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Dream: 1.19.15

January 21, 2015

I’m in a classroom with Mr. Szorc [my HS physics teacher], and a bunch of other students. He passes out paper tests; the first page says something about American Mensa. When my test gets to me, I put my books on the floor, underneath my desk.

I think to myself, “hey, I did study for this one! I feel ready. Ish.” I dive in.

Early questions somehow involved painting the answers, which I did, with gusto. Further back into the test, there were illustrations of prehistoric marine animals, including 1 shark, that I had somehow pre-drawn into the test. I wondered if the pre-drawing would be considered cheating; during the test, I still had to color the animals in and identify them with correct captions, both of which I did.

I was feeling really pleased with my painted answers, and illustrations. Reluctantly, I turned to fresh pages . . . short essay questions, 6 pages’ worth. I could not seem to shift gears to being verbal, and didn’t really want to.

I looked up at the clock, which read 2:15. I was pretty sure the class ended at 2:30, although I felt like maybe I should ask someone, but then I felt dumb because hadn’t I been in this class all semester?

Other people were handing their tests in. I was/am used to being an early finisher (because I read fast), so this was a bit unsettling. I wondered if these people had skipped the painting questions. The room was clearing out.

As I flipped through the remaining pages of the exam, the very last page was a guide for which order you should answer the questions in, and how much time you should spend on them.

I stood up and got my books together. Jennifer M complained that talking about the test for “only 2 class periods” wasn’t going to be enough, and it wasn’t fair. Vickie K was sitting nearby, nodding her head. Mr. Szorc smiled, said something sardonic.

I said: “You either finish, or you’re ‘done’ [because time ran out]. I’m ‘done’. And I’m going to fail, because I only really finished the paintings.”

Mr. Szorc said something about how the test would be graded on a curve. I said, “There won’t be enough of a curve to get me to a passing grade!”

Before I left the room, I remembered my test, still on my desk, so I retrieved it, and turned it in.

+++

Good old Mr. Szorc. For a good 20 years after I graduated from high school, if I dreamed about him, it was a nightmare about failing physics. Which I was on the verge of, for my entire senior year, but somehow squeaked through with a passing grade.

So this would seem like it’s a nightmare, too, except I was actually really cheerful throughout the whole thing. Joyful, even.

Despite the teacher being Mr. Szorc, it wasn’t a physics class — more like natural history + art, 2 of my favorite topics.

I’ve never actually taken a test where the answer required painting stuff . . . but now I’m kinda sorry, because that was really cool! I took a lot of care with it, and my answers were very colorful glyph-like elements. I was grooving in this congruent, ‘flow’ headspace as I painted.

The colors I remember were red, blue, and white, along with others that I don’t remember. Yellow maybe? green?

In the dream, as I painted, I had the sense that I had all day to take the test. It was only when I finished the paintings, and the illustrations, when I moved on to the essay questions, that a time limit took effect [class apparently ending in 15 minutes].

Turning in the test without attempting even one essay question and being mellow and breezy about it => rather uncharacteristic behavior for an academic exam.But… this wasn’t about academic stuff.

This dream was about my life, my creative life:

  • I dove right in. {I didn’t read through the entire test. I didn’t come up with a strategy.}
  • I got to work immediately on the stuff of the most interest to me.
  • I took as much time as it needed, to do it satisfactorily. I was elated with it.
  • Only then, did time pressures return. And yet,
  • The important thing is/was to only spend time on what brings joy and satisfaction. {Not what other people think is important — essay questions were worth more points.}
  • The ‘grade’ someone else might award me, even an authority figure, is not relevant to me at all, as long as I’m happy with what I did.
  • Once I’m ‘done’, then I move on to something else.

The actual Mr. Szorc seemed to sort of like me, despite everything. I wrote to him a couple times after I graduated, and he wrote back once. {I wish I knew what ever happened to that letter.}

He may have been a trickster figure in this dream.

I’m all about tricksters lately, but 1. they’ve always been important to me, 2. I think they’re a sign I’m emerging from crisis/trauma, and 3. (Parts of) my identity are shifting, again. Long overdue things that I guess I’m finally ready to tackle.

I feel really good about this dream.

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