I had this dream on the night of the 25th and I wrote it down as maybe it will touch your heart, as it touched mine.
I had a dream last night. I dreamt about mom. In the past twenty years that might have happened a total of five times that I can recollect.
When I came home last night and looked myself in the mirror I thought of how different me and my sister look. My sister is very pretty, but also a split mirror image of mom. The thought that crept into my mind is that my sister looks so much like mom, yet she’s more beautiful to my mind. She’s stunning, whereas in photos mom doesn’t look stunning. And this baffles me
After brushing my teeth and jumping in bed I fell asleep, but woke up this morning with a start. I dreamt I was at grandma’s (mom’s side), as I normally would on the 25th of December, my old relatives once again alive. My former step-mom was there and she fluctuated between nice and nasty, as was her habit. And in the middle of it all it was clear that mom was coming home. She had left, in my dream, fifteen years ago and was now coming back. I was angry with her. I was furious. I didn’t want her back. And in my dream I could see her face once more, see she was young and beautiful. Then I was taking care of gran who was becoming senile and then I woke up, startled, a wave of memories coming over me.
My first immediate source of pain was the thought of grandma turning senile – I already lost my other gran to senility and that was a painful journey, although it taught me a lot about love. About the love you feel for a person, which propels you to look after them even when they are not reachable, or you are taking them to the bathroom, because they no longer know how to go on their own. That’s how I want to be loved by my future husband. People are scared of getting old and ugly, but there is nothing ugly if there is love because love is in the heart. Not in wrinkles, or the ability to move with grace.
The second thought was that it was odd to dream about my old step-mom and at first I didn’t even want to think about that aspect of the dream. Both my gran and my mom might have stirred up heavy emotions, but I have a connection with them. With her…no. I don’t know how to describe her. She was the kind of person that would win people over when she first met them by being over the top friendly and ingratiating, but when the party was over she’d often be nasty. I hated her guts at the same time as I had some lingering hope that one day she would just love me and start being nice to me and my sister. Treat us like she did her own children, but this never happened – instead she continued to humiliate me in front of friends by treating me like garbage, yet at the same time trying to act as some kind of mother. This woman hugged me, drove me to school, arranged my birthday parties and ever so often even had a good chat with me and still no one I knew ever liked her. Underneath kind actions there was always the impression she was jealous of me and wanted to put me down.
When dad broke it off with her I was still in touch with her for a very short while, after all she had been my so-called family for about ten years, and I gave her a book about love for Christmas, as I hoped it would give her some hints. This misfired as she was overjoyed thinking I knew her so well and she was all about love. During that conversation with her I also learnt that she thought dad never cared about her, she was the loving one who was mistreated. And that’s when I realized just how lost she was and the kind of things she created in order to fulfill her own ideas about life. I had felt sorry for her for a long time, but then I truly got the extent of her inner pain – she had no sense of self-love, self-worth. And all her drama was simply a way of putting others down to make them feel like her, or provoke them to treat her badly.
Thinking about my step-mom has always come with guilt, because as much as I knew I should forgive her and use love to heal, I don’t like her. She ruined ten years of my family’s life. Having this dream I realized it’s OK – I don’t have to like her. All I have to do is love the little girl inside her heart, who somehow became heartbroken and created a life of misery for herself. When I’m detached from her, looking at her life from the outside I feel a lot of sympathy for her. She’s lived through hell and all thanks to her own creation.
Then there was mom. Mom was the big thing for me in that dream.
I was angry with mom when she died, because she never told me she loved me beforehand. She also refused hugging me the last time I saw her, as she was in pain, but she hugged my sister. I grew up looking for notes from mom saying she loved, some sort of proof…but I never found one.
After mom died I felt there was a gaping hole of pain inside of me from the loss, an emptiness that couldn’t be filled. At the same time I couldn’t remember mom being playful. She taught me everything and looked after me, but dad was the person I played with. I couldn’t remember her smiling. So I felt guilty for not feeling I had a true bond with her.
Out of principle I refused having anyone take mom’s place, but I desperately longed for a mother. I wanted mom back but at some point I realized I wanted a mother, more than I wanted my own mother, because I couldn’t remember her anymore. Yet, I felt that if someone ever tried being my mother it wouldn’t work, because I became too independent.
There was so much guilt and fear about not loving my mother, coupled with anger at her never having told me she loved me. At the same time there was the pain of loss and a strong fear of losing someone else I loved. I was longing to be more loved whilst simultaneously shutting out anyone who tried, whether from fear of them taking mom’s place, losing them, or thinking they were faking it as no one surely truly loved me. The emotions were all mixed up and I could never understand them.
The thing with the dream is it showed one side of those emotions – the anger of feeling abandoned, which then leads to feelings of guilt as surely mom couldn’t help going dying, nor being high on morphine and dazed by pain the last time she saw me. In the past I would have tried to sort it all out. What all those emotions meant, so that I could get rid of the guilt and the pain of loss. The truth is all my emotions came from different events and what I made up about them, so they were all real to me at the same time as none of them were ever real because had I known the absolute truth I would probably have felt a lot different. But it’s OK – I will always have the memory of the emotions I had and I don’t have to sort them out. Just like I don’t have to love my step-mom for how she treated me. There’s those emotions, but above and beyond them there’s love.
We all have instant reactions to events, to people and we probably all have some emotional garbage from the past. It’s OK. You don’t have to sort it all out and solve it like a murder mystery. You can accept it and then just simply choose to live in love in the moment.
I can’t really explain it but that dream just made me come to terms with things. I can see I have had many emotions, thoughts and feelings around the different women in my life and the love I have wanted, lacked, received and feared to lose. I can see all that and acknowledge it, but I’m a woman now. My childhood is a memory. I can look upon it with love for what it taught me. It used to make me cringe badly, because there were messy events I was ashamed of and my own interpretation of reality that I was ashamed of. I was psychologically damaged for years. My self-worth was about as high as your average ant hill as opposed to Mount Everest. Or in other words: I didn’t feel good inside and I was ashamed of my own depression. I’ve let myself and others walk all over me in more ways than one. But it’s gone. Over. I feel love inside of myself now. I feel like in the last few weeks I’ve risen above whom I used to be. I feel like I’ve grown up. But the memory of childhood and what I went through as a consequence of it makes me feel a lot of sympathy towards others. I can understand where the mind can take you. I work with rehabilitating people because I believe it’s possible. I don’t think the shame, or pain of your past should have to dictate your future.
Life happens and we respond to it before we learn to raise above it and pave out our own chosen path. It’s taken me 30 years to be anywhere close to that and on a bad day I will still feel ashamed of myself, depressed and lonely, but I can accept myself and love myself for that today. I never have before – I would just pretend to be cool about it all and feel terribly ashamed if anyone sense I was feeling down, or insecure (as feeling down, or being insecure was a proof of failure – I hadn’t made myself confident and happy yet). And I’m proud of myself. I’ve come a long, long way. I want to share that in metaphors and stories, to show that even if you were born in a cold, dark place and learnt to see life as grim and harsh, there’s a different reality. You can’t avoid pain in life. It will happen. But it’s not the only thing that will happen. And there are choices you can make that will make your life brighter and more beautiful.
It’s like this: in London I lived a miserable reality as I was in a place I disliked, doing something I disliked. Now I live in a place I love, doing a lot more of what I love. I will still suffer loss and pain, but there will always be more love to come. You will heal and move on towards more love. That’s what I call a beautiful life.
Every day is a chance to start all over and with a little love it’s possible…