Last night, I had a horrible, horrible dream about my father.
I had a, to put it mildly, conflicted relationship with my father, but, in this dream, he was far crueler and far more hateful, on a v visceral level, than my waking father, who was, trust me, no prince, ever was. And all day, kind of the way that your tongue does with a loose tooth, my mind kept coming back to that dream.
I don't think that our dreams lie to us, but I also just don't believe that my father was, really, as hateful as he was in my dream. In the waking world, he was full of floating anger that would suddenly burst, like a hot, red, angry boil, exploding unexpectedly, all over everything, poisoning the entire world of our family, of my childhood, of his surroundings. Yet he believed that he loved me and he could, either when it didn't matter at all or when it mattered v, v much, be at the v least the sort of worthy sparring partner who does you the honor of recognizing your worth. A few times, he was even the guy who had my back.
And, yet, our dreams don't lie to us.
I learned two relevant things in Reclaiming classes. The first was how to go back into my dreams, even much later (and it will be a while before I go back into this one), and work out a different ending. I won't try to change what my father did or said or expressed. I will change what I did in response.
The second was that doing shadow work on ourselves is one of the best gifts that we can give to our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. (All tied up with that ugly dream, I kept reflecting on ways that I'd failed Son, difficult situations that I'd put him in, things that I'd have done differently, had I been older, smarter, better off financially, more evolved.) Shadows live for generations and all the energy that we can suck out of them is that much less energy they have to suck the light out of our children's lives (and the lives of our children's children's children).
One of the overwhelming themes of my childhood was: not enough. Don't ask for anything because there's not enough, and even if there were more, there wouldn't be enough for so many children, you and all of your brothers and sisters. It's rude to ask for what you want because the person you're asking will have to say no and feel ashamed and you could avoid all of that by simply never asking for anything. It's your asking that causes the shame. It's wrong, rude, unkind of you to ask for what you want.
And, you know, fuck that shit.
Today, G/Son and I went to the park. We rode the train that G/Son adores. And then, we got off the train and we got directly back in line, and we rode the train again. And then, we rode the horse on the carousel with a blue blanket and a brown saddle. And then, we rode that horse again. I simply cannot tell you how v foreign, not to mention terrifying, such a practice would have been to my childhood. And then, we went to the nature center and we spent as long as we wanted looking at the turtles and snakes and bees and playing computer games sorting animals into classes. It's perhaps no random thing at all that I've always adored Auntie Mame's assertion that life's a banquet and some poor suckers are starving to death. And G/Son and I can ride that train all freaking day if that's what we want to do. And that's what we did and that's what we'll do again, any time we want.
The other thing we did this weekend was to "play trick or treat." We made a paper bag with a pumpkin on it and G/Son came to my porch door and said, "Trick or Treat!" and I put three M&Ms into the bag, making sure to include at least one blue M&M (the best kind) in each bunch. And then, we did it again. And again. And, well, you get the idea. G/Son definitely did. There's probably a thousand things I love about Halloween, but one of the things that I love about it is the idea that you ask, outright, for something and you get it. You hold out your empty bag and people fill it full of wonderful things. (Maybe I also love the safety that comes from the fact that it isn't really "you" asking; it's the butterfly or the princess or Malificent or, well, anyone but "you.")
This post rambles all over hell and gone, as my G/ma used to say, doesn't it? Is it self-indulgent? Maybe I'll delete it in the morning. But, for tonight, what shadow are you trying to purge before it goes any further in your line? What do you do with dreams that break your heart? What is it that you love about Halloween?
Picture found here