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Dream elements: 11.24.15

November 24, 2015


I’m at the ocean. I’m wading in the surf. A big wave comes in and I float on my back towards the shore.

Emotions: joy, happiness, ecstatic. Feeling relaxed and at peace.



Hanging above my head is a kind of sheath of white spidersilk, enveloping a spider about the size of my hand, of a type I don’t recognize. The spider’s legs are folded up where I can’t see them; its body is mostly transparent, but brown at the edges. Light streams through it, or maybe it has an inner glow. The spider seems to be dreaming.



I’m photographing colorful things outside. Sunset. The beach.






I haven’t dreamed about a large body of water in a while. This ocean setting was not one that I’ve personally experienced. There might have been other people on the beach, but I didn’t see them. It was just me and the water and the sky, and that was enough.



Sheath-like enclosure could have been inspired by woven structures I’ve been reading about, like fiber artist Magadalena Abakanowicz’s vulviform ‘abakans’.

I think the spider itself was kind of an ur-spider, which makes me think of Grandmother Spider, who is one of my archetypes (that I haven’t thought of in a long time).

The spider’s pose also resembles a fetus in utero.

Grandmother Spider, dreaming, suggests… New possibilities are gestating?



I told Spouse recently that being a photographer is now part of my primary identity. It’s not just an activity that I do, it’s… (part of) how I see the world. I’m constantly noticing compelling ‘frames’ to things around me. I’ve been photographing for 30+ years, but now I take pictures every day.

‘Colorful’ is not just visibly appealing, but denotes my emotions (because synesthesia).

So I’m noticing my emotions, identifying them, but also… showcasing them by how I address them. Also, photographs (or writing) allow me to share them with others.





Embracing what I encounter, when it’s congenial and appealing, is a good approach right now. I don’t need to ‘strive’ or push myself to meet other people’s standards. Joy will find me, if I’m open to it.

Things are happening below the surface, in their own good time. There’s no urgency — if I need time to figure things out, I have it.

I’m relaxing into being myself, and learning what it means to value whatever is compelling enough to (want to) hold onto. My unconscious judgment is sound; let’s learn what it wants to teach us. I only need to please my selves.

family holidays, unvarnished

November 24, 2015

What I miss:

  • Coffee after dinner, like proper grown-ups.
  • Dressing up in pretty clothes.
  • Everyone else (well, the women anyway) wearing pretty clothes.
  • Good food.
  • Gramma*.
  • Gramma’s house.
  • Drive to Gramma’s house (through Cook County Forest Preserves; passing Long John Slough and Maple Lake).
  • House decorated festively.
  • Seeing people I see only rarely.
  • Possibility of [likely just one, at best] an interesting/enjoyable conversation, with someone I like.


*Gramma somehow got dropped when I posted this.


What I don’t miss:

  • Dreading all of it for weeks, months ahead of time.
  • Expected to ‘help’ in the kitchen, even though everyone thinks I can’t do anything right. Remonstrating with me is apparently a stress-reliever for others.
  • Getting ‘advice’ that doesn’t apply to my life, and wouldn’t work if I tried it. {Ask me how I know!}
  • Hearing from my parents that Spouse is their ‘son’. Spouse being fawned over. I, their actual child, am an afterthought. Boys/men matter.
  • Hearing how many times my brother and his family went to Europe & the Caribbean on vacation this year.
  • Hearing how important/indispensable my brother(s) are.
  • [Possibly] Hearing how great relatives I don’t like are doing.
  • If I have a job I don’t like [most of them], I’ll be grilled about it in detail.
  • If I have a job I do like [rare], no one will want to hear about it, at all.
  • I’m supposed to be the Listening Ear for every other person there. All day. I’m not encouraged to talk about any of my 27 special interests. Really, I’m not supposed to talk at all.
  • My brother will insist on calling me a babyhood nickname derived from OldName, instead of NewName, my actual name. Everyone else will sigh over how much he clearly ‘cares about’ me.
  • My mother will badger me about John. Or just tell me, in detail, how well he’s doing, how proud his parents are of him.
  • My mother will badger me about [not talking to] my sister.
  • My mother will ‘encourage’ me to talk to my father, again, even though it never goes well.
  • No one has ever apologized to me, for any reason. But there will definitely be things I’ll be expected to apologize to others for. If it’s my mother, I’ll have to apologize over and over and over, preferably until I cry. That cheers her right up!
  • Too much noise.
  • Too much social contact, for too long.
  • The one niece that I keep hearing is ‘just like me’ ~ I’ll hear all about how her parents (and grandparents) dote on her, she’s a ‘leader’, she’s excelling at every social thing. None of that resembles my lived experience in any way.
  • I will be pushed past shutdown into meltdown. Then ridiculed. In my family of origin, this is a competitive sport: participants go all out to win, place, or show.


