Journal Date: May 5, 2020
I woke up early this morning to take my little puppy Beso outside before the sun rose.
Coming back inside, I gave him a snack and lay down to rest more on the living room couch while he played with his toys.
Soon, I found myself in the middle of a terrible dream.
In this dream, I was being rejected, shamed and abandoned by everyone in my life. I felt wildly out of control, unable to control my body or my reactions to anything around me. I was sure that I had been drugged, I had a vague memory of taking a pill I had been offered earlier in the dream by my mother.
I tried to tell the others in my dream it wasn’t my fault, I couldn’t control my self, it was this drug I had taken that was making me act intoxicated, that the way they saw me wasn’t reflective of who I really was, but no one believed me, and left me alone with my shame anyway.
Soon I came to realize I was on a train, which continually traveled between two stations, an old station and a more modern one in a new town. Sometimes I would get off the train and explore the land surrounding each station, but inevitably I would find myself back on the train as it continued its ceaseless journey from one point to the other.
On one trip back to the old town station, I saw a hospital emergency room. I wanted to rush off the train and see if they could give me a drug test or something to prove the cause of my condition. But I could never stay off the train long enough, I always came back sooner than I would have wished to commence a new cycle of pain and confusion.
Once back on the train, I re-experienced each abandonment anew. Most times, it was one of my parents which were leaving me after delivering their cold, unequivocal judgements on how I was not worth the trouble to be around. But there were times when even my puppy Beso was taken away from me. It may not seem like much, but each time it happened, I felt my heart implode like a massive black hole in my chest, and I heard myself scream out loud.
This lasted until I was woken up on the couch by my mom. “Are you okay?” she asked. She had heard me scream again and again in my sleep, and was afraid something was wrong.
I finally got up and she brought me water and some aspirin to help with the headache I had woken up with.
“Look at Beso,” she said, pointing to my dog laying under the couch beneath me. “Even though you were making so much noise he never left you. He’s so loyal.”
I avoided thinking about the dream until later in the afternoon. I had fallen asleep again for a nap, and on waking up, the meaning of the earlier dream came to me all at once.
The drug I had been given was my trauma, my childhood experience and conditioning which told me I was and would never be good enough.
Being high (or in this case, low) on this drug had me acting in ways I felt I couldn’t control. I was reactive, reckless, hurting myself and others, watching this bitter pill create the wreckage of my life I knew, feared, and experienced over and over again.
There was still that part of me that wanted to get off at the old train station, to go back further into my past, to find some authority that would look at me and give me a diagnosis that would shift the blame onto anything outside of me. I wanted someone to say to me, “It’s the drugs talking. It’s this tough pill of trauma you’ve been hooked on for so long. We understand it’s not your fault.”
But no doctor could ever give me that script. Even if they did, few would believe me and even less would care.
I could feel all of the shame and fear and sense of “stuckness” rising up within me as I reflected on the dream and what it could mean for me.
Then I remembered, the train always kept moving. The train was always taking me forward, trying to open its doors for me onto new frontiers, but I had such a hard time feeling ready to make roots in this foreign territory, I was obsessed with proving something about who I was and who should be held responsible for all the consequences that came of that that I found myself again and again on that same train “home”.
Now I could see that when those doors opened again, I needed to plant my flag in that new space and declare the future my true home.
The past is a desolate place, a withered landscape, a war-torn country I could never trust as my own. In some ways I think that maybe I never had a home, I felt as if I’d been born at sea, a small ship at sail in dangerous seas.
I know I can’t go back to where I was, but now I’m prepared to get off this train and build my own house, create my own safe harbor from a pattern I am putting together as I go along. I’m ready to go home, to the future, and leave that train of sadness behind for good.