Saturday, April 18, 2020
I woke up this morning glad that the nightmare was a dream— the fear and emotions still so real that I knew my body didn’t know the difference between dream and reality, at least during those moments of sleep.
I’d been curled in a corner with a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex looming over me like a scene in Jurassic Park. No matter how fantastical it sounds, in the dream I was being pursued by a very real and threatening dinosaur.
My family, friends and I had scattered just moments before this monstrous reptile arrived, hoping to hide. We were told, in the mysterious way we learn things in dreams but can’t remember once we are awake, that the only way that the T-Rex wouldn’t see (and eat) us was if we were able to successfully visualize love.
It wasn’t explained how this worked exactly, but I knew from my visualization work that it must be FELT to be a successful visualization. Felt in a way that our body recognizes the visualization as something we are currently experiencing.
So with all my might and mental power I threw myself into that feeling of love: the compassion, the empathy, the feeling of being warm no matter the weather or temperature. The fierce love, the gentle and kind love. A mother’s love, a partner’s love, the love of someone who recognizes that we are all interconnected.
All the while knowing that fear, a giant capital letter FEAR — embodied by the nightmarish T-Rex, was looming just outside my visual orbit of love ready to eat me if I faltered.
In my dream I KNEW that love was the only way to survive this scary creature. Waking up, there was no T-Rex smashing its teeth and ferociously hovering above me, but the metaphor wasn’t lost on me.
You want too much.
You want beauty and grit.
You want flaws with perfection.
You want to love me and hate me.
You want me without having all of me.
Give me a moment while I find the right face to put on today.
Fumbling through my cabinet for my makeup,
the fake wood peeling at the corner of the mirror frowns at me.
I shake the bottle of foundation, its purpose to even skin tone,
but it’s only skin deep. My bare fingers spread it over freckles
and lines and follow the path of tears. A little under the eyes.
Dab, dab dab, smooth.
I’m thinking about how someone told me to “just be positive”
in response to a difficult story I shared. Just be positive.
We don’t need anything negative. Take your stories and cover them up with paint.
Don't you know that too much paint ruins a picture?
Dab, dab dab. Smooth.
Your troubles, judgements, opinions, stories,
your difficult, dirty, sad, messed up life doesn’t belong here.
Make us happy.
Dab, dab dab. Smooth.
It’s time for bed but instead of sleeping
I’m lying on my jungle comforter,
reading my unfinished poem not sure how it will end.
Do people understand the power of metaphors?
Do they understand you can’t have it all without it all?
The creek outside babbles to the rocks
as it flows through my backyard.
The frogs chime in and it reminds me of nights
sleeping under the stars as a child.
I get out of bed and follow the sound of the creek, mesmerized.
The path is full of rocks and the climbs are so steep I must crawl:
head down, hands and feet pressing into the earth,
heart pumping into the darkness.
I should’ve brought a light.
With my head down I don’t realize I’m at the top
until I come to a sudden stop, toes hanging over a cliff.
The stars poke holes in the night’s blanket of darkness
like a million leaks sprung and flowing onto the earth.
Was the universe flowing to the earth the sound of the creek I heard from bed?
My breath catches in my chest,
not from fear of falling but from the awe-struck moment:
the vast expanse in front of me,
limitless but for my body —
a body that obeys the laws of physics and gravity.