Contempt: It’s what’s for dinner.

seeing myself

November 23, 2015

Sonia Boué writes:

Some of us need to see and also be seen as primary sources of sensory data and confirmation. This is a neurological question rather than one of ego. It must also connect to the dearth of images of neurodivergence in a wider society, begging the question of how we can (or can’t) see ourselves and recognise each other if we are not represented in contemporary culture.


I get a real sense of these questions unfolding as I continue to research how my brain works best. Visual cues seem to be key to understanding (grasping meaning) and in assisting working memory. Selfies also seem to help me consolidate my sense of self. Seeing that I exist is almost more convincing to me than my own experiences and perceptions which never achieve coherence but are in essence fragmentary and easily dispersed. Yet for me the view through the window is also almost as much a selfie -reflecting or rather capturing perception.


These are very interesting thoughts. Whenever I’m online and feeling especially disconnected socially, I will re-read my own Twitter blurb, or my blogs’ About Me pages, or re-read my own blog posts, and then I know that I exist. That I’m real.

If I had offline friends, if I was in contact with family members that liked me, I might not feel like doing these confirmatory rituals so often… presumably, sometimes, those people would say things or do things that would help me feel connected to their world.


I take selfies a lot with my phone. And I don’t show them to anyone else, but whenever I catch sight of them, I grin. I feel seen. I feel known.

I feel similarly about photos of plants in my not-garden. I grin at them, with them, almost as if they were (I would guess) photos of my children or pets. (Although I don’t have children or pets.)


I like the idea that it’s okay to have a fragmentary sense of self.


If I compare myself to others in my family of origin, (in retrospect) it’s clear where I stop and they begin: I like science and puzzles and art & design and Doing Things My Own Way, Always. I daydream constantly; I love sleeping. I talk to turtles and trees; I imagine having ears that swivel, a prehensile tail, leaves dancing in the wind. I wear ribbons and roses in my hair. I wear skirts that swirl. I hop and skip when I’m happy. I’m always reading a book. I didn’t ‘grow out of’ imaginary friends. My sense of humor is silly, absurdist, whimsical. I’m always touching things, even when I’m not supposed to — I think with my hands, my skin. I like bugs and worms and fungi. I like polka dots and paisley and plaid. I wear mismatched socks on purpose.

My truest self might be some version of who I was at 6 years old.


I’ve wanted to have blue hair since I saw it on MH in 1985. I’ve had blue and green hair that became green and purple hair (which was awesome), but it was semi-permanent, so it washed out way too soon.


I wish I knew people offline (besides Spouse) that actually liked me. I think I’m really cool and interesting.


my little orange book of poetic quotes

November 13, 2015

My ideas for a title keep lengthening — latest is, Interesting & Poetic Thoughts, Ideas, and Images. Obviously, something pithier would be better, but titles are so hard.

Anyway, into this little notebook, I’ve handwritten all the Interesting & Poetic Thoughts, Ideas, and Images, that I was previously collecting in my poetry notebooks, and on scraps of paper.

Today, I numbered all the pages (n = 160).

I began Volume 1 by assigning 3 pages to most letters; I & J share pages, as do U & V, and X, Y, & Z. The remaining pages were left blank, but several have now been assigned to people who needed dedicated pages.

{Those in italics are people I’ve interacted with online.}

= = =


  1. Abram, David
  2. Anderson, Maggie
  3. Arp, Jean
  4. Ashbery, John
  5. Atwood, Margaret
  6. Awiakta, Maureen


  1. Bantock, Nick
  2. Bauermeister, Erica
  3. Beaumont, E. P.
  4. Bedford, Sybille
  5. Berberova, Nina
  6. Bereś, Stanislaw
  7. Bishop, Elizabeth
  8. Bly, Robert
  9. Bousquet, Joë
  10. Bracho, Coral
  11. Breton, André
  12. Bronk, William
  13. Brooks, Havi
  14. Brown, Andy
  15. Bunting, Basil


  1. Cecire, Maria Sachiko
  2. Clampitt, Amy
  3. Collins, Billy
  4. Covino, Peter
  5. Cummings, E. E.


  1. D’Erasmo, Stacey
  2. Deavey, John
  3. Deming, Alison Hawthorne
  4. Dickinson, Michael
  5. DiFranco, Ani
  6. Disch, Tom
  7. Duffy, Nikolai


