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2 Dreams, 2 days: 2.25 & 3.1.15

March 1, 2015

#1.

In the dream, somehow met up again with dream-Tony. To him, I implied I was great friends with his brother, dream-Adam, even though dream-me had actually had a bad falling out with dream-Adam sometime back.

Tony and I began dating (?); fooling around certainly. It was fun.

As time went on, I told him various things I’d either been reticent about, or somewhat deceptive about. He was okay with most of them.

I met his 2 kids. I was glad he’d had kids with someone, since I can’t have kids.

Some long complicated situation unfolded with Adam that it turned out Tony had engineered to see if Adam would remember me. Nothing I did or did not do rang any bells for Adam. Then I fainted at his feet, and that did the trick.

Later, Adam banished me to the basement, with only my pen and paper and pillows. I went, quietly and resentfully. Hoping Tony would follow, but he didn’t.

+++

#2.

Dream-Tony, dream-Adam, and dream-me are all middle-aged adults. {Usually in dreams with these 2, we’re all either teenagers, or young adults.} Stuff happens with all 3 of us that I don’t recall now.

Then, I’m outside with my sister (E) and my youngest brother (N). We’re walking along a low-lying grassy area that gets closer and closer to a waterbody. Without meaning to enter the water, we step and our shoes submerge into water we couldn’t see was there. Not like a marsh; the water was there, above the grass, but it was so clear we couldn’t see it. Dream-brother is wearing furry boots, which he says are the wrong kind for this. I’m wearing my brown leather walking shoes that are not only not waterproof, but have breathing holes. So my feet must be soaked, but I don’t feel the water. We keep walking, and it’s actually pretty cool an experience.

Off in the distance, I see 3 extraordinary animals, chasing a man. One is a kind of cattle-bull that I haven’t seen before: white, very large, with a few faint brown stripes. It’s male. (I don’t think it has horns.) The second one is a bobcat, with no gender. The third one I can’t recall what type of animal, but it also is ungendered.

We’re in a building. My sister has a new bedroom, which is a hallway. All the walls are plain white. No furniture has been moved in. There’s just a paper on one wall with some words about how she’ll decorate it: the only word I remember is “shaman”.

At some point in the dream, Tony and Adam both tell me, “we’re all grown up now. The ‘nonsense’ with you was never very important, but anyway, that’s all long behind us. We’re adults now. We’re parents. We’ve moved on.”

Later, I’m telling my sister about those conversations. She says, “That’s nonsense! How about when their father was dying? You were over there every day, encouraging everyone to keep hopeful. Don’t they remember how important you were to everyone’s morale? And then their father recovered — you were part of that!”

As she’s talking, I do remember. And she’s right!

Later, I’m out walking again, with my siblings (although we are spread out). As I walk, with every fiber of my being, I call out in my mind, “TONY! TONY! TONY!” Willing him to hear me, come looking for me, find me.

+++

As usual, my relationships with the real Tony and the real Adam enormously complicate(d) my feelings about dream characters that look like them. And I’ve been dreaming about characters that look like them for at least 30 years.

Last time I had information on the 2 real people (2000), Tony was married, with kids; Adam was single with no kids.

I don’t know why they’re (almost) always together in my dreams, as I rarely saw them together in waking life. Tony’s my age; Adam’s a year older. They had different friends and totally separate social positions. I liked Adam’s friends better than I liked Adam (but it took me years and years to figure that out. Adam himself was mean. Good-looking, but mean); I didn’t like Tony’s friends at all.

Now that I think about it, I never ever dream about their friends. Just the two of them, always together, always bedeviling me.

Tony represents the parts of me I love best, but are only attractive to others in others. He’s smart and funny and has an endearingly idiosyncratic way of seeing the world, including odd enthusiasms. You can’t help but love him, and I did. (And, to my teenage self, teenage Tony was gorgeous, but he clearly didn’t think he was.) He was me, if I was a guy. Except that… he actually had (granted, jerk) friends, and a decent social position, and he always had a girlfriend. And his parents loved him. And they were rich. So none of that was anything like me.

