Suitcases Full of Dreams
I have been dreaming a lot lately. Vivid but weird dreams where I am clearly processing some stuff. I thought about writing them down but they almost feel too personal to share here. Which is weird because I really do try to tell you all pretty much everything. Perhaps I am not ready...perhaps I don’t think the internal struggle of what my subconscious is going through is share worthy. Perhaps I am just embarrassed that I gave so much of myself to a man that cared so little.
Just writing that made my stomach do flip flops.
But like so many things in life, when my gut gets addressed like that, I know I am dealing with some shit. True, deep, internal shit. And that is hard, especially for me, to write about. But often, I find, it is the only worthwhile thing I have to say.
As a surface dweller, I avoided the internal combustion, the close examination of my interiority. Wanting instead to keep it light, above ground, and un-intimate.
But like so many things in my life, this is just another turn I didn’t expect to take. And it has proven to be most amazing.
Five years ago I fell in love with a man who at the beginning had all the things that I thought true love would finally be about for me. And five years later, I am shocked by how much I called what he gave me love...it hurts to write that.
I can see now that I loved him. I am not sure he is even capable of love. I filled in a lot of holes for him, made excuses for his poor behavior, colored over a lot of less than stellar behavior and let him off the hook for shitty treatment or at least thoughtless behavior many times.
So it is odd that I continue to find it shocking, his callousness and coldness. I mean it is really who he is, and he is just behaving the way he always has, and I am behaving the way I always have too.
I can see it now. My part. So clear. In the dream...
I am walking around his house, invited by his daughter but wholly an invader. Stumbling around his halls, uninvited and fearful. He absent and forever closed off behind the door. When he finally emerges, he is aghast that I am there. Indignant that I would dare to be present. I immediately ashamed of my presence and horrified that I am in his house, uninvited, unwanted and trespassing.
I begin to pack my stuff into suitcases, but there seems to be a lot of me everywhere, I have strewn myself all over and it takes a while to collect. My children who I brought have likewise somewhat exploded their belongings everywhere.
He stands there, scornful but quiet. Unhelpful. Mute. Watching me flail about trying to gather all my shit and pack it away for transport...elsewhere.
I intently try to put everything back the way it was when I got there days before, being careful to clean up after all the children and make everything look nice and orderly and clean. It takes time and a growing panic continues to rise in my chest. I feel achey and tired but I cannot stop, I feel most compelled to get the fuck out of there as soon as I can but the stuff is everywhere and I can't leave without it.
I go into a bedroom that my son and his friend have been sharing, I make the bed. The down comforter is tattered and torn and in such bad shape it belongs in the trash. He has fixed it with masking tape...carefully binding every hole, every tear and rip. It looks ridiculous and I laugh to myself as I make the bed at his frugality and smile to myself.
After I finish making the bed, I find these women’s shoes, in two different sizes, one large and one small. I think the small ones are mine but none of them are matched sets. One small right sandal, one large left sandal. I think that perhaps the shoes belong to a girlfriend that stopped by briefly earlier, but I am not sure so I pack them away in yet another suitcase.
I arrive in the foyer of his home, suitcases surround, he has now turned into some other man, still him in essence, but his appearance has altered and I do not know the man that stands before me. I look at him, panicked at my trespass and seriously concerned about myself as to how I ended up here - how did I ever think this was a good decision? Feeling crazed and ashamed and saddened by my presence.
He silently slips back behind a door as I hear a woman laugh. I turn to face the door to leave, surrounded by suitcases stacked high and wide. I look for my children so that I can leave, but I am alone, standing in front of the door, surrounded by my belongings, and the belongings of my children. His kids, my kids are nowhere.
It is just me, alone in the hall with all my baggage.
Then I wake up...
Then I freak out...
The dream was so poignant. So terrifying and alarming. I am initially pissed off that he has invaded my psyche because I haven’t really thought that much about him lately and was really enjoying the reprieve. So I am angry that he has somehow wormed his way into my present when he is clearly meant only for the past.
I call my sponsor because I am going to need help with this one...
And she helps me. She, of course, thinks this whole shitshow is delightful...she always finds some bright spot into some horrific detail of my life. It is her gift. She able to help me laugh at myself and all that I think, in an effort to help me move forward, fonward to a place where I am the center of my own life and no longer tethered to a man whose idea and communication of love lacked so injuriously.
The dream is epic really. I can see how much all the details mean and I can see that it is over, because I can finally see that it was never what I thought it was. It was just me, making another love story out of nothing. Attraction, obsession, co-dependence. These are what masqueraded as love for me pretty much the whole of my life. Me, never really allowing anyone close enough to truly love me back. Me more of a walk on character in their life, a role to play, a need to fill. It hurts to write that because it feels so true. Me, never really present but never really gone, a ghost in my own life, trying to connect from the other side, like some sort of living seance that never really made contact.
And then, as life always seems to do, just when I think I am done with something, it lets me know I am not. I dreamt about him again last night. I really hate my mind sometimes, it seems to enjoy torturing me, twisting me, pinning me to my thoughts even while I sleep.
This dream, I was back at his house, taking care of chickens I left behind. He was not there. I tried in vein to talk to his son, we chatted but only from a distance and with no intimacy or connection. His daughter was more present but also busy in her life and was making food and talking on the phone. I walked around the house, seeing all these pithy messages he had written to remind himself of some new found awakening. They seemed trite to me, rehearsed, lacking in real import, they were, really just sayings. Not quotes from literary scholars or poets or philosophers...just canned junk from now, that is really void of intellect or worth.
I go out back and walk up a hill, and take care of the badly neglected chickens. I think to myself that I will take them with me, and then wonder further why I ever left them behind. The chickens are greyed out upon my arrival but I notice as I leave them that they are now bright and vibrant. Their color returning from my presence and care. I laugh to myself that I seemed to have the opposite effect on him...or perhaps the reverse is true...I really can't tell anymore. Was I a bringer of light or a taker? Both I am sure.
I go back into the house, noticing yet another saying scratched onto another white board and chuckle to myself. Me a little smug that he is grasping for meaning, when all that really matters is currently contained within the walls of his home. But he is busy pulling meaning from the outside, in. Missing wholly that which is right before him.
I say good bye to the kids. They both give me a hug. His son, a cool, quick embrace. His daughter’s move loving, intentional and kind. I feel sad but know that they know I am available should they need me.
I open the door and leave.
There is a lot in the last two dreams for me to unpack. I am sure I will have lots of feelings and thoughts about each of them. The pervasive feeling now is one of deep sadness and disappointment...in myself. I can see that I glossed over a lot in my description and participation in this relationship. I settled for almost nothing and in the end, it is all I had left...nothing.
Except that isn’t true. I am better for loving him, and it really matters not that he was not capable. I loved. I cared. I showed up. I tried. I gave. I was present. Those are all good things. I can see now that my error was in trying to give them to someone who didn’t want them...from me.
I will continue to process but I can already feel that once the sadness clears, I will feel better. I can see my part, my willingness to give and love someone who never really wanted to give much of anything back. And I have to sit with that awhile, let it permeate me. Let it change me, let it show me exactly where and how I will always return to this same place, if I do not find a way to do this differently.
Love has to be a two way street, not the one way Lane I kept myself parked on for the past five years.