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January 14, 2007

Grown Up Nightmares.

Water_siloWhen I was a child I had repetitive nightmares. There was a significant amount of emotional trauma in my life at that time. One of the things that very few people know about me is that I had an older brother who was killed when I was five. It's the middle of the night here and I don't mean to write about that. Don't feel like talking exactly about that now. Someday I'm sure I will. But after he died my family simply erased him. I don't even say his name... because my programming won't let me.

The most prolific of these dreams involved water tanks. There was a Bubble Up bottling plant near where I grew up and it had one of those giant water tanks on stilts. In my dreams the tank was clear and I was trapped inside with a giant crayfish that was the size of one you would see fighting Godzilla. Apparently breathing underwater was not a consideration and drowning or fear of drowning was not a theme of the dream.

Sometimes I was alone, swimming, trying to stay away from it's claws, like bait. But most often there were others in the tank with me. Both people I loved and people I saw as threatening. There was always desperation in trying to escape the monster and at the same time keeping track of the people I cared about. Watching to see that they were surviving. Panic when I could no longer see them in the tank.

If our early life experiences prepare us for our future then you could surmise that I am durable. I'll not get run over. Actually it's the one personality trait that I can't tolerate. I am a person who embraces flaws in others. The more battle scars a person has the more leeway and admiration I give them. I am disgusted by whiny behavior. People who are indignant about the world based on their expectations that they are the center of the universe activate my anger management center. People who've had crappy things happen to them and manage to function, I hand a megaphone to.

There is no giant monster in my nightmares anymore. Now I wake up with no storyline. Just a rotten feeling in my gut that the world somehow changed while I was sleeping and not for the better, like dread.

It feels like waking up, seeing that it's sunny, and knowing that I had a 5 AM flight. That moment you realize something just happened that's going to effect your life forever. Not regret. Just waking up and having to mentally adjust to a new reality.

For a person who has been diagnosed with cancer... it would be like becoming aware that a cluster of cells just formed and feeling all of your priorities change in that moment.

That is what my nightmares are now. Waking up, feeling the tide change deep inside my gut. Knowing and not knowing at the same time. These dreams I'm having are not a fear manifested. It's like my brain is processing information I'm receiving without being aware of information. Then at night when my mind adds it all up I get these alarms going off. You know... "Danger Will Robinson, Danger".

Trust me... there is a tsunami out there heading for my shore. I know it.

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Although it pleases me that you are temporarely at least into abstenance, umm poker can be very expensive and risky, just like uncommited sex. My 22 year old daughter just reminded me that uncommited sexual relationships can be very expensive and risky too, so maybe you could take up a less expensive but just as risky hobby, like oh say, bungi jumping?

I'm working my way back from 1-15-07 when I discovered you. I can identify. I would have had a sister (Judy) who died in her first year and would have buffered me from my older brother who is 8 years older. He tortured me (literally) every day of my life...mostly psychological but torture tickling was a favorite mode. Anyway, through these experiences and others that I won't disclose here...yet...I've can easily understand and empathize with the kinds of struggles Shawn went through the the kind of damage she one of her early songs she mentioned her inability to give love. Now, with the extra insight from more recent songs and interviews, I know that her family members all played roles and that she didn't get a good one. I think she was the youngest me...and got the black sheep role. She speaks somewhere (song or interview) about her mother's "iron skirt" or dress...but it strikes me as the absence of warmth and validation that is so essential to our early healthy narcissism/ego growth. I suffered that big time and it's the main reason I identify with her....aside from the obvious synchronicity. I felt intense guilt whenever I expressed myself or did anything well or beautifully because it would trigger an immediate reaction from my envious brother to the effect: "don't worry, no matter what you'll always be ugly, stupid and no one will love you." He always did this in private in our small room we shared with bunk if I dared to express myself in any way I'd have to risk the torture and abuse. Sounds relatively benign until you imagine what it would be like to have this person in the bunk beneath you every single day/night and that he truly performed this ego function at my expense COMPULSIVELY. There were no periods of rapproachment, no loving interludes (unless a parent or status laden adult was witnessing and he wanted to portray himself as the "doting" big brother). He even "accidently" closed the car door on my hands twice. What's my point...? I think it is that I'm drawn to your purported embracesure of scars and your presence as a loving sister figure...wouldn't I love to embrace my own scars without conceit or contrivance (as Shawn seems to) Could I walk the streets with a guitar and one bag and meet people as they are...seeking/giving one kind word rather than to exploit...I seriously doubt that the self that sits here now peeing away the last of my "wampum points" could. But a self torn free of all this fake wealth maybe could. I can so understand now the expression on Shawn's face when I approached her after the show at Passim, armed with the perfect rationale by which to meet her (same birthday, guitar etc) face must have looked the same to her...guarded...hurt too many times...too deeply...and much too diabolically. I grieve so deeply at this moment that I may have met a great great spirit...a soul-mate or sorts and our elaborate arrays of ego defense mechanisms prevented us from meeting or getting to know each other. It feels so cruel that the Cosmos would set me up to meet her like that only to suffer the agony of never knowing if I could have been her friend or singing partner...insane or not...I grieve this deeply. It smacks of the same kind of diabolical injury my brother might have given me had he been powerful or cunning enough to do so...I took over the joh...carried him inside or me everywhere I went...sticking to my role for fear of his wrath. Even in CT as an LCSW with a private practice, helping others, I was never free of it. That to me is what Sunny Came Home is all about...not a fictional character at all but Shawn coming home to burn all the family scripts and soul murdering rules of ego engagement..she went home and burned it all, leaving them all to their own devices. She says later in an interview that her mother never "got" some of the stuff she sang about but that her father did to some extent. I know that my family never got it at all and that Arthur as a wise psychotherapist was not welcome home...I never did have the courage to go home and burn all the scripts and chase all the demons into the light because my mother was elderly and I didn't want to upset father died when I was 17 and I was brought to her bedside in handcuffs having been arrested for possession of marijuana...they wouldn't take the cuffs off. There's a lot more to this story but I'll post now to see if you're there. But even if I do end my life I'll feel better knowing I put some of this out there. But I was thinking about the image of the giant crayfish and your having to keep track of everyone simaltaneously as parrallel to what I just wrote in that you never know where the sting will come do we really know who the good ones are? Don't we fear their stings the most anyway?

Hi. Wow, your posts -- I don't know what to say. First off, good for you to be posting so often considering that you've things happening much bigger than the blog (me, I've been a lazy wanker of late when it comes to the blog and commenting). Second I can only believe that things will turn around for you. Good HAS to be coming your way. Good thoughts are being sent your way.

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