Here’s what went down: I walked into my high school, and realized that I hadn’t been going to classes for pretty much the whole year, and everyone was getting ready for final exams. I don’t know what I was doing instead of going to class, but I know that I didn’t feel sad about it – whatever I’d been doing was apparently much better. But I knew it was wrong that I’d missed school.
So, I’m going to my classes totally lost, I don’t even recognize my teachers, but all of my friends do – and it starts to hit me that I’m really screwed. I can’t even remember my locker combination. And when I finally got in, all the locker held were a few wadded up pieces of paper – no books, no help.
As I ran around, frantic, trying to figure out what I was going to do, I realized that if I could just figure out, or rather remember, the French alphabet, then I would be okay. I was desperately trying to find this elusive French alphabet – it was my only way out. I was trying to say the first few letters to my friends hoping they’d help, but they had no idea what I was talking about. My panic escalated torrentially as I realized that I was going to fail high school. The weight of that felt life ending.
And then the entire mood of the dream changed.
I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer. My dreams are like novels – long, winding, full of insane amounts of detail. They usually take about 10 minutes just to retell in the morning. This one was no different, and my most lucid detail from last night is when the dream shifted. I was walking to my seat in English (literally the same one from my Sophomore year), listening to everyone around me talk confidently, excitedly about the final. And suddenly, I realized that I didn’t really care. I knew I wasn’t going to graduate, but I couldn’t wrap my head around why that actually mattered. I was acutely aware of the fact that I was doing something different with my life now. And, I filled with calm.
Then the building started to explode and there were vampires and werewolves everywhere trying to save me (which allowed me to maintain my newly found good feelings), but that’s a whole ‘nother session on the couch post. And eventually, I woke up.
The point is that I was in a desperately bad situation where the only straw I had to cling to was saturated with failure. I felt totally lost and terrified. Then, I realized that I had taken a different direction, so the disaster no longer applied to me, I didn’t have to fit into that picture anymore – the tragic one. And suddenly all of those horrid and panicky feelings were gone. Poof. Vaporized.
Hmmm. When what we’re doing is so at odds with what’s going on around us, when what we truly want flows in the opposite direction of what we think we’re supposed to want – isn’t that what causes us distress? If we stop trying to fit our feet into our gloves, maybe it will stop being so damn uncomfortable.
Image credit: Dean Terry