Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Little Dream Analysis

Most of the time I don't remember my dreams, but when I do they're usually remarkable; for them to be ordinary is in fact quire extraordinary.

Last night my brain gave me a neat name for a character. There was no context to it whatsoever, just the name "Titch Gamalol" which was then modified to a more ethnic "Tich Gamaliel". I know that Gamaliel is a Hebrew name and I was hoping that Tich (which in my head was pronounced with a long E sound and the ch of chutzpah) was a name or nickname in Hebrew or Yiddish or German, but so far my research hasn't turned up anything. I hope it does, because I'm always delighted when my brain absorbs something subliminally and then releases the info to me late at night in a dream. That's how I learned that the word for cowboy protective leg gear is called "chaps". No lie.

However, I promised you dream analysis and there's nothing to analyze in a name like that. Instead, let me tell you about a dream I had last week and the analysis thereof.

In my dream I was a competitive ice skater. I don't know if I was at the Olympic or another event, but I knew it some kind of contest or championship. Everyone knew I was transgender but they didn't seem to care that I was in the women's division. Security was on high alert because there was some alleged threat about Russians -- the dream never said, but in context it was clear they meant spies or saboteurs or some other kind of bad actor, not just "people from Russia" -- and it was believed they had infiltrated the event to disrupt it in some way. I learned this from a lesbian political analyst who is my RL friend and might (or might not) have been my lover in this dream.

I know that I went onto the ice to do my routine, bu I don't remember what it was. All I can tell you is that I was wearing something cute with a fluttery skirt and it was sparkly -- I can't even tell you what color it was -- and that at some point during my routine I twisted my ankle badly. Maybe I fell and knocked myself out, because the next thing I remember is waking up in a synagogue(!) full of old Jewish people, who gently fussed over me and my injury.

Then they told me it was time to leave. I tried to go out the front door, but that was a door to a mall (and indoor mall, not a strip mall) and there were people out there and an old lady told me that we needed to go out the back door like the employees and service personnel. I was still having trouble walking, so she gave her cane to help me, and her cane was made of bones suspended in clear Lucite.

As we got ready to leave, all the men went out first. Then I was told to go next, then the women went out. I don't remember what happened after walking through the door.

So, let's analyze this.

Me being an ice skater is very unusual, as I don't know much about the sport at all. My mother LOVES it, though, and it's on a lot during the winter months so I'll see bits and pieces as I walk through the living room. I'll occasionally stop to admire a pretty girl or a cute outfit, but that's about it.

I'm pretty sure this represents my hopes and dreams -- I'm pretty, wearing a pretty outfit, considered a woman despite being trans, performing in a heavily gendered sport which my mother enjoys -- all of this is about being accepted as a "legitimate" female by society in general and hopefully by my mother in particular.

Given that I never saw any Russian agents in my dream, I think my subconscious took a leaf from the recent impeachment hearings and used them to represent a vague boogeyman who might not even exist. Given the nonstop media coverage of COVID-19 and my own conflict over what the media tells me vs. what I'm seeing in real life, I think this was my brain trying to reconcile my own pragmatic rationalism with ambient beer flu hysteria.

Speaking of pragmatic rationalism, that was personified by the conservative political analyst as she's the one who told me about the agents. I think the fact that I didn't know if she was my lover or not is important; I'm trying to be rational in these times of panic, but like the "maybe she is, maybe she isn't" love interest I often doubt yourself. So this whole thing is about whether or not I trust myself to make the right decision when confronted with rationality vs. hysteria.

The fact that I don't remember doing an ice routine just reinforces the notion that the dream wasn't about ice skating at all.

The synagogue full of old people like has to do with the fact that my dad's side of the family are old Jews who either fled the Nazis or died at their hands. The mall represents society as a whole, and the service entrances are routes of escape that aren't noticed (or known) by most people. The cane of bones makes this blatant symbolism for "Lean on who we are, and what lessons you learned from us, to get you through this". That I was allowed to go after the men, but before the women, is another "Hey, you're transgender, this is important for the dream" nod because I occupied that in-between position.

So why is the second half of my dream telling me to flee, like the Jews fled the Nazis, when the first half is about me trying to overcome fear with rationality? That's likely because the recurring theme of the whole dream is self-doubt: I want her to love me, but does she? I want to be accepted, but why do I still feel separate? How can I flee if I have a hurt ankle?

I really feel that the underlying issue which my brain is trying to process is "In the face of a global pandemic which may change your life forever, how do I survive and still remain a woman?" Because if I need to evacuate for whatever reason, I will likely need to leave behind not just my feminine clothes and makeup and jewelry, but also my identity as a woman because I'm not yet at the stage where I can pass for female without all that stuff. So maybe my brain was trying to figure out a way where I could be femme without baggage; or maybe it was trying to come to terms with what I might have to leave behind as a way to get over the shock now instead of later.

My point is this: there's a lot of scary imagery being tossed about. It's natural to feel doubts. It's natural to be worried, to feel overwhelmed. It's natural to wonder about what kind of world we're going to be entering -- I couldn't even conceive of it in my dream -- and what we'll leave behind.

We can't all be strong all the time. If you feel yourself weakening, that's okay. Take a rest in a synagogue, let some kindly old Jews fuss over you, and follow their lead -- or, put another way, rest where you feel it's safe, surround yourself with love and self-care, and listen to the advice of people you trust.

We can get through this.

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