I had a nightmare last night and it has left me shaking all day long, so much so, I’ve made extra efforts to calm myself today. In it, a friend of mine, and several others, treated me not-so-friendly. Hence why I filed this dream into the nightmare category. The dream may only be a product of my paranoia and an anxiousness to hear from my friends again. I do not think they realize how much the internet is my only source of communication with them. Most of them live out of my state, I do not have long distance, so I cannot call them. This leaves me in a state of panic when long pauses of time span between us. The panic gets worse when I notice that they communicate regularly with several other friends. I’m not stupid. My comments are right there and no one’s responding to me. I just wait and wait and wait. And it eats, eats, eats, eats, and eats at me til I shake like a frightened little puppy during a thunderstorm. I immediately think the worst has happened. Then I attack myself, because it must mean I’ve done wrong.
I’ve been through this before and always fear going through it again. Because I only get ignored when a friend is about to dump me. I get the silent treatment when they’re about to tell me they are sick of hearing from me. They are suddenly busy not because they really are busy, but because they’d rather be busy than talk to me. Plans to meet up get cancelled over and over again because I was never a priority in their lives to begin with. Just the little invitations and hints to get together were the nice, superficial ways people generally always say “let’s do lunch sometime” and “we have to go out for a coffee one of these days” and they don’t really ever mean it. It’s just the pat on the back, the shake of the hand, maybe that’s all, and the “be on your way now” sort of thing. Yet I always fall for it. Because it’s my hope and dream to visit with friends. I don’t want to keep it only online forever. Everyday it is my ambition to have enough money to travel just to drop in on friends I haven’t seen or have yet to see.
I want to make it REAL! Let me be a REAL friend to you!
But let me describe to you my nightmare…
The dream started out nice enough. I found myself in the dance studio, happy as can be because I had just received the two Balady scimitars I’ve been working hard for. I pulled them out of their packaging, admiring how shiny they were. But then guy friend rudely grabbed it out of my hand! He pulled one of the blades til it was like taffy, next he tossed it in the air, and it landed on the floor. “Why did you do that?! My sword is not yours to take!” I scolded. When I retrieved the scimitar, he once again snatched it out my hands and said, “Look, I didn’t do any serious damage…” and then he tested the blade by holding it against his hand (a scimitar made only for belly dancing is dull, so he wouldn’t slice his skin) but then the steel cracked as if made of hard plastic. “Ulp!” He grabbed both parts and looked at me about to laugh, the way people do when they are nervous because they just did something really bad to upset you, “I didn’t meant to do that,” he added, and there was nothing else he could say. He handed me back the parts, unable to stop laughing.
“You shouldn’t have let me touch it,” he said, “if it was so important to you.”
Instead of getting upset, I walked immediately to the manufacturer. By way of an elevator that resembled a closet, I pushed a button that lit up white, the little door slid open, and I entered this elaborate Steampunk-esque labyrinth warehouse world. With my broken sword and the spare in hand, an electronic voice told me to sit on this rubber seat and strap myself in by these silly-looking suspenders. Suddenly I flew away high above this factory where there were hundreds of laborers and shelves of merchandise — all resembling a scene out of Brazil.
I was deposited in a dusty, gray office, my swords given a big DEFECTIVE stamp in red and instead of being given my money back, or a replacement, I was given two lions to take care of — one black, the other white. What the hell am I supposed to do with these creatures? I was never given a reason. Then I was hurriedly pushed out of the factory and into a very busy market square full of women, children and baby animals.
I managed to keep the lions from eating them, yet it was a struggle. The whole while, I was searching for my friend, thinking, “How could he do this to me? Those were my swords!” The black lion got loose, I had to chase it and calm it down while all around me people were screaming for their lives and cursing my name. Those that were not trying to escape took to attacking me, several of my guy friends’ ex-girlfriends were hitting me, calling me names, and throwing cabbage at me.
Then I saw my friend Miya come up with an axe — ! I did not know if she was going to kill me or the black lion. The black lion clawed into the ground and buried itself. Just as the women attacking me were about to take a giant rock to my head, Miya chopped off the rope I was using as a leash for the lions. The white lion turned into a tiny kitten that turned into a small white jasper pendant. “THAT’s mine!” Miya proudly proclaimed, and she grabbed it out of my hand with this angry look on her face that told me she disapproved of me, like a head mistress about to discipline an unruly student kind of thing. After that scuffle, everyone backed off from me and went about other business. “What is going on?” I asked Miya and she just sardonically smiled. “Oh,” she breathed into a low whisper, “you haven’t heard…” She was about to tell me something secret, I anxiously awaited her information, but then a train whistle blew, and the whole market place emptied!
That emptiness was there for a long while. Like being in ground zero of the end of the world after the end has happened and there’s no one left but me.
Next all I remember was running. Then I fell. I saw two mutual friends I have only met online. One extended his hand to me to help me up, the other walked away. I saw that she was talking to my buddy. The guy friend who helped me up told me to “shhhh!” They all faded away, further and further away, the harder I tried to reach for them, the more they turned insubstantial, and the more I was returning to my bed and then became fully awake and crying.
