was almost as though he surrendered to the inevitability of having me back.

I apologized for not being what I ought to have been to him and our daughter. He was quiet, wary, sad. But he loved me, he wanted me, and he was prepared to do what it took to mend things because we belonged to one another. His embrace went from passive to active, he held me closer, welcoming whatever I had to offer, even if it was more pain. I pressed a kiss, like a pledge, to the area of his face between his chin and cheek, and I loved the feel of his yielding flesh beneath my lips. Then I sagged in relief against him. Over his arm, I spied a home in dire need of attention, a sink overflowing with filthy dishes. Guilt for having shirked my responsibilities to those I loved, for so very long, overwhelmed me.

I searched for my daughter next. A matronly woman appeared, a babysitter or nanny. She eyed me with grave suspicion, and I couldn't blame her. I told her why I was there. The woman said my daughter feared me seeing her, worried that I'd be disappointed by her. From what my dream self could remember, she was really just a little girl, perhaps five, and that she could harbor such concerns puzzled me. I stood firm in my wishes and the woman took me to my daughter's room. I approached a crib, I think, and a small, blanketed figure was handed to me. But it wasn't human. It was a tiny Lego figure. That was my daughter—a thumb-sized, hard, plastic figure. I felt alarm, hysteria, but also a bewildered love. Had she become that way for want of me?

Capricho 43, El sueño de la razón produce monstruos
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
by Francisco Goya
I awoke soon after that discovery. Regret, shame weighed heavily upon me all that day. The suffering of my dream mate I could still feel, like a fog drifting around me. And the shock of seeing what had become of my daughter, I couldn't bear. Meaning grew, like ivy, taking over every thought. My husband was God, a Judeo-Christian omnipotent power, ready to forgive and welcome home the wayward sheep; the home in shambles really my notebooks, containing tales and songs half-done, gathering dust in their various stacks; my plastic daughter who'd failed to become real and thrive signified the talents I've been given and have failed to nurture ever since the fall of 2013. Or maybe she represents me: a woman made small, and immobilized, by depression...

...or do dreams even mean anything, at all? Back in college, a psych professor told me they were nothing but electrical activity in my brain, triggering memories that flashed in my mind's eye. Maybe that's so. Maybe we'll never know, either way. Perhaps we're not meant to be satisfied on the matter, but to ever wonder at the secrets we tell ourselves as we slumber...


*In reality, I'm a divorced mother of a teenaged son.

7 comments:

  1. Well to be honest, why didn't he do the bloody dishes whilst you were away? Shirker.

    This is what I think it means: You want to be married to Eric from True Blood and who can blame you. You maybe wished for a girl child at some point in your life and this is why she is represented as a toy; something you would have to make from blocks and not flesh. There's always a shit load of work waiting for you to dutifully do, despite there being other people in the house.

    I actually believe that dreams are a mixture of our darkest worries and most exciting fantasies along with a bit of 'whatever has struck a chord' that day on TV or other media. It makes you wonder when you can awake from something that you know is make believe and yet still feel the trauma of it for the whole day.

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  2. Well the husband sounded hot but that was pretty weird about your lego daughter. I have a lot of weird, troubling dreams too. Not sure where they come from...probably my subconscious trying to work things out from my past and present. Like when I lived out west, I dreamt about here all the time. Now that I'm here, I dream about out there. The ones containing Brian are esp. troubling. I hate those.

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  3. Wow! Now THAT was a dream! I am always amazed at how the feelings from a dream can sometimes stick with you for the day.

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  4. I rarely dream, or maybe I just don't remember my dreams. I do have the random, infrequent one that I remember vividly or just barely. The vivid ones tend to be nightmares, and I can usually figure out what led to them. I think dreams are a way one's brain processes all its data, trying to make sense of one's myriad feelings, impressions, worries, knowledge, and fantasies. One can take what makes the most sense from them and try to use it. When there seems to be no sense, then one moves on and chalks it up to an interesting mini-movie the subconscious made purely for entertainment. If you can take from this dream that the man is your muse or God and the Lego baby is your talent, then I think that's a worthwhile interpretation and gives you somewhere to go. Otherwise, think of it as just one of those weird dreams and go get a set of Lego to build sonething.

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  5. What a dream! I like the suggestion that your husband was Eric from True Blood. That's a dream of mine too. And I'm surprised I don't dream about LEGO considering how much I play with my little guy. As for dreams, I believe they're sometimes nonsense and sometimes the mind trying to make sense of things. If you have repeating themes in dreams, then that is something to wonder about. Otherwise, just enjoy Eric. Mmmm...

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  6. Vivid dream. I can see how it left lingering doubt and guilt. Maybe dreams do mean something. I don't know. if they do, I sure wish I could remember more of mine.

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  7. I've had dreams like that.. dreams that leave me pondering life and feeling deep, sometimes disturbing emotions. I think dreams can be random or be our mind's way of working issues out in our sleep. The facts of the story may not match our situation, but the underlying theme may be worth some consideration.

    In any case, if it spurs your muse, use it and get writing! :D

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