Adam was me, too. Well, parts of me. Adam was brilliant and good-looking (in a different way), and I somehow thought he must have a good sense of humor and be a decent person because his friends were kind and playful and funny. But, oh gods, he was mean. Vicious, even. So, he was actually a lot like JM, if JM had been the older one of us. With both Adam and JM, I assumed they brooded and were mean because they were sensitive underneath, with hearts of gold. You know, like me. Instead, I think they were just hateful assholes. (Which is not like me.) Gorgeous, though, and I’ve never been that either.

I don’t want to identify with either Tony or Adam. The real Tony found a way to searingly humiliate me in front of the entire sophomore class. The worst part is that I don’t think he meant to; he was just really flabbergasted by something I did. But the real Adam, 2 years later, did intend to make my first date, which was our first date, the Worst Date Experience Ever. His friends, who were there, felt sorry for me, but he wouldn’t stop being an asshole because Reasons. I felt invisible, and then I felt like maybe I didn’t exist at all.

And my real sister, who was part of our double-date, made everything even worse afterwards, when she said if I’d just been nicer to him, he might have kissed me at the end. As if getting a first kiss from someone who clearly hates you makes the Worst Date Experience Ever somehow worthwhile.

So I have such. mixed. feelings. about continuing to dream about aspects of me that look like Tony and Adam, year after year after year.

I have … just run out of spoons for this.

March: questions for my quest

March 1, 2015

My head hurts so much. I want to take aspirin, but I know from extensive past experience that it’s not enough to just take aspirin. I have to lie down in a dark room, and clear all thoughts from my head, breathing deeply, and only then . . . is there a 25% chance that maybe the aspirin will work.

But I actually have Things that are insisting they need to be written today, which precludes doing any of the above, so here I am.

Maybe these Things somehow require an electrical storm in my head, as, if I didn’t have it, some of the things I’ve been thinking about… would sound… crazy. I would have to fight my selves so hard to write any of this stuff down, and maybe I’d lose that fight.

I have desperately wanted a Mentor for so long now. And there isn’t going to be one. Books about a variety of subjects help, a little, but they don’t allow me to ask questions of a person. They can’t reassure me that I’m not crazy or misguided or just an unlovable freak with delusions of grandeur.

There’s actually nothing “grand” about any of it, It’s just that the only words I know that sort of, kind of, relate to Stuff, sound to other people like I’m claiming that I’m Better Than Everyone Else, when that’s not the point at all. At all.

I have a Thing to do in this world, and I’m trying to figure out how to talk about it and think about it, but none of the words I know are the right words.

Maybe if I could tell a story about it, but… I can’t tell stories. I’ve read so many thousands of stories in my life, I should be able to tell my own. But I can’t. I don’t understand how stories work. I don’t think in stories. Stuff happens, but it’s not stories.

Probably why I’m a poet, but not a fiction writer.

I guess I’d have sucked as a bard.

If I’m a poet but not a storyteller, what am I?

If I’m a mystic who keeps dreaming about the word “shaman”, but I don’t want to help human beings do … anything I can think of, what am I?

If I feel things as I walk sideways and backwards and forward in time, but I don’t know how to capture my experiences so someone else can perceive them, what am I?

Is there an honorable, respectable name for any of this?

I’ve tried visionary, Pagan, child of earth, green witch, earth witch, fire mage, water witch, landwight, mystic, “shaman-y”, “wasp witch”. None of these are right; all require lots of explanation that… I don’t have myself.

I can’t do magic. I don’t know what it is I’m “doing”. It’s not something I can make happen, or precipitate. I can’t schedule it. There are no gods involved (which is a short answer to why I’m not a Pagan anymore).

I don’t know anything.

What am I? What am I doing? What am I trying to do? Is there a wrong way to do it? How can I know when I’m doing it right? Who am I doing it for?

I’m trying to answer the call, whatever it is. How do I proceed?

March: a manifesto

March 1, 2015

Both Spouse and I woke up with splitting headaches . . . probably due to the icy snow crinkling against the windows.

(Alas, Spouse has to work, so he took Tylenol, and luckily his headache is diminishing.)

I had a dream this morning that perhaps connects to a dream a week ago. Before I can write about either dream, I need to write about the epiphany/metaphor I mentioned a few days ago.

