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Dream elements: 4.5.15

April 5, 2015

Not the dream ~


I stayed up all night.

Started writing something (that I decided was probably a poem) that began with the line: “If I was a man, what kind of man would I be?”

At 6:30 a.m., I went for a walk, visited my friends the boulders at the bottom of the hill, walked into the forest until I got to the bridge over the stream.

Told the forest I’d envisioned marrying myself within it, but… not yet. The weather is still too chilly, I don’t know what I’ll wear {actually a significant issue}; basically, I’m not emotionally nor materially ready.

Only then did I realize ‘not emotionally ready’ encompasses that I don’t know who all the parties are.

Invited my boy/man aspects, and my nonbinary aspects, to ‘come up’, to tell me what they’d like to do, who they are, what their names are, what matters to them.

If we’re going to marry each other, I need to know names and personalities and what they value… so they can be reflected in the ceremony itself.



Jotted down notes from my dream. Realized I had other issues that wanted to be written about as well.

Went right to the kitchen, heated up kugelis (Kosher for Passover). Scooped out, heaped on (my new find): lactose-free organic sour cream. Ate it, gratefully, pensively. The sour cream didn’t really taste like sour cream, but as I ate it, it was cold, creamy, and rich . . . and maybe that’s all I really need.

My family never had a tradition of eating kugelis on Easter, but here I am, able to do that, hundreds of miles from where I grew up (thanks to a large Jewish population near Baltimore).

Also ate a piece of pomegranate rugelach (a pastry I never had growing up), that inexplicably reminds me of Gramma; and 2 kolache cookies — not as good as the ones my Polish-Italian Aunt Eileen made, but still yummy.

Thought about a friend telling me that, in Eastern European culture, women are traditionally ‘stronger’ than men are, in the ways strength is seen as masculine in the West.

{And yet those Eastern European cultures, at least as far as the literature I’ve been reading, remain heavily patriarchal and oppressive and sexist.}


I don’t remember the storyline, just particular elements.

  • My friend S. {Japanese-American poet. Gen X. Male.}
  • Tomas Venclova. {Lithuanian poet. My parents’ generation: born in 1937. Male.}
  • A spiderweb on a branch, above my head, in a tree that I am climbing. {I am pretty far up in the tree.}
  • Wooden sculptures, made up slats lined up, moving gracefully and harmoniously, like a wave.
  • All of the people who’ve influenced my written work… trying to fairly represent them, acknowledge them, but failing because there are always more that even I don’t realize mattered.



S is… not like any boy or man I knew when I was growing up, and forming my ideas of gender. If I’d known someone like him, maybe I could have imagined my male parts, begun integrating them into my life.

Instead, my primary male role models were (in descending order of importance): my maternal grandfather, my father, my paternal grandfather, my male cousins, my uncles, my brothers, my brothers’ teammates and friends.

My (Lithuanian-American) maternal grandfather, to enduring ill effect on succeeding generations, believed — and explicitly told me, to my face — girls were worthless and stupid. If I were to embrace his version of masculinity, I would, like my mother did, have to regard with contempt my own female parts.

My father… I miss my father sometimes. My father held fast to a type of dichotomy (trichotomy?) for women. ‘Good’ women, like his mother, were selfless saints who put up with their brutish male relatives (but he seemed to hold them in contempt for being ‘weak’). His very strong-willed sister, he held in contempt for other reasons (that I never figured out). Or, like my mother and sister, a woman could be a vamp, could entice men with her beauty and grace. But women, by definition, could not be as intelligent or as interesting or as accomplished as a man.

If my father was ever friends with a woman, I don’t know about it. I do know about his male friendships, and there were a fair number.

My paternal grandfather was a total dickhead. Every single time I think about him, I start to cry from rage at the way he mistreated my father, who hero-worshipped him. My grandfather even mistreated my father in front of me, when I was a kid . . . and my father didn’t recognize it as abusive. I did.

Growing up, I wanted to be just like 2 of my older male cousins. When I got old enough to do stuff, they were teenagers and wouldn’t give me the time of day, of course. When I was still pretty little, though, one of them did torment me, and — following in everyone else in my family’s footsteps — he’s the one I hero-worshipped.

I doted on a younger male cousin, who also mistreated me. Didn’t want to be seen with me. Was emotionally abusive. Eventually beat me up, assaulted and raped me, tried to kill me.

The one of my brothers I had a relationship with, growing up, once he got taller than me, casually treated me with contempt, and occasionally bullied me physically. (The younger cousin hero-worshipped my brother. Of course he did.)

= = =

With all of these stellar role models, is it any wonder I’ve run as far and as fast as I could away from my own male aspects?

As an adult, I’ve always had male friends, and they’ve usually been nothing like my male relatives. But… what would “sharing” masculinity with male friends entail? Is that even possible?

Every time I… try… to think about my own masculinity, I start gibbering in primal terror. Everything’s been buried so deep for so long, and I’m sure there were excellent reasons for doing all of that. Who am I to consider opening Pandora’s box?

= = =

Was Tomas Venclova in my dream because he’s a male poet, a male poet in translation, a Lithuanian poet, a Lithuanian male poet, my father’s age? Someone whose writing style I admire? Someone whose writing skills I want to learn from?

Someone who might offer a different model of Lithuanian male behavior?

Someone who wouldn’t hate me? Someone who wouldn’t, casually or purposefully, try to destroy me?

= = =

For all that blue is associated with modern masculinity, when I’m feeling very boy, I wear blue… with red. Red, fire engine red, pure red (not red-orange, or red-violet) is a very masculine color to me.

And I have avoided Red anywhere in my life assiduously. Insisted I don’t like it: “it’s too obvious”. But maybe my problem with Red resembles my problem with Yellow, which turned out to be… it represents parts of my selves I’ve been suppressing.

= = =

Moving gracefully and harmoniously, as a system… if it’s a metaphor, I can see that having to do with masculinity. But if it’s literal… kind of (choreographed) dancing movement, like in my dream… Dancing, to me, is not masculine. At all. Graceful and masculine are polar opposites.

What if that’s not so?

= = =

The spiderweb feels significant to something outside of this dream, so I’m not going to address it here.

= = =

My metaphor of “42,000 variables” seems to take care of the part of the dream where I failed at accounting for all of my influences. But my dreams tackle problems that I can do something about. So, what is it about “influences that I don’t know I have” that is a problem that can be addressed?

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