Still doing this, for now at least. Hooray!
I have a bit of extra time this afternoon due to a last-minute cancellation, so I’m taking advantage of the pissing rain to stay inside again until I’m absolutely forced to go out later this evening. I didn’t get to posting here this morning, but I still did my freewrite so all in all, not terrible.
It’s funny, I told my boyfriend the other week that I wanted to start recording my dreams again. And like that, I started remembering my dreams more vividly and was able to recall them. I didn’t even start writing them down until this morning, but it seems like even creating the intention helped me start recollecting my dreams. Since I set that intention, I’ve been having dreams where my past worlds get confused inside one another. I’ll have a group of people that I used to know in a setting from another time in my life where they were never present. Or I’ll have present-day me in a past setting, like grade school, encountering someone from yet another time in my life who never crossed through either the present realm or the way back.
That was what happened last night. Someone I try not to think about but who occasionally haunts my dreams and leaves me fearful and ashamed was very clearly present in my dream last night. I suspect I actually have more dreams about this person than I realize, I just don’t remember them all or they’re tucked and folded among other, more pertinent or flashy dreams. This happens with a number of people, the memories of whom I try to suppress but who used to be the subjects of obsessive thought patterns that made it difficult to function in daily life. Now that I’ve claimed enough distance from these people and events, and have worked to break the cycles of fear and self-loathing brought on by relationships with these people, they don’t haunt my waking days as much unless they’re summoned by a triggering person or event. They do, however, take more of a role in my dreams and appear from time to time in those subconscious films as identifiable but non-threatening characters. In other words, I’m not having flashbacks any longer for the most part. In my dreams they’re just another person, and while I recognize them and have a feeling towards them (disgust, fear, anger) they don’t act aggressively in my dreams. In fact, they’re often pitiable characters and in dreams I get the opportunity to see them for who they really are- sad, lonely men. They’re stripped of their power.
Last night, a person who I hope I never see again found me at my elementary school. As I pretended not to see him and began walking away towards the enclosed grassy field we had recesses and had to run laps around in PE class, he followed me. I was fully exposed on the flat green expanse and even though I walked towards a fenced-in area with no exit, he stopped following me after a while and he disappeared. I never acknowledged him and I never turned around, but I felt him behind me until he wasn’t. The glimpse I had of this person, who I haven’t seen in years was what I would expect him to become if the world were fair and made sense. He was, in reality and the last time I saw him, an extraordinarily beautiful man, something that distracted from his manipulative and abusive behaviors and enabled people to constantly forgive him his addictions and crimes. In my dream, however, the drugs, the lying, the self-destruction and the illness had taken their toll in the way you would expect them to. He was thin and sallow, acting erratically and blabbering madly. When another person in my dream told me he’d been here looking for me, she described him as ‘ugly.’
This stuck with me through coffee this morning, when I took some time to write down everything about the dream and what it brought up, because for anyone who didn’t know him intimately like I did, that word would never be used in conjunction with his name or any description of him. He was, like I said above, absolutely beautiful in a way I don’t have the words to describe. Physically. And the way he acted when you were just getting to know him, or when he was trying to be polite, matched his exterior. But there was something so severely dark inside him that quickly revealed itself. He was a maniac, someone who was capable of (and did commit abroad, in the military position he held and at home) horrendous atrocities that you would never, ever believe someone who looked like he did could commit. The beliefs he held were hateful. He had no qualms about hurting others, in fact, he may have enjoyed it. He was ugly. And here, in my dream, was someone besides me recognizing this and validating it.
I have not written about him since I started to understand what he really was. I wrote plenty of poetry when we were together, trying to justify his behavior because of the beautiful soul I was convinced I saw. But the past few years have been too painful and raw for me to even talk about it, because I was duped in a way that you couldn’t even believe. Until a few years ago I had no idea people like him existed in this world. I had simply refused to believe it, thinking naively that most men who did bad things were just misguided souls who still had goodness in their hearts somewhere. But this experience turned my entire reality upside down and let me know that everything I thought I knew was wrong. And I’m different now.
And with that, I think I’m finally getting ready to write about it.