Because of the type of Project Month this is, I can’t preface writing about the metaphor with apologizing for it (as I feel compelled to do). If I did do that, I would essentially be apologizing for existing at all, and for being what and who I am, as if I didn’t deserve to exist. I have to learn how to stop doing all of that — it’s hugely destructive, and demoralizing.

+++

I tend to think in images, so it came to me as an image from a disturbing and unsettling film I’ve only seen twice, but certain images from it have enormous staying power in my psyche. It’s Princess Mononoke, by Hayao Miyazaki.

The image is of the stag/goat-creature with a thicket of antlers, that lives deep in the forest. I’m guessing its archetype is analogous to the rarely-seen white stag in a forest, of Celtic mythology.

It’s a Magical Being.

It doesn’t do magic; it is magic.

I feel there’s some kind of anti-connection with a Fairy Godmother, because FGs do perform magic, by granting wishes.

A Fairy Godmother is embedded in a fixed social structure, and just … “evens out” your lack of advantages … but she doesn’t change the society itself, which is still unfair to almost everyone. She’s inherently social, in nature and in function.

I’m a human being, of course, so I’m … inherently social, I guess, but my milieu is more analogous to the forest that a Magical Being lives in, as far as other human beings are concerned.

{I’m thinking through this as I type, and my head hurts, and I don’t know if it makes any sense.}

I’ve had numinous encounters with various beings, usually organisms, sometimes the ocean or mountains, sometimes the spirits of place, once or twice … for lack of a better word, an archetype. I wouldn’t presume to ask them for anything — just being privileged enough to be able to interact with them in that moment was … amazing, astonishing, unlooked-for. Something I’ll always remember with awe and gratitude and wonder.

That’s the “magical” part of Magical Being in my metaphor.

+++

It seems like it’s something that’s possible (but not very probable) that someone who encountered me might recall the encounter with “awe and gratitude and wonder”. Someone like that hypothetical person, though, would be more likely to only encounter me once, not regularly.

{That’s the part where I would apologize for suggesting it, but I can’t, because that’s self-hating, and I’m not … consciously… doing that anymore.}

I’m not very good at Regular/Everyday Life, which I can’t seem to get the hang of. But I’m very good at Extraordinary Life, which (by definition) happens irregularly. Probably why I’ve (instinctively?) immersed myself in mythology … it gives me ways to talk about things that, supposedly, don’t actually happen. Except that they do, to me, with me, for me.

Probably why I’m a poet. A mystic. A dreamer.

I can’t help you get ahead at work. But when things hang in the balance between Life and Death, I know what to do. (Sometimes.) When those tricky emotions that ordinary people prefer never to feel show up, I’m not only familiar with them, they’re old friends.

When you’re lost in a (magical) forest, I’m … home.

+++

When I’m allowed to be the only one of my kind, then I’m at home anywhere in the world.

To feel comfortable, I need to be a stranger. I need to not belong … to your society, your friend-group, your way of life, your religion, your profession, your anything.

I deeply, profoundly need to be singular, to be one of a kind.

If you can love me for being me, I’ll always return to you, with a song in my heart. I have to roam, I have to explore and discover, but I’ll come back … as long as you recognize that I’m Wild. That I don’t secretly long to be Normal, or One of Us. If you don’t try to change me — if you can love me for me — I can bring you gifts you can’t imagine.

But I can’t stay, I can’t “settle down”, I can’t … Become Normal. And suggesting that I should want that, you’re telling me you wish I was dead, or didn’t exist. You wish the world didn’t contain magic. I can’t love you, after you say that. I can’t return anymore.

Imagine the knife in your heart of missing someone who wishes people like you didn’t exist.

I have no tribe, and I want no tribe.

I want to be me. I want to be loved for being me.

doors open both ways

February 28, 2015

Havi’s salve this week is Screw Everything: Giving Up! which is an ideal way to exit February, a Project Month, into March, a related Project Month.

I’m used to being the one who Burns Bridges with a Flamethrower, but someone else did that with me fairly recently. And I’m . . . okay with it. I shredded their obnoxious letter; put the scraps out for recycling.

I’m improving at talking about hard and sad things without getting upset. I can’t fix them solely by talking about them, but being listened to has healing power of its own.

