I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Old Feelings Never Die

 This post is about dreams. About feelings. About adolescence and adulthood. About those undercurrents of emotions that never quite drift away. How we relive the same universal fears, manifested in many different ways.

 Deep. Very deep.

 It might be a by-product of parenting three small children and the lack of long, uninterrupted periods of sleep... but I don't dream nearly as much as I used to. My brain might be too sluggish to recollect anything during the night. When I do dream, the scenario can be lumped into the following categories: packing/unpacking nightmares, zombie apocalypse, running in high heels or hurt feelings.

 And hurt feelings is always the scariest one!

 First, let me explain the other categories. Packing and unpacking. I think these dreams are divine messages from God to just throw stuff away and stop hoarding. But I never listen. These dreams always involve frustrating scenarios like packing for a vacation and always coming back to my suitcase to find things missing or thrown in a pile of dirty laundry. Or someone telling me I have to evacuate my house and I cannot find even one pair of shoes or any photo albums. These dreams are maddening.

 Zombie apocalypse. (Coincides with poor "happy sleeping" TV choices like American Horror Story or The Walking Dead.) Now it isn't always a matter of flesh-eating zombies, but of the inability to keep the doors and windows of my house protected. Many of these dreams involve real people trying to break into my house, and I think all of the windows are closed and doors locked, but I keep realizing I have forgotten one padlock or one basement window. Needless to say, these are ridiculously creepy. But in my most recent zombie dream, we had nestled ourselves in a safe place with a backyard filled with animals: ducks, goats and some unnecessary jungle cats. I will also take this as a divine message: must own farm animals someday.

Running in high heels. I am not joking: this is a recurring theme. I am either trying to catch a bus and cannot move faster than a snail or I am tripping over myself on a stony alley. But I am always in the wrong shoes. The good news is that these dreams are not as recurrent now that I wear high heels about twice a year. Take that, corporate ladder!

 Now, for the kicker, hurt feelings. I think this dream will speak volumes to any woman, about the twisted relationship antics that we grew up with in our formative years. Men don't have it easy either, but I think their issues are often solved with simple fist fights and name calling.

 I recently dreamt that one of my friends here in Buffalo (and I really only have a few!) was "talking about me behind my back". You know, that hellish activity. I had her over to my house, she stole something from me and then told all our other friends that I had done THAT to her. And they all believed her. I was frantic in my dream; screaming for people to believe me and absolutely devastated that there was nothing I could say to change their opinions. As a grown woman - married, educated and responsible for small people - I could not handle being jilted by friends. I woke up terribly devastated.

 What does that say? I fear mean words more than zombies? I would rather hoard than have a fight with a friend? All I know is that my dream mirrored my real life experience as an 11 year old. I had a friend who totally sold me out to avoid getting in trouble. We had both done something stupid, wrote a mean note, and got busted for it. I was grounded. My friend, however, lied to her parents and said that I forged her name on the note. And her parents bought it.

 I will always remember the shock I felt that night. I forgot all about the shame of being a mean girl myself, and could not believe that my friend had blamed me for everything. And even more so, that her parents were that gullible. It was not a thought process I could have imagined on my own.

 This must sound pathetic. Imagine how someone feels being wrongfully accused of a crime! How about the women who find out their husbands have second families? I certainly didn't have a fairy tale life up to that point, but for some reason, that incident was my first glimpse into the darkness of humanity. How we all really care about our own interests above anything else. That was the first time I really felt betrayal. And loneliness. And helplessness. Yikes.

 My point? Old Feelings Never Die. These experiences shape us and our actions shape others. And they revisit us in dreams. Whether we are terrified of zombies climbing in the windows or being buried under our own shoe collection... it is sometimes the stuff of life that stays with us for years. Having a friend lie about you to save their own skin.  Ouch.


  1. Interesting. I had a similar experience when I was about 13 and learned that "betrayal" is horrible. In a way, I'm going through a similar thing right now, fifty years later, but I now have the ability to put it in perspective. It hurts but I just try to feel sorry for the person who feels the need to betray others to find her own self-worth. It's a challenge but I'm up to it! Thanks for another great insightful post.

  2. That makes me sad that someone would put you through that! That event was impactful obviously, but I was still friends with this girl for quite awhile after this episode. It is certainly easier to forgive another 11 year old than a grown-ass adult for this kind of behavior. :)