Thoughts on 3 Dreams, 9.26.15
I wrote a poem some months back that contains the lines: Estoy perdido / I am lost — the same sentiment, in both Spanish and English. There have been days that I’ve woken up with dreams scattered to the winds, but the words ‘Estoy perdido’ at the top of my mind.
I’ve soldiered through countless episodes of (ordinary) depression in my life, but I’ve also weathered several catastrophic depressive episodes within which my entire life disintegrated. In all of those, through my grief and anguish and uncertainty, I adopted a ‘can-do’ attitude about ‘getting back on my feet’ as soon as possible. Maybe I couldn’t recreate a version of my life that was particularly similar to what had gone before, but I needed to create something recognizable.
I needed to know who I am. I needed to verify.
I also sought others to witness the new incarnation(s), if not approve them. (This worked much less well; the ‘real me’ seems to be at least partially socially invisible at the best of times.)
= = =
Every incarnation seemed to make progress bringing me closer to … vague and fuzzy yearnings … and yet.
I never actually arrived at Something I Deeply Truly Want.
In fact, that … seemed as far away as when I started.
= = =
What’s gone missing?
I’m reminded of Clive Hazell’s words, in his book, The Experience of Emptiness:
“One word on the true self. It cannot be known ahead of time: by definition it is spontaneous, emergent, mysterious. In this there is wonder, awe, surprise, even fear.” (p. 199)
My ‘fertile void’ has been a palimpsest for words, ideas, images, that aren’t even my own.
Why not explore “stretches of rural IL that I’d never been in before”? Why be in such a rush to escape? What good are maps if I want to be lost?
From post about dream: “I definitely don’t want strangers thinking they understand me because they know ‘where I’ve been’.”
What do I ‘know’ about where I’ve been?
Instead of always trying to figure out ‘where I’ve been’ so that I can project how to arrive at where I think I want to go, what if I… dump every fucking thing I hate about my past? Just release all of it.
In this dream, when the man asked which 5 states I’d lived in, I remember thinking I’d pick ‘neighboring’ states: Missouri and Arkansas both border Oklahoma; my thought was that Tennessee borders Kentucky [where Spouse is from], even though I’ve never lived there.
I see from Google Maps that Missouri and Arkansas border each other, and Arkansas borders Tennessee.
Why didn’t I pick states that bordered New York, and Maryland? Or how about states that I have some attachment to? Why not West Virginia? Vermont? Ontario? Why not New Mexico? Hell, why not Iowa? Why not Alabama? Why not Washington state?
Why two states that border the second-worst year of my life? Why one state that borders a place I initially thought I could be happy — because of the way it smelled — but it turns out, the people and the culture would have a much bigger influence, and despite 20+ years of visits, I don’t understand either.
Why didn’t I just walk away? Other people’s friendliness doesn’t obligate me to continue conversations I don’t want to have.
What questions would I want to ask myself?
I was an undergraduate over the course of 1984–1999. The class I learned the most in, by far — so much, in fact, that I still reference things I learned to Spouse, I still think about the class a lot — was a graduate-level Animal Behavior class I took when I was a 1st-year biology major at Purdue. The professor gave me a C (iirc), maybe a C–, but it really should have been an F. I was in so far over my head, I understood 1 word in 3 of his lectures. I practically lived in the Biology Library, which didn’t help nearly as much as I needed. I was pig ignorant at the start; the whole world was different at the end. I loved the class — I had to turn my world inside out to understand even a fraction of what the class covered. The tests were the hardest I ever took. Every moment, I was stretching myself in bizarre directions. I worked harder in that class than any other in my entire life.
If I’d received the F I likely deserved, I’d still love the heck outta that class. It was a marvelous experience.
It helped me discover/decide, though, that I shouldn’t be a biology major after all. That I couldn’t fit the culture.
My real-life instructor was not a 30-something cis woman (like in my dream).
But… I was a 30 year old cis woman that year. I made no attempts to get my professor, fellow undergraduates, nor graduate classmates, to ‘like me’ — I did not have the time, nor the energy, as the classwork itself took everything I had. (I was taking a number of other classes, as well as commuting ~400 miles per week.)
I have been an Environmental Scientist. On paper. But I wasn’t doing anything related to zoology, botany, or ecology.
I had the wrong educational background to fit in with my coworkers. (I always do.)
I don’t have Any Idea what I could even aspire to do, professionally, with my background. And I’m so fucking sick of scrambling to figure something out. All the while knowing I won’t ‘fit in’ with anybody anyway.
I’m currently fascinated by estuaries, but not as a scientist. Nor a ‘citizen scientist’. Not even a science writer.
As a grown-up kid who imagined I saw alligators swimming in Long John Slough. (In northern Illinois.) Someone who heedlessly waded in bare feet in the DuPage River, looking for fish, snails, and mussels. Who learned to love water snakes. A person who talked to river birches as they grew up from baby saplings to mature trees.
These days I call myself a “water witch”, but I don’t know what the words mean.
I’m a poet who sometimes writes about waterbodies. I changed my first name to Meander.
I feel things, a great many things, but I’m no longer sure I ‘know’ anything much.
Time to drift.