Spouse and I watched a documentary set in Iran 2 nights ago. As it began, I thought about saying, “I’ve always wanted to go to Iran” (which is true), but I resisted. It all started in 1983, with a boy. I’ve dreamed about visiting Iran (not too long ago). Watching the movie, though, I realized . . . I’m no longer the girl that wanted to see where O’s parents were from. I don’t need to fulfill every dream I have ever had in my life. Which is good, since there is zero chance that I could do that.

I’ll never get to Morocco either. And maybe/probably not Spain or Portugal.

I won’t ever be President (of anything). I’ll never be a scientist, or a policy wonk.

I won’t ever be famous.

I won’t ever be someone’s beloved Zun [ungendered equivalent for aunt/uncle].

No one will ever write a biography about me.

When I die, whatever I accomplished will die with me, and be forgotten, just like I will.

+++

Havi also says, This Moment is New. I like that idea a lot. This timespace moment is unprecedented — I can even surprise myself (if I want).

Wendy had 13 flowers blooming on Saturday. I got to talk to Spouse about Wendy and gardening and re-evaluating my entire life Saturday night, and the experience settled me. I’m doing things skillfully right now. Doors are closing and disappearing, but I’m ready for the last few years of tectonic shifts to make themselves known to me.

Old dreams have died. I don’t think I have new ones yet. What I have is . . . breathing room. I have s-p-a-c-e to discover what’s new about Me In The World.

+++

On October 1, 2014, I wrote:

The “easy” thing — the thing I am resisting with all my might — is “closing the door” on this Feeling/Wyxzi. CONTAINING IT. Making it . . . normal and ordinary. […] Where do I really WANT TO GO??? Maybe that’s why I need to “leave the door open” right now. Because I don’t know how to answer that question.

+++

If I give up on all the little compromises and workarounds and “necessary accommodations” to That’s Just How The World Is, Dear, what happens? I have no fucking idea. But it’s time to find out.

nightmares of words and music

February 28, 2015

What benefit, and to whom, might there be to me (almost) “mindlessly” buying $60 worth of books on Lithuanian history and poetry, ostensibly so I can revise the (Poetry) Book Review? Even though I’d already pretty firmly decided that I don’t want to revise it?

I can tell myself my ancestors were trying to get me to do it — and hell, maybe they were! — but why? It actually feels more like a Mrs. Nocerino issue, somehow: “A good descendant would want to do this! You only think you don’t want to do it — if you make yourself do it, you probably could!”

First I’d have the read the books, though. And one of them was on the Holocaust in Lithuania, which I have ZERO desire to read about. A very important topic; glad somebody wrote about it. My ancestors, however, emigrated at the beginning of the 20th century, before WW1. No one in my family is personally implicated as Catholic Lithuanians looking the other way while our Jewish neighbors were carted off to Siberia, or shot in the streets. (Thank the gods.)

+++

I wanted to like the book. I didn’t like the book. And I feel conflicted about it. I feel like I let down my ancestors . . . who were not, as far as I’ve ever heard, at all poetical, so why would they care that I didn’t like one book by a Lithuanian-born poet?

+++

I realized a few weeks ago that all of this crazymaking second-guessing what my ancestors might want from me — a topic that I literally had never considered before in my life — might actually be a function of . . . homesickness? Not exactly missing a place, but missing having relatives who’d care if I lived or died. Dead relatives (especially ones I never met, so I don’t know what they were really like), unlike alive relatives, can’t tell me what a disappointment I’ve been, how I’ve never lived up to my potential, how I’ve disgraced the family name.

Could my Lithuanian ancestors really feel a “family” name was disgraced, if it was an Irish name that none of them ever bore? Seems unlikely.

+++

I’ve been having a good month for the most part, with 2 days in a row really satisfying. And yet, I haven’t emailed the guy about the book review.

It’s likely going to be somewhat unpleasant, so I’m anxious about it. {I come from a long line of anxious people!}

Wait a minute.

I quit Twitter 151 hours ago. That was a really big way I was managing general anxiety and feelings of social isolation — now it’s gone.

I come from hoarders on both sides, and about the most pleasurable thing a hoarder can do is BUY THINGS. In the moment that they are buying, it doesn’t even matter in the slightest whether they need the thing, can afford the thing, whatever. All that matters is the act of buying it, which is utterly delicious.