  1. Elwell, Sarah



  1. Fayt, Diana
  2. Forché, Carolyn



  1. Gaspar, Frank X.
  2. George, Nina
  3. Goldbarth, Albert
  4. Graham, Martha
  5. Graham, Maryemma
  6. Grosholz, Emily
  7. Grunigen, Jenn
  8. Gutiérrez, Cindy Williams
  9. Guzmán, Roy


  1. Hass, Robert
  2. Haupt, Lyanda Lynn
  3. Heaney, Seamus
  4. Hemingway, Ernest
  5. Hoagland, Tony
  6. Hoffman, Roald
  7. Huidobro, Vicente


  1. Ignatieff, Michael



  1. Jamie, Kathleen
  2. Jarrell, Randall


  1. Kazin, Alfred
  2. Kenko
  3. Kidd, Sue Monk
  4. Kolodny, Susan
  5. Komunyakaa, Yusef


  1. Langford, Beth
  2. Le Guin, Ursula
  3. Lehóczky, Ágnes
  4. Lewis, Sinclair
  5. Littlewood, Richard
  6. Lowell, Robert
  7. Lupinetti, Flavian Mark
  8. Lyon, George Ella


  1. Mason, Bobbie Ann
  2. McCullers, Carson
  3. McLane, Maureen N.
  4. Moir, Korice
  5. Morgan, Robert
  6. Mort, Helen
  7. Mueller, Lisel
  8. Mullen, Harryette


  1. Nemerov, Howard
  2. Neuman, Andrés
  3. Niedecker, Lorine


  1. Okore, Nnema
  2. Olds, Sharon
  3. Osundare, Niyi


  1. Plumly, Stanley
  2. Ponsot, Marie
  3. Prince-Hughes, Dawn
  4. Proust, Marcel


  1. Reckin, Anna
  2. Richardson, Susan
  3. Robinson, Edwin Arlington
  4. Rogers, Pattiann
  5. Rothenberg, David
  6. Roy, Lucinda
  7. Ryan, Kay


  1. Saknussemm, Kris
  2. Sanders, Scott Russell
  3. Schumacher, Matt
  4. Schwartz, Mimi
  5. Shaw, Clare
  6. Sholl, Betsy
  7. Silano, Martha
  8. Sinclair, Bennie Lee
  9. Šlaitas, Vlada
  10. Smith, Jessica
  11. Smith, Lee
  12. Snyder, Gary
  13. Spratley, Danielle
  14. Stevens, Wallace
  15. Stone, Ruth
  16. Strayed, Cheryl
  17. Sutherland, Elizabeth
  18. Swenson, May


  1. Tarnoff, Ben
  2. Thalman, Mark
  3. Tzara, Tristan


  1. Ungaritti, Giuseppe



  1. Van Landingham, Corey
  2. Venclova, Tomas


  1. Walcott, Derek
  2. Waldrop, Rosmarie
  3. Walker, Jeanne Murray
  4. Warren, Lynne
  5. Wetzsteon, Rachel
  6. Wilbur, Richard
  7. Wilkins, Bishop
  8. Wooldridge, Susan Goldsmith
  9. Wright, Charles

People with dedicated pages:

  1. Bell, Marvin
  2. Halberstadt, Anna
  3. Hendrix, Jimi
  4. High, Ellesa Clay
  5. Hirshfield, Jane
  6. Kuusisto, Stephen
  7. Lemberg, Rose
  8. Miłosz, Czesław
  9. Neruda, Pablo
  10. Tranströmer, Tomas


So, total n = 136

Of the genders I’m (reasonably) sure of, 65 are men, 70 are women, and (at least) 1 person is nonbinary.

I’ve interacted with 8 of them online.


Edited to add:

People referenced in the quotes include:

  1. Budberg, Baroness Moura
  2. Calder, Alexander
  3. Chatwin, Bruce
  4. Herbert, Zbigniew
  5. Herbst, Josephine
  6. Kandinsky, Wassily
  7. Kunitz, Stanley
  8. Kusumoto, Mariko
  9. Lowell, Harriet
  10. Walker, Margaret

Of which, half are women and half are men.

Dream: 11.6.15

November 7, 2015

Visiting my parents, I go for a walk in the neighborhood behind theirs (where the K’s live), for old times’ sake. But… I don’t recognize anything. Instead of big houses in wooded lots with tall trees, there’s a long corridor of a multi-use complex. I enter. Interior architecture is streamlined and Scandinavian looking, with blond wood slats in curvilinear shapes.

