Friday, April 11, 2014

Dreams Good and Bad

Last night I had a dream
You were in it, and I was in it with you
And everyone that I know
And everyone that you know was in my dream
I saw a vampire, I saw a ghost
Everybody scared me but you sacred me the most
In the dream I had last night
 --Randy Newman, "Last Night I Had a Dream"
This morning I was stuck in bad dreams. I was at school and it was even rowdier than in reality. I was in the bathroom trying to stop the kids from flushing my stuff down dirty, broken toilets. Dreams like this are telling. They remind me of feelings I had long ago when I was also in need of big change. And in the dream I was alone with the kids. Completely on my own.

Yesterday I fired a flare on this blog saying that I need a new job but I'm scared and don't feel up to the task. I wrote alone wondering why I was writing into the wind, but then I got responses. Lots of them. Email, notes on Facebook, comments on the blog. Each a demonstration of friendship and love.

It surprised me.

I'm not going to give you some sob story here about how I don't deserve love. I'll save those stories for my therapist.

Instead, I'll say that I have a tendency to gloss over friendships, chalking them up to people being polite and tolerating me. It's difficult to believe in myself enough to settle in to friendship. This also makes it difficult to consider leaving my job. I worry that I won't be able to trick anyone else into hiring someone like me.

This is the kind of crazy I've cultivated long enough that it feels like the only reality. Yesterday was a lesson in new ways of thinking and it was awfully nice of all of you.

At school, I'm reading Tuesday's With Morrie to ninth graders. I'm not teaching it. I read and they listen to a story of compassion and love, two things they are uncomfortable with and have odd ideas about. I'm reminded of the kind of friend Morrie is and how much people wanted to befriend him.
I'm no Morrie Schwartz. I'm more like Mitch Albom, doubting, caught up in thinking that the way things are is how they have to be. Albom does what he thinks he's supposed to do. That's how I've lived my life, following some elusive supposed to when there isn't any rule book.

And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there's no obligations now
Maybe I've a reason to believe
We all will be received In Graceland"
--Paul Simon, "Graceland"

A long time ago I wrote a poem about myself woven together with the lyrics to "Graceland" and when I read it at a coffee shop in Cortland, I sang the lyrics a capella as if I could do such a thing. Friends clapped and hooted and hollered. I'm not obliged to defend much of anything, not even to myself. It's time I moved past that. It's time to believe that I will be received in Graceland.

Those dreams this morning were something less than nightmares, but they were signals about who I'm letting myself become. I might be scared to go on adventures, but I'm scared too of the reality of living the life I have now. I prefer the adventure of singing on stage, putting words out into the world, and writing on and on.