Saturday, January 30, 2016

What Dreams May Come.

What dreams may come.
I have always had a rather overactive subconscious.  My dreams are vivid and complex experiences - set to music or even spoken in foreign languages that slip away the moment consciousness creeps back in.  But they took a decidedly sinister turn in the days when poison and fear laced through my veins.  Soon I came to dread the sleep I so desperately needed.

I began recording my dreams at the suggestion of my therapist - though saying the words out loud would often induce great heaving sobs which would continue the rest of our scheduled session.  Reading these accounts years later, I cannot fathom how I managed to find the strength to continue through treatment.  The only explanation is I knew no other way.

***
Day 2 post chemo: The wasps plagued me through the night once again.  Heaving bodies crawling across vulnerable flesh.  Never stinging but ever present.  They are an oddly morbid presence with often gruesome attributes - some with wings ripped from their bodies.  And crawling.  Always crawling.


Week 3 post chemo:  I dreamt I found a small duck with a broken neck covered in oily sludge.  I cared for it, gingerly bringing it down to the river to swim.  The weight of its flaccid head dragged it under over and over again, in effect drowning it with the cure.  I refused to give up, could not let it go, yet could not bring myself to kill it.  I kept holding out hope that its neck would heal if only I could let it swim in the water.

I awoke and knew it would die.

****
At the time I was going through treatment I  would have never dared to talk about the dreams that held me hostage each night and exposed this inner angst.  While still so close to the fire it felt a dangerous invitation to give these fears a name - and it was clear my subconscious was not as sure footed as I liked to believe I appeared.

I share this with you now because I recently began journaling my dreams once again, as I've found  when I record the messages from my subconscious I am somehow able to be free of them.  And thankfully, the terrors which once held me captive have been replaced by much more comforting
Little boy, big dreams.
imagery.

January 2016:  I dreamt I was pregnant with a baby girl.  She lay still within my body but I knew she was merely resting.  Then I felt her jointed movement stir.  I looked down to check on her and my skin became translucent - lit from within.  There she was - a tiny perfect beauty swimming in a saline sea, eyes closed in restful waiting, dark hair swirling all around.

She is content to wait until her time.  There is no rush to this process.  It is nearly time to be born.

****

It is no secret our family endured some trying times over the last few years.  But while I wish our steel-y backbones were not forged through such intense flame, I am endlessly proud of how far we have come - and the way we have chosen to mark our path.  This is, in no small part, due to being born to a family deeply rooted in reinvention and the importance of togetherness.

And so, on one of the first snowy evenings in January, our family (complete with my lovely new
Little by little, one travels far.  - J.R.R. Tolkien
sister-in-law) decided to build a new tradition - a tradition of hope.  Armed with our dreams and a cocktail or two, we set off into the frosty orchard which envelopes my childhood home.  Here we lit Japanese lanterns, along with our wishes for the new year until they filled the air and probably confused the neighbors.

And though it was a little dicey until we got the hang of lighting the tissue paper and twine contraptions, I am happy to report not a single hope or dream went up in a flaming ball of fire that night.

All things considered, we took that as a win.