(I promise I won't get in the habit of only posting on the first and last day of each month. I liked being here more regularly this fall, and I want to keep that going. This month just got away from me.)
I had a nightmare a few weeks ago that I got beat up. The attack was brief but brutal. I woke up panting, disoriented. There in the dark in the middle of the night, I had to pat down the full length of each bone in my rib cage and touch my nose and lips before I believed I wasn't broken and bleeding. If it's possible to go into shock from a dream, I think I must have. All I know for sure is that it haunted me all the next day and at various intervals over the next couple of weeks.
At first I struggled to wrap my head around the violence and vivid images: the brief exchange of words, the tread of my attacker's boots. I thought back to what movies I might have watched before falling asleep that night or if I had been reading anything with violent content, but that wasn't it. Part of what made it all so disturbing was that it came out of nowhere--the dream itself as well as the attack in the dream--and caught me completely unprepared. The only thing I did out of the ordinary that day was eat Indian food at what is widely acknowledged to be one of the best Indian restaurants in the city. I jokingly blamed the spices at first, but I know that didn't have anything to do with it.
I wondered next if it was some kind of premonition, a harbinger signaling to circle the wagons and protect myself. But it didn't seem like one of those dreams. It ruined my day, but I didn't feel like it demanded increased vigilance or wariness on my part. It sucked, and it scared me, but it was just a dream.
And that was when it eventually sank in: it sucked, and it scared me, but it was just a dream.
My past sucks in some parts, and lots of things scare me, but letting them continue to beat me up is like signing up for a life of Groundhog Day-esque nightmares going forward. Situations and people and events will carry as much weight and significance as you give them, for as long as you give them that power, but who and what and for how long are ultimately choices you get to make.
It sucked. It scared me. But it's over. I don't have to give any of it one more moment of one more day.
And that feels like the freedom I've been looking for.
Mother, photographer, writer. Expert in making things up as she goes and figuring things out along the way.