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Dream: 6.2.15

June 2, 2015

I encounter my younger brother N, with a group of his friends, on the porch of their shared house. Unlike the last time I saw him (years ago), he’s now wearing black leather, showing a lot of skin, and yet has (black) sparkly toenails. His friends are dressed similarly.

I continue on my way, eventually reaching my parents’ house. I visit with my mother. She laments that N never comes around anymore, and he never introduces her to any of his friends either.

My sister, E (always close with N), gingerly broaches the topic of “gender nonconforming and trans* identities”, which my mother thinks is a nonsequitur, so she doesn’t engage. My sister wanders away.

I spend the day with my mother, talking about this and that. It’s pleasant and comforting {which is very very odd}.

I gradually bring the conversation around to gender identities, without mentioning my brother. I say that I’ve never known what my gender is, even when I was a little… kid. (I deliberately omit “girl”, but I stumble over doing it.)

I say I’ve written a bunch of blog posts about this stuff; I could send you some links if you’re interested.

She says this is making her feel terrible. How could she not have known these things? about her own kids? Why didn’t we talk to her about these things?

I say, “well, vocabulary for one thing. We didn’t have the words or ideas to think about these things ourselves, so talking about them to other people seemed pointless and/or terrifying.”

{Within the dream, I’m remembering conversations with P (my former therapist) where I told her about conversations I would have liked to have with various people who are important to me, but that the topics are just too hard to address in themselves, so talking about them is almost literally unthinkable. But then, when I was seeing P (and afterwards too), if an opportunity to have one of those “unthinkable” conversations arose, … I would start talking about those things. And it might be uncomfortable, but it wasn’t impossible. And the more times I do it/have done it, the easier it gets.}

I say, “I’m not ‘heterosexual’ being with Spouse the way people usually use the word, because I’m not a woman to his man. But I’m not ‘homosexual’ either, because we’re definitely not the same gender. I don’t really have a word for my current sexual identity.”

So, I’m cuddling with my mother(!), when I deliberately refer to myself as “agender”, a term I expect my mother has never heard.

I say, “I like to find new identity markers and incorporate them into my life. Fully live them, for a while. Really get a sense of what they mean, how they manifest. And then, when I feel I thoroughly understand how they work for me, I evaluate whether they should stay part of me. If I feel ‘more me’ with them in my life, I adopt them long-term; if it was an interesting experiment, but I don’t feel ‘more me’, I drop them.”

I say, “I’ve been doing this with gender for several years now. But… it really is true that I never did ‘know’ what my gender was, when I was a kid. I couldn’t figure out how everyone else was so sure they knew what I was, when I didn’t know.”

My mother hasn’t said much in a while, and I’m wondering if I’ve lost her interest since I’ve been talking about myself “too much”.

Redirecting the conversation to include N, I say, “If you’d known this stuff about us all along, what Spiritual Projects would you be working on now, late in your life? If you’d been hip to this stuff for 30+ years, when N and I started exploring our gender identities in the current time, would you even care about our personal journeys? I mean, you learning about it now => salient.”

My mother is a tiny bit mollified, but she still wants to fret.

And then N shows up, with a bunch of his friends.

My mother is flustered, doesn’t quite know where to look. But… she invites them in.

I wake up.

+++

NOTES:

I don’t think the gender stuff is a metaphor. I’m not sure who the persona is that’s still struggling so hard with it though.

I have been thinking about myself on the trans* spectrum, and writing about it, since at least 2011.

I think I told Spouse sometime in 2012. I’ve been ‘out’ to various members of both my family of origin and Spouse’s since 2013–2014.

= = =

What if gender identity is a metaphor then?

Because the black-leather-lots-of-skin-showing-but-sparkly-toenails imagery is… odd. I avoid the color black altogether, and haven’t worn leather (except for shoes or belts) in years and years. As an adult, I have never painted my toenails; last time I painted my fingernails might’ve been 20 years ago.

Because of my emotion-color synesthesia, colors in my dreams are significant.

What does the color black, in this context, make me think of?

Contrast of color: Black leather against pale pink skin.

Contrast of texture: smooth supple leather vs. sparkly goopy nail polish.

Geometry, because it was leather straps (straight lines, joined mostly at right angles).

Deliberately… anonymous, almost like a uniform. For protection? Armor? Deliberately… challenging the other person to accept me and my friends as we insist we are, which we know is off-putting and unsettling. But if you {Other you} won’t start here, we can’t trust you at all.

Like, I have this strong sense that my brother and his friends {in the dream} are brightly colored butterflies underneath the disguise. But they have to trust that you’ll accept how they present themselves before you’ll ever merit finding out who they really are.

And my dream-mother passed that test! Good for her! (Us.) We’re learning respectful behavior with each other, by doing it. {The thought-digression about P?}

= = =

To learn how to care for each other, we have to be personal. Dream-E tried to tell dream-mother about “gender nonconforming and trans* people” as if they were just topics; she didn’t share her own experiences at all.

That approach is off-putting to me/us. We want to know what skin you’ve got in the game.

+++

Having a dream this morning where my mother was a character is weird because today is my real mother’s birthday. If she’s still alive, she’s 76.

I like the dream-character that looks like my mother a lot more than I like the real person who is my real mother. The dream-character has evolved over time, has grown as a person. The dream character is willing to be uncomfortable.

The dream character that looks like my mother respects me and the other characters.

+++

I felt so good when I woke up this morning.

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