The shops are all selling products enhanced by high tech, and very expensive. I’ve not only never seen this stuff before, I’ve never heard of it.

Funky elevators (like the sideways-ish one in the St. Louis Arch).

Everyone around me is clearly rich. Some of them are apparently tourists from all over who’ve come here … to shop.

I’m totally disoriented almost immediately. It’s interesting seeing all these things, but… I really intended to go for a walk in the woods. Where am I? How do I leave?

I can’t find any exits. The place is like a Möbius strip.

At some point, I’m underground, walking along a Main Street type of place, but with unpaved surfaces. The dirt is red-brown, and muddy. As I head down a hill, I have to wade through part of a river running somewhat over the road, then alongside it. In the distance, I see kind of a cavern, with the river running freely. It’s like that part is Outside/Nature. I want to go over there, but no matter how long I walk, I never arrive there.

Later, I’m Outside, where I see this complex now has its own train stop [Burlington Northern]. I somehow recognize that this must be the “new” stop at 89th St.

Later still, I’m outside the mall, but on the far side from my parents’ house. Instead of the mall alongside me, there’s an immensely-long row of townhouses, on the side of a hill. The area I’m in is a grassy marsh; there are trees off in the distance. I can’t find where to cross over.

I’m back inside the mall, walking around, looking out windows. There are cool views, but I don’t recognize the topography, at all. In the distance, there are cliffs and canyons. As night approaches, there are so many twinkling lights, it looks like a refinery or a city.

I occasionally see unfamiliar animals inside the mall, apparently trying to escape too. I see a tropical hummingbird. Later, I see a large man in a different, glassed-in hallway, harrying a furry critter with a broom.

The mall apparently keeps its own time. Like, it’s a time bubble of some sort.

I keep saying, “I’ve never been here before. I didn’t know this place existed.”

I finally find a man I can ask directions of. I tell him I’m trying to get back to my parents’ house, but before I can tell him where that is, he’s off and running, sure that he knows. Finally the man says, “Oh, you’ve definitely been here before! This used to be the Nature Preserve!”

I reel in shock, then faint, falling backwards.



This felt so significant when I woke up yesterday that I thought about it all day. I’ve been wondering if a landscape/natural element somewhere found a way to contact me while I’m dreaming. If so, what are they trying to communicate?

I can’t think of any real place I’ve been that the dream topography of canyons and cliffs resembled. There’s certainly nothing like it near where my parents live.

There aren’t grassy marshes either. The dirt isn’t red-brown.

= = =

A river, rushing. A cavern. Chthonic.

Marsh grasses. Red-brown dirt. Delmarva?

= = =

89th St. and a train track (although not in the town my parents live in) was my grandmother’s neighborhood.

= = =

PP (in IL) is a Forest Preserve. It’s Indiana that has Nature Preserves. In fact, I worked at IDNR-DNP. I’m sure there are marshes in Indiana, esp southern Indiana, along the Ohio River, but… marshes didn’t become important to me until I moved to Maryland.

I wonder if the mall complex is… Twitter? Once I get in, I have trouble getting out. It’s a time-bubble. Lots of cool stuff is happening everywhere, but it’s not necessarily anything I’m personally connected with. The animals I encounter on Twitter are… generally being pestered by human beings. (If only to take their photograph. But sometimes they’re becoming specimens. Ick.)

= = =

Why Gramma though?

My roots.

Wait, what?

For years and years, when I dream about a house that signifies my inner life it’s Gramma’s house. I didn’t actually dream a house, though. Not my parents’ house, not Gramma’s house. I dreamed dirt and river and a train stop. Marsh.

I can almost feel what they’re trying to tell me. Almost.

The Indiana Dunes? There used to be a train stop — that’s how Chicago people got out there. It’s sort of that, and sort of not. There was a bog up there; I saw a least weasel when I was hiking in it, during that week I was up there for Controlled Burn Training. But that was… 1999. Well, that’s certainly a time bubble.

There’s something else. But I don’t know what.

Dream: 11.5.15

November 7, 2015

I was in a classroom setting where both me and the teacher were “Ms. Gonzalez”. KK was bereft from the recent death of her inseparable friend, EZ. I cried with her. I said I’d had friendships where I didn’t know where I stopped and the other person began. That they’d all ended . . . badly. That it was hard to know why to go on without them.

Later, the two of us went to the memorial service.