I know all that, and I also know the sick feeling of dread when I can’t afford whatever it is I just bought. I’ve had nightmares about spending money I don’t have, where just thinking about them years later, I still break out in a cold sweat. {$7000 of cut fabric, anyone?}

+++

Maybe I was/am on the verge of turning a corner by telling the guy I won’t revise my Book Review, and therefore my brainweasels/iguanas/Mrs. Nocerino/”my ancestors” want to prevent me from making that progress? Definitely if I bought $60 worth of books, I would then feel obligated to read them, and try to incorporate them into my BR, which would drag the process out even longer. After the entire month of February has already felt like Damocles’ Sword.

The more time and energy I spend on being anxious and off-balance, the more “normal” everything is.

Meanwhile, I have a letter I need to reply to, but I’ve postponed it because I need to be in a certain kind of positive mood, and I haven’t been.

{I did write/revise and mail out 2 not-as-difficult letters yesterday. But I’d been working on them in my head for months and months already.}

+++

I realized just yesterday afternoon that I don’t like B. No wonder I keep postponing Thing Related to B. All the pieces have been there in plain sight for months and months, but somehow I kept not discerning the implications.

Some parts of my system move e x t r e m e l y   s l o w l y. That’s frustrating, but their caution is merited, considering how dismissively I’ve historically treated them.

So what have we learned?

  1. I don’t like B.
  2. I don’t want to revise my Book Review. (If that burns a bridge, that’s okay with me.)
  3. Without Twitter, Existential-Problem-Since-1968 is impossible to ignore. It’s uncomfortable and painful, but . . . I’m kind of starting to figure out things that make a difference/change my experience. {Does that mean I could’ve started solving this problem within a week if I’d just actually paid attention to it? Because Aaarrgggghhh.}
  4. I miss individual people from Twitter. I miss the constant stream of certain types of “news”. I miss . . . gods help me, I miss photos from Hi, We Are Spiders! {I can’t believe I just said that!!}But there’s lots of stuff about Twitter I don’t miss. I made the right choice for me.
  5. I really enjoy spending gobs of time alone. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Writing, reading, thinking. It is the best.
  6. I think it would be really cool if someone developed a friend-crush on me. Because I am awesome. But even if that never happens again, I’m still awesome.
  7. I’ve been noodling around with ideas for a super-groovy skirt since 2007. And I think I need to just . . . make it. Try everything I can think of until I end up with a Super Groovy Skirt in my closet, that I wear.
  8. Ceramics.
  9. Belly dancing.
  10. Expressive dancing.
  11. Costume making.
  12. Travel, solo.

Stuff I’ve held onto forever is . . . leaving. My spirit is unfolding itself.

2.22.15 Dream, continued

February 25, 2015

I should have got up and walked into the bedroom, and shut the door, to write the earlier post. I had decided I was keeping Spouse company while he worked late (but then that lasted all night) and I ultimately went to bed before he did. He glowered and snarled the entire time, jangling my concentration.

I had unsettling dreams last night, sleeping fitfully.

Then again, maybe I needed to get all tangled up, to reach a state of mind where I could figure out what’s really going on here…

+++

Yesterday, I had an epiphany about myself and my good points. I’m not sure I’ll write about it on one of my blogs — I fear it would make me sound like an egomaniac.

But, you notice, I have no trouble writing about things about myself that make me feel terrible. That’s normal; that’s The Way The World Works/Is Supposed To Work. Me (potentially) feeling good about myself? A travesty. An abomination.

{O hai, Mrs. Nocerino – it’s been a while. I guess you’ve missed me. Yay.}

+++

Why is it that I felt good when I woke up from this dream; I felt good when I thought about writing about it; but when I did write about it, I ended it on a downer note?

It’s so hard to hold in my head the kind of world where the way I do things is a Good Way, a Good Way That Makes Sense and is Adaptive.

The rest of the world is constantly telling me that my ways of doing things are, in fact, defective, and I’m a freak, and I just need to learn how to be effective by doing stuff I can’t do, in ways I can’t do it . . . as if that were within my power.

Even if it were something I could do, I wouldn’t.

I’m never going to win/place/or show in a system that’s rigged against people like me. And I profoundly do not care about the standard conceptions of win/place/or show anyway.

