A Dream

Last night I had this dream:  I was staying in the kind of weird old creepy house that shows up a lot as a setting for my dreams, and felt like something was wrong and I needed to go help.  I walked into a bedroom to find my brother on his side on the bed getting a spinal tap and crying in pain as the needle went in.  Since his back was turned to me, I could see the fluid as it came out of the hollow needle to fill the tube the doctor was holding, but my brother was still screaming so I went around the bed and climbed on the other side so I could hold him.  I cuddled him to me and told him it would be okay, it would be over soon, I had already been through it so I promised the pain wasn’t really unbearable, he could take it and be okay.

Like Tarot, I normally think “dream interpretation” is way too woo-woo for my tastes, but then get interested in it as a stick to poke at my subconscious with.  I’ve been having my old trauma nightmares lately, brought on by my bad date and all that stirred up in me, but this one felt like walking into someone else’s nightmare and trying to fix it.  I often have dreams about physically painful or traumatic things happening to my family members, and this morning after I’d woken up and set aside musing on this dream for my usual coffee and internet routine I figured out why.

I wish I’d figured it out in an exciting and poetic manner, but creative breakthroughs only happen when you stop looking for them.  (Which is why you should take lots of baths and walks and things like that.)  Stupid old Facebook got me through this one.  A couple of days ago, I almost commented on a post, but then saw that a Girlfriend Who Was There Before Me had already.  I didn’t, and also had a moment of Crazy because it’s really hard for me to deal with the feelings non-monogamy brings up sometimes.  Which are complicated, and really deserve a longer discussion since I seem to have a double standard going, but I’m just going to leave it at that for now.  Someday someone who doesn’t actually know me in real life will run into all these “I should talk about that in more detail” things I throw in here and comment asking “WHERE IS THAT POST?!”, but this is still a tiny little personal journal so who cares?  I was getting to this morning.  There was another post that was So Relevant To Something I’d Just Been Thinking Of, but again GWWTBM commented first, and was all cute and flirty so I was having another non-commenting moment of wishing for once I could be more special and important and wondering why I was so unhappy knowing about GWWTBM when as far as I can tell the only other option is NOT knowing and then being tossed aside in favor of someone else anyway.

That’s when I finally realised why dreams about my family being hurt are such a recurring theme.  I’m very close to all my family members, so when I have these dreams they’re stand-ins for ME.  It seems silly to go to all that trouble and appropriate someone else’s image to make a point, but that’s dream logic for you.  This particular one makes sense that way because I have had a spinal tap, but my brother hasn’t.  It is still at least in my top 5 Most Physically Painful Things, and will probably stay there much longer.  I got through it with my usual method of putting my mind elsewhere, but emotional pain can only be dealt with for so long in that way.  Emotional pain does feel intensely physical for me, but is more like being punched in the solar plexus or sternum (assignment to self: track which instances cause which pain – it’ll be distracting and interesting.) which I know because I keep putting myself into situations where it’s likely.  And that’s why my subconscious knew I needed to offer a physical reminder to myself of something I did get through quite well, thank you, and show me offering comfort and the insistence that I will get through it okay.

Another layer to the spinal tap parallel (good job subconscious mind!) is that there are two possible outcomes, but either way the pain is going to be there and must be dealt with.  See, I had one in the first place because I had what looked like Meningitis.  Maybe I did and maybe I didn’t, but the only way to find out was to get that needle in there and check out the spinal fluid.  It turned out I didn’t have meningitis, but the doctor had to know so I could be treated correctly.  So I didn’t die.  Not that I would die over romantic issues – I’m not a teenager – but since I’ve made myself think about it, I do have two equally painful options and have to choose one.  The opportunity to decide which of two painful things you want is not terribly exciting, but since I live in the real world there’s not much else.  Out here, pretty much everything is dangerous all the time, and the option of hiding away and not dealing with it isn’t on the table.  Hopefully, since in the dream I was going on about how I could take it, I really can take it and whatever ends up being the best choice will eventually help with the punching sensations.  Thing is, I’ve already dealt with all this over and over again by hiding away and insisting it would somehow help.  It doesn’t, so clearly the pain has to happen before I can really choose what I want and then learn to be okay with whichever it is.  It’s been good to write all that out, but it hasn’t gotten me any closer to figuring things out than I was this morning.  Since that’ll take ages and ages to do I’ll end this here and pick it up again next time I have a weird dream.

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