I headed right for the food table, but couldn’t figure out what I could eat that wouldn’t make my headache worse.

I shared a package of cookies with 2 kids.



I had a migraine the day before, that night, and into the next day, which is probably why the reference to a headache.

I’ve never known anyone named “Ms. Gonzalez”.

KK is a classmate I had in junior high and high school. She did seem to be part of a large friend group, despite getting good grades. Teachers said she was smart, but to me, she seemed more like someone who knew how to please teachers and worked hard; that is, she wasn’t naturally brilliant.

She organized the 20th reunion of my high school class.

EZ is a real person that I also attended school with, but I don’t now recall if she was in KK’s friend group or not.

= = =

The food table thing reminds me of something that actually happened at my 20th high school reunion. The food was good, and was a nice distraction from the surreality of being at a second high school reunion where almost everyone I talked to clearly had 0 recollection of me. I did talk to a couple of women, while I was getting my food, about my graduate school thesis on slime molds. They had no idea what I was talking about, which — for once — was enjoyable. Maybe because I didn’t remember them either? Not sure.

= = =

Interacting with 2 kids, in dreams 2 nights in a row, is weird.

= = =

I think some of my subpersonas are … reorganizing? Changing?

Maybe some of them have been enmeshed with each other. And now they’re disentangling…

I definitely feel upheaval in (what I think of as) my inner life’s tectonic plates. Things are being shaken up, unsettling.

Dream: 11.4.15

November 7, 2015

[Confusing timeline]

I’m at a regular babysitting job: there are 2 kids, an older sister [10–12] and a younger brother [6–7]. The family is white, and the parents seem vaguely “stereotypically New Jersey-like”: father is bluff, overly concerned with his masculinity, and controlling; mother dithers, is overly feminine and mostly ineffectual. The kids generally ignore their parents.

This particular stint is all day and into the night. But the parents are on site, just doing other things.

The parents hand off to me papers and books they borrowed from my parents, so I can ‘return’ them. In the dream, I’m also estranged from my parents, so I’m planning to drop off the stuff on my parents’ doorstep, but not talk to them.

The boy got in trouble for climbing a column at church. His father had to pay a $5000 fine, which he’s grumbling to the rest of us about. The incident reminds me of both something I’d done as a kid (so I’m feeling sympathy towards the boy) and something I’d recently read about kids who couldn’t sit still. I try to tell the kids, but they’re not listening.

The girl sympathetically tells her parents I’m “grounded”, implying I’ve run afoul of my own parents’ rules, but I don’t know what she means by it.

I keep waffling about trying to explain autism to them. I do say something to the girl about how I’m not really “my father’s daughter … exactly” since I’m transgender. I agonize over how to explain transgender. Then I realize she’s not listening.

= = =

On the strength of these people being a regular babysitting job, I listed them as Experience when I applied for a job doing GIS. After my interview, I got feedback that I “wasn’t currently doing enough stuff that was challenging”, even though I reflected to myself that a lot of what I was doing was very difficult for me because of my neurodiversity. But then, if I tell these people I’m neurodiverse, surely they’d never consider hiring me! I now feel extra trapped at the babysitting job.

Where’s a good fit for me, where I have appropriate and interesting challenges?

= = =

I see a bunch of girls doing something as a group. In real time, I recognize that one girl is “taking charge / acting as a leader”, which I realize is something I could do, but I don’t. That’s why I’m not a leader: I don’t have a vision for what everyone else should be doing.

= = =

At the end, the girl told me that she and her brother had decided they liked me. I replied, “You’ve grown on me. I don’t understand your parents and they don’t understand me, but you kids I like.”



It’s true that I am not currently doing ‘challenging enough’ stuff. Mostly, I’ve been reading a lot. I feel like I’m in limbo because I’m waiting to hear if I made it into Hedgebrook (which won’t happen until sometime in December). Also, this is a time of year that it’s very hard to get motivated to start a project.

The GIS thing is odd. Geography? Plus something technical-ish?

To what kind of standard would I attempt to do a project, that would seem ‘challenging enough’ to someone else?

I’ve been struggling lately with feeling that nothing I do matters to anyone. And yet, also, thinking that maybe wondering about whether anyone else is noticing what I’m doing is… missing the point. Like, when did I start wondering what/which other people were noticing, before I started to do a thing I wanted to do? How is this new practice helpful at all? [It’s not. It’s enervating.]

I need a new project. Something that “grounds” me — has a local component. Something absorbing, intellectually demanding, and interesting. Something that will surprise me. Something that causes me to grow.


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