I want to Do My Stuff, in My Ways. That’s fun for me. That’s how I learn and enjoy myself. (Which is somewhat redundant.)

That’s what did happen in this dream.

Dream: 2.22.2015

February 24, 2015

I’m at a networking conference for educators. I don’t know anybody. A white woman starts telling me an idea she has about bringing together 2 groups that don’t interact much — the room is loud, so I don’t catch all the details, but I’m enthusiastic about what I’m hearing. She’s surprised (maybe others have been dismissive?).

She asks me why I like her idea. I say, “I really like putting together different kinds of people, so they can learn unexpected things from each other”.

She’s surprised again, then she appears thoughtful, as does the African-American woman on my other side.

Later, a whole bunch of us (mostly women) are in the kitchen. There are 6 types of eggs in a basket, all different colorways. We are going to cook them and eat them for a snack. I wonder if I’ll remember how to cook eggs since it’s been a long time since I did that last.

Someone else cooks them, puts all 6 on plates on the table, which we’re now all seated around. No one moves to take any. So I reach over and grab the one closest to me. I have no idea which egg it is, but it looks delicious! (Which I say aloud) Others grab for the remaining eggs.

At some point, I realize people are probably going to exchange business cards, and I don’t recall packing mine that morning. Also, the only ones I’ve been using say “conceptual artist” — will any of these people know what that means? Take it seriously?

It briefly occurs to me to wonder how I got to a conference for educators: I’m not, and have never been, an educator myself.

{As the dream ends, I’m feeling confident/capable, “light” (relaxed and happy), and hopeful, for the first time in a long while.}

+++

I woke up feeling happy, hopeful, and confident too. It set the tone for my whole day.

In the dream, I felt . . . like I belonged at that conference, even though I didn’t know why I was there. The important things about the experience were:

  • Being myself;
  • Being enthusiastic when I genuinely was feeling that (not hiding it);
  • Thinking about my capabilities, when they might be used in the near future;
  • Acting independently, to meet my own needs;
  • Considering the business card issue (but not stressing out about it);
  • Noticing I’d somehow managed to surprise myself by attending the conference at all – good job, self!

===

I’ve been thinking about going to Ghost Ranch, but not signing up for a class or retreat. Just going, and following my own wandering star.

During my AROHO week, 2 years ago, none of the other AROHO people seemed at all interested in talking to non-AROHO people, but I liked talking to anyone I ran across. In fact, I have wished I had talked to even more non-AROHO people than I did, since the non-AROHO people were just as interesting. And there wasn’t that pressure to bond over expected similarities.

True story: If we’re both writers, but you’re a cis woman who writes YA fiction, and your life is your kid and your husband and your mother, and I’m a nonbinary person who writes poetry and blogs, and my life is a million things that do not include any kids or any of my relatives, the fact that we’re both (married) writers . . . is not particularly meaningful to me.

I want to decide for myself what similarities we might have that are meaningful to me. More importantly, though, are our differences things that I’m interested in learning more about? Learning about happy families from people who have them . . . is just painful. And a minefield, frankly, because there are so few specifics I can offer before I alienate people.

Talking about the craft of poetry, in 2013, would’ve been pointless. I was there as a prose writer, and knew almost nothing about poetry. But I didn’t (and don’t) write fiction either. I wasn’t interested in book deals or getting an agent or any of the mechanics of Writing as a Career.

I just wanted to learn cool stuff in an awesome environment, and meet interesting people.

When everyone is a stranger to each other (or, if they aren’t, I can pretend/assume that’s so), I’m in my element. I know all about navigating social uncertainties with strangers.

But when everyone but me knows everyone else, and group norms are set in concrete and I’m supposed to figure out what they are and then conform? And then we’re all gonna bond over that? Yikes.

===

I wish I knew someone who understood way more about group dynamics than I do, and who could explain my stuff to me without making me sound like a defective freak. All the stuff I’ve found to read is written from the perspective of how group norms are An Obvious Good, and Conformity is Necessary, blah blah blah, and none of that is at all helpful.

{It is not ideal to be trying to hash out this post with Spouse sitting next to me, trying to watch NCAA basketball, so I’m going to quit here, even though this feels fragmentary and practically incoherent.}

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