Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Dream about Pastry

I've been contemplating my identity again. This time it got started because I realized that for the most part, I define myself by my relationships to others. For example, on the way home from work today I was considering the word Nurturing. I'm definitely a nurturing individual, but how does that characteristic manifest except in relation to others? If you have no one to nurture, what do you do?

You take care of yourself - that's what. Not that I usually do that. Focusing on others - my students, my son, and whatever man has been in my life - gives me an excuse for ignoring my own needs and goals. I don't have time to be "all that I can be" because of someone else. On a conscious level anyway. I'm pretty sure my needs and goals are bubbling underneath the surface and frequently influence choices and decisions so that I'm on the right path even though I don't know it.

Expressing myself regarding Beena at work this week had something to do with all this thinking - but it had more to do with a feeling I noticed when Obama won the election. I really wanted to share that moment with somebody, and there was no one to call. Velvet was there, of course, but it's not the same.

My runes have been saying that I need to sit empty for a while so that I can become what, by nature, I already am. Anyone who throws rocks will recognize Ralph Blum's interpretation. I use another more concrete book called Simply Runes as well. Over the last couple of months while I've been lamenting the demise of a particular relationship, what I've noticed is that my mind instantly wonders what all these rocks mean regarding the man, and I have to actively turn my mind from the relationship, or lack thereof, onto my own self. As it happens, though, one of the runes I keep getting is Teiwaz:

In Simply Runes, Kim Farnell says that Teiwaz can represent an exciting, difficult man who is so dominant that the woman will lose part of her identity in a relationship with him. Given that I've been in that situation recently, and that this dang rune jumps out of the bag at me half the time, I believe I can be forgiven for wondering about that particular fellow. Nevertheless, it's problematic and I have to continually remind myself to think of my Self.

Since the same runes have been coming up for weeks, I know I'm in the middle of some life lesson. All well and good - but I knew that already. We're coming up on four months with no boyfriend which is a milestone. For the last thirty three years, I've been revolving around some fellow whether I liked him or not. We're not even going to acknowledge the potential significance of the number 33. The point is that it's no wonder that when I think of myself, it's always in relation to somebody else.

So I was mulling this situation over one more time on the way home today. Given that the word Nurture was on my mind, and that everyone knows people nurture themselves (or the opposite) with food, I was not surprised to wake up from a weird dream that was filled with food.

It was one of those dreams where the setting changed a lot so it was kind of confusing. A taxi driver took me to the airport and burned my blue shirt with a cigarette. The airport turned into a reception of some kind and Beena was there talking about potential nannies with some Jewish Grandmother and comparing the medical schools said nanny candidates had attended. That's when I was scooping up an armload of pastries from a buffet table. Then I was sitting at the head of a table with a bunch of other teachers - some from this school, some from my old school - and one of them, a woman I really respect for her practicality, insight and her own conscientious nurturing - started leading the group in a low, melodious chant: Tell Tricia you love her. Her husband was there and pushed a votive candle closer to me so that my face and my plate were in the light. I was playing with my salad, rubbing lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion in ranch dressing. That's when I woke up.

As I looked at that "something's missing" feeling this week, I have had to admit that I've only begun to recognize my own Center now that I'm not revolving around a man. With a man at the center, I can only be a satellite. I'm a great satellite - until I start needing to assert myself. Asserting myself, whether at work or in a friendship or a romance, goes so against my grain that I won't say anything until a situation is intolerable. I'm so overwhelmed by the time I start talking, I can't help but cry.
Actually, I did pretty good at work this week. Objective, professional and no tears. Again, I have to wonder if I was able to accomplish this task because I felt like I had nothing to lose or if I'm more internally stable these days. Probably both.

The words on my List of Personal Characteristics today were: Accommodating, Facilitating, Nurturing. All things you need another person to be unless you're working for yourself. As women, we are frequently taught that being Selfish is bad. And it is in most circumstances, but sometimes it's imperative to devote your energy to your Self.

It's hard to believe an almost 50 year old woman is struggling to convince herself that dealing with her own needs proactively will prevent all kinds of trouble in the long run. But if Barak Obama can become president despite all the obstacles, surely I can manage to run my life forwards instead of backwards.

It's a concept . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen a "counselor" only a couple of times, when I was divorcing and wanted to be sure I was thinking clearly. She told me: put yourself first. The people who depend on you will only be okay if you're okay. Take care of your own needs first.

It's a difficult concept. From childhood, women are taught to sacrifice for others, and this is a different message. Be selfish in order to be whole, in order to take care of your Self.

November 8, 2008 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Kimberly M. Wetherell said...

that's wierd.

I had a dream about this guy I've had a crush on for years. I was at his concert, where he was late, so I started the set with one of his songs, even though I only knew half the words. When he arrived, he thanked me by laying me prostrate on the ground and singing his next song by scanning my entire body with his mouth one inch away. He finished the song by singing it directly (and very seductively) into my mouth.

When he finished that song (whew!) I sat next to a pregnant lady, who commented on how sexy that was. When I agreed, she told me that she was carrying his child, and when I looked down at her 5-month gone belly, the head of the baby was fully developed, and growing OUTSIDE the uterus.

Throw a rune at THAT one and tell me what the fuck that means! :)

November 8, 2008 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger PENolan said...

I'm pretty good at dream interpretation from a couple of perspectives since we talk about dreams in my therapy all the time. We're going to look at this one like a vision quest and get high before we discuss it further.

As for taking care of myself before I can take care of others - that was the great message I learned in the loony bin. Can't take care of anyone from the loony bin. That was 13 years ago, though, and I'm still working on it. Talk about entrenched, outmoded conditioning (another rune: Othilo).

I'm always glad to hear from you, Dissed. You're a trailblazer. Are you able to have a conversation with your mom now that the election is over?

November 8, 2008 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Gail said...

Hi Trish

Whenever I dream of food or think about dreaming about food it usually revolves around nurturing myself, as in "comfort food".

I know all too well the 'dominant force of certain male-types where one loses one's identity. When you are in a relationship where that is NOT so, you will know it immediately.

And also the whole know and care for yourself first before you can care for another is absolutely true. When I was 'alone' for some six years I came to know exactly who I am and no one could ever take that away from me, not ever. And alone as in no man, I had three kids at the time.!! And I made it. :-)

When I chose to love and be loved again, it was entirely different. I didn't "need" him I desired him from a place of pure intent. If he went away I knew, without question, I would be all right. Nothing in my life depended upon him staying. I could pay my mortgage, keep my car, buy my clothes, take care of my kids all on my own. I liked myself a lot. So loving was free and untangled. I loved him for who he was not for what void in me he could fill or need of mine to fix/save another. None of that was evident.

I do so love your process and self reflections. I am inspired by your honesty and your valour. I love whenever you mention Velvet. Mom to Mom, it is heartwarming to read about.
You are a 'helluva' gal Trish.

Gail (on the mend)

November 8, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ma's on vacation, so I stick to the basics: Hope y'all are having fun; I fed the cat and watered the plants. Call me when you start home.

Meanwhile, my brain's running a different commentary: Hey MA. Sarah rode out on the horse she rode in on, and did you get a load of the bulges in those new Saks saddlebags?

I dream of houses. I've had some of my house dreams over and over for 30 years. I have the Old House Dream and the Finding Secret Rooms house dream. I've had dozens of dreams about the same man, but I've only met him in my sleep. He's aged along with me. If I ever see the houses or the man, I'll know them.

November 8, 2008 at 9:09 PM  

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