These Dreams That Sleep When it's Cold OutsideSo last night I woke from a dream with tears running down my face. In this dream, I knew that I was crying, and I hated it -- the sadness was almost too much to bear -- so I forced myself out of the dream by shaking my head back and forth (lucid dreamers know this trick well), then lay awake until Mr. Butler’s “good morning!” shrieks echoed throughout the early morning darkness..
What could possibly have been so sad and so disturbing as to make Ms. Lori cry? Old, bitter crones, that’s what.
I dreamt that I was observing a mother and daughter as they searched through boxes of mementoes. The mother was about my age, perhaps a little older, I guess, and her daughter was in her late teens, maybe sixteen, seventeen, the both of them attractive in an ordinary way, light brown hair, slim, no real distinguishing features, and they sat in a bedroom -- whose, bedroom, I don’t know, but I will say that it wasn’t to my taste: traditional furniture, frilly bedspread, canopy; lovely, clean, but not my style at all -- looking through boxes, opening letters, unfolding drawings...and it was weird, because I was both the mother and the daughter, like, inside each of them, even though I was an outside observer. I could feel the papers and knickknacks in their hands, looked at the memorabilia through their eyes, even as I floated beside them.
Then something strange happened with the mother/me character....she/I was holding a piece of artwork (obviously made by her daughter when she was very young), and as the mother/I stared at the drawing, a simple stick figure with typical pie-plate hands and spaghetti hair, over-size yellow sun at the top of the page, her/my hands began to change form. Her/my relatively young-looking hands began to morph into gnarled, veiny old lady hands, and as that happened, the child’s drawing spun round and round on the page, first slowly, then faster, faster, until the page was filled with moving images, crackling images -- an old black and white film full of shadows and blobs of light. At first, it was hard to make out what I was watching, but as the film slowed down and evened out, I could see a little girl of about two or three running around in a suburban backyard, a backyard full of trees, a playset, a sandbox, and she was smiling at the camera, holding wild flowers up to the lens, mugging...And then she changed, too, like the mother’s/my hands, grew older by the millisecond, first losing her baby-fat cheeks, then growing breasts, her innocent smile giving way to a knowing smirk, then, finally, to a thin-lipped grimace as she became older, then older still.
The mother/I was watching the daughter turn into an old crone, and ohmygod, did it suck.
The mother/I felt helpless, indescribably sad, and angry that she/I was forced to witness the destruction of her/my child, to feel the loneliness of the child in her last years, the isolation, the resignation, with no way to comfort the daughter because, well, I/the mother was dead...But what really confused me was that the daughter was also the mother/me. The mother/me watched ourselves, watched the daughter as she/we withered away, and we all were filled with heavy regret
I dunno. It just sucked so bad, I can’t even tell you.
I think this dream represents my fear of getting old -- am I right Freud? So the first thing I did this morning was go online and order the cutest little diamond nose stud, because, goddammit, I stopped wearing a nose ring for fear of appearing ridiculous. Because there’s nothing more pathetic than some old fuck trying to look young (think of seventy-five year old Donna Douglas, a.k.a. Ellie May Clampett, still sporting baby doll hair and hot-pink cheeks). I don’t know how I got all of this out of my dream, but it made me realize that I’ve stopped doing a lot of things that make me me for no other reason than fear. And that in and of itself is ridiculous.
I am not a seventy-five year old Ellie May, but I am a woman who has given in to too much self-criticism, too much of the stereotypical hype of what a suburban housewife should be, and way, way too much faux complacency.
I’m thinking that when I once again see that tiny sparkle in my left nostril, I will be reminded of who I really am, and that I won't let myself slip away. And yeah, that diamond’s gonna stay there until I’m seventy-five. Hopefully beyond.