I woke a half an hour before my alarm, freezing, tearful, shaking, but I stayed in bed, my cat lying on my chest to warm me up, and I sang to myself to keep my spirits up. By the time the alarm went off, I was stable enough to move about, splash some water on my face and really start the day. I told myself this was nothing but a nightmare! I promised I would forget about getting online and just get work done…
Yet I’m in the middle of a paid illustration gig that requires me to be in constant contact with my client, so I gotta do what I gotta do. I have to keep going. Checking Facebook and my Gmail is unavoidable, and that also means facing another day of no responses from a friend I’m anxious to hear from who has yet to even say “Hello! Come visit me as soon as you get paid, Val! Everything’s fine!” I pray my anxiety is just, anxiety. I interpret the dream, symbol by symbol, as follows:
The Balady Scimitars: Balady or Baladi (بلدي) is an Arabic word meaning “native” or “local.” These scimitars were the kind that were used by peasants, a common sword found in the country.
These scimitars I have been working toward for months to buy so I can use them for belly dancing. They are valuable to me because I have never bought a sword for myself. I have given away swords as gifts, once I gave one to my guy friend even, but now I regret I have no swords of my own. I love swords.
Swords represent to me uncommon beauty and power that I can only compare with the feeling of confidence. Whenever I handle a real sword, I feel that power.
My friend breaking the sword: When he pulls and breaks what I have been longing to have, I think he really breaks my confidence.
The Manufacturer and the Factory: I believe that these two places represent the Creator and the act of Creation — I am plugging into my source of consciousness and being. They act as my mind telling me there is something not working right in my thoughts. I am judged “defective” and not given back my confidence. I am sent back into the world at the mercy of two driving forces, the two lions.
The Two Lions: The symbolism of this is almost too easy to break down! I have bi-polar disorder, so the two lions must represent the two emotional polar opposites within struggling for control that I must referee. The black lion is my wild and hungry anger. The white lion is my wild passion and exuberant love. Both have to be leashed or they will lash out and hurt whoever gets in my way.
The Market Square: This place was filled with innocents, children and baby animals, things I want to protect and not let “my lions” harm. The women there weren’t even selling anything, they were just hanging out. Getting around them without letting the lions go crazy was a struggle, so I believe the market was an obstacle course to see how well-behaved I can be. Most of my anxiety now is social, dealing with being overly self conscious about accidentally offending someone, saying the wrong thing, or never knowing who is silently disapproving of me.
This developed from a situation I was in last year when I lost a very important friend who influenced a group of her friends, people I liked very much, to think I was “on the attack” and not worth knowing anymore. I lost so much confidence after that, it’s been an up-hill battle, one I’ve gained strength from since, yet since it’s taking me a long while to heal, I’m still sensitive about. My old girl friend hurt me enough to give me a complex over how I treat my friends — I’m paranoid of losing them and paranoid that, just like she did, they’re going to gang up on me and suddenly refuse to talk and then, good-bye! *shivers*
The Attack: This symbolizes what has happened to me in the past and what I fear most happening again and again and again; the fighting, hurt, rejection, and shunning by women I wish I could be friends with — they attack me for no reason, or for some reason I am not told why — and there’s no reasoning with them. I’m the enemy automatically, like being their scapegoat.
Miya with the Axe: My friend Miya has long been a confidant, someone I have a lot in common with, yet different enough from me so it’s not weird. For many years she’s been on my side, and I’ve been on her’s, and even when we don’t see eye-to-eye, there is always common ground for us to stand on. I believe she represents trustworthy friendship, yet a friendship that has changed. The Axe she carries frees me from attachment.
The Black Lion Buries Itself and the White Lion Becomes a Pendant: Both symbolize the taming down of my emotions — anger lies buried, passion shrinks. Miya takes my passion for herself, claiming it belongs to her. Maybe there is something I forgot to return to her?
The Emptiness: Just loneliness, nothing more.
Running and Falling: Typical chase symbolism found in most dreams — there is a goal I’m working toward and I seem to not quite make it work. I believe this represents my project. I get close to finishing, then something trips me up, a distraction, interruptions, something stresses me out, and sometimes I fall asleep in the middle of drawing! It’s my concentration that I seem to be chasing after.
The Friend Who Helped Me Up: He has cheered me up, it’s true, and I thank him for his support. Because that’s all anyone needs. Just someone who says, “Hang in there!”
The Fading Friends: My interpretation of this is they are physically far away and I have not spoken to them. In reality, that’s the truth. On the internet, that makes them seem like they are making me invisible, especially when they are a vivid presence on their social networks.
After writing out my dream, and reviewing my personal symbolism, I feel much better because I know what my mind is telling me now and I have something to work with to make things better for myself. I may still be dealing with residue from a past relationship that went wrong and anxieties over the possibility I may not get to visit my guy friend any time soon, but that doesn’t mean I should let this nightmare keep me in a state of panic.
The shaking stopped right in the middle of me writing this blog post. I love how that happens. How my words all fall into place like this. One of these days soon I should tell you about how I recall my dreams so well. The easiest answer I can give you immediately is that I do not know how I do it so well because I’ve always been able to! From toddler age to adult, my dream life is a vivid playground. Sometimes its all silly, at other times spiritual and visionary, and then down right theatrical! I do not always write my dreams down. I used to, but then it takes a long while to record the details because as I write more memories rise up to the surface. It seems the more I focus on the dream, especially when I first wake up, the more I remember. Perhaps that’s the key to developing better dream recall: write while the dream is still fresh in your mind.