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Dream: 12.22.17

December 23, 2017

{Having recently read one of Gayle Delaney’s books on dream interpretation, I’m going to try something different here.}

What I recall:

My sister has recently returned from a trip with my mother to Lithuania. I keep stumbling across either mementos they acquired on the trip, or letters from the people they visited (written partially in Lithuanian, although I can somehow read some of that). I’m angry I wasn’t included.

My sister and I are going through our stuff, and I keep discovering items I’d long forgotten I even owned. Lots of beloved, tattered old books too. Astonished that they were somehow saved from my mother throwing them out!

At times, my sister and I squabble over just who owns the books we’re finding.

My mother and I set off on a driving trip that’s supposed to console me for not going on the other trip. Except… I have been allowed no say in where we’re going. My mother’s car been outfitted with a weird proto-GPS system in which pre-programmed routes will appear, in text, on a screen on the dashboard, and I’m to read the words to my mother.

At some point, I can feel an epiphany about all these things making me angry and upset trying to erupt from my unconscious mind. I need some solitude to sort it all out, and then I’ll know what to do!                    But instead, I rush back into the scrum, subconsciously hoping they’ll recognize how they’ve wronged me, will apologize (!), and I can keep ignoring my inner self indefinitely.

I’m feeling especially aggrieved over the trip my mother and sister took to Lithuania, because the soonest my mother and I could take a similar trip would be 2018. (The dream seems to be occurring in 2015. My parents’ vacation for 2016 is already set, then they have a ‘world cruise’ in 2017.) I’m convinced that the elderly Lithuanian women relatives I should have met on the trip I didn’t take will have all died by 2018. This is so unfair!  My sister smirks about how I wasn’t even invited to go, and now whatever trip I would take will be hopelessly inferior to her trip.

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I wake up with this thought running through my head: “Why am I so angry about not receiving something I would ordinarily have no interest in?”

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Elements to consider:

HBs: My sister, my mother, “elderly Lithuanian women relatives”.

Things: the trip to Lithuania, childhood books, letters written in English & Lithuanian, my mother’s car’s GPS-thing, “the scrum” of my noisy contentious family, the potential trip in 2018.

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Descriptions of elements:

My sister once, infamously, described me to me as “a paler, less interesting copy of [her]”, which infuriated me, not least of which because I’m 3 years older. I happen to think I’m way more interesting than my sister is, but “being interesting” is not at all prized in our family, so it’s not as though me being more of it would afford me any social advantage. We have loathed each other since childhood.

When I was a kid, my mother and my sister seemed to me to be twins mysteriously born 30 years apart. The same self-absorption/narcissism, the same histrionics and dangerous tempers, the same obliviousness to anyone else’s feelings (unless they were manipulating you just for the fun of being mean), the same aversion to logic.

(I don’t know how old I was in the dream, but) Any “elderly Lithuanian women relatives” would be well over 100 by now. No one in 3 American generations could possibly have met these people, or know anything about them except for words they told us in letters. There’s no stories about them anyone grew up hearing.

The “gift” of a house figurine from my mother was purchased on her first trip to Lithuania, which she went on with my father, her 2 siblings, and their spouses. (Nobody’s kids.) I’m not entirely sure when it was, as I was already estranged from them. I have never wished I’d gone on it.    I did take a trip to Eastern Europe with my mother, though, when I was in my early 20s and she was in her late 40s. After the first part, and the last part (getting ourselves back to the airport), our itinerary was left open to whatever interested us. We had maps and a guidebook, I could navigate, I’d learned a bit of Serbo-Croatian (and had a phrasebook), what more could we need? We had a blast.

Letters from people I’d never met, writing in a (heritage) language I have a love/hate relationship with, and only know a few words of… This feels like the issue is my inheritance, and getting cheated out of it (even though I don’t think I even want it). Why was I bothering to decipher these letters at all? Yeah, they were ostentatiously on display, probably so they’d grab my interest, but… I never met any of these people, nor knew anything about them. We had zero relationship. Why would their letters be interesting? And they weren’t interesting, but they did make me mad (no doubt the reason they were there).

The scrum is going back to approaches that have always failed, but at least they’re familiar, and don’t require me to rethink who I am, and what matters to me, and why.

Beloved-amazing-books-from-childhood-rediscovered has been a motif in my dreams for 40+ years. I recently reorganized my bookshelves such that my childhood favorites have pride of place in my studio, while books I came to love as an adult are on the shelf below. Books were how child-Mea escaped the misery of my childhood, and grew into a different kind of person than anyone I’d ever met.

The projected 2018 trip really reminds me of… one of the last holidays I spent with my nuclear family, my mother made a scrapbook of my brother D’s accomplishments for Christmas. My sister eagerly put dibs on one for herself, for the next year. I remember thinking to myself, “There’s no point in even asking. My mother probably doesn’t even remember anything worthwhile I’ve ever accomplished (or we’d completely disagree on what’s suitable to be included), and the photos… I know she’d pick all awful ones. I know it.”

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Putting it all together:

Instead of seeking out things (like best-beloved childhood books) to help me steer a course towards what truly matters to Real Mea, I’m falling back into destructive old habits of letting myself get wound up by things I know are bad for me, things that, in fact, prevent me/my unconscious from making the connections/realizations I need so I can improvise my way further.

Following a plan is bad enough, but following someone else’s plan — that I had no input into — is super bad. And then judging myself harshly because this super-bad plan I followed isn’t nearly as satisfying as an original improvised route would have been? Recipe for, well, alienation, frustration, bad coping habits. Rinse, repeat.

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I can’t figure out the specific issue that I’m mishandling though.

And I feel like there’s also something connected to “inheritance”/ ”heritage” that I’ve overlooked.

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