Last night I had a dream.
Correction: ALL nights I have dreams... but this morning I REMEMBERED my dream. (Oh, hi Miss perfectionism! Long time no see, now go back to your hiding spot. Go on. Go. I'll wait.)
An HOUR later:
Last night I had a dream:
I was sitting in a restaurant, a casual hang-out spot, maybe serving tacos or California kitchen!? Don't remember those details but I remember my eyes as I scanned the other diners around me. Total strangers eating in silence, chatting, laughing... They seemed completely unaware of how unique this situation was. It was as if I traveled back in time, to the days before the pandemic, and I was the only one noticing how special this moment was. Special, and also a tad frightening.
After all, fear has been as wide spread as this virus (some will argue - even more...) and I am no indifferent to it. I've actually been primed for fear. All humans have, no? But I may have been more primed for it than others - having come from a family history of persecution and oppression - I am often finding myself comfortable in being 'on-guard' or thinking the world is 'out to get me.' But then again... this could also be my own narcissism, privilege and blind spot that cause me to think I am somehow 'special' in all this. Boo-hoo "Primed"... Oh, cry me a river girl! World's smallest violin here! (Oh, hi self judgment, what's up? Hey do you mind joining your friend little miss perfectionism over there and hang out for a bit? I'll wait. Okay, thaaaaaaaanks.)
Where was I? Oh yeah, the comfort in being ON-GUARD.
I can tell you a millions stories, and some solid justifications to why being on-guard saved me more than once, and to why NOT being on-guard lead me to some serious pain and heart ache. But that would just be another attempt for me to be comfortable in my beloved ON-GUARD mode. And what I think I'm really getting at....is how do I get out of my comfort zone here? How do I get uncomfortable?? Stay alert, conscious, thoughtful.... all the wise adjectives that help one survive in a high-stakes crisis, but also not be afraid of it?
When I was little (I'd say about seven, maybe ten....time's a blur these days), I had a recurring nightmare where the wolf from 'The Never Ending Story' was chasing me. (or creature? What was that... thing!?)
I was running away from it every night, and I would wake up right when it came close to catch me. Scared, sweating and wide awake. This happened for a while (maybe a month, or a year or more... who knows!? what is time anyways?) until a conversation I had with someone (I wanna think it's my mom cause that's a very 'mom thing' to do, but for authenticity's sake lets say 'someone'), lead me to decide one night, before going to bed, that I am going to FACE THE FEAR. I am going to STOP the nightmare. I'm going to stop running and turn and face the wolf. Or whatever that thing was. When I went deep into sleep that night and well into my nightmare, the wolf was chasing me - as it did countless nights before - but this time, I stopped, turned around, and faced to look at it. But to my bewilderment - there was no one there. Nothing. nada. The wolf has completely vanished.
The recurring nightmare stopped back then, but the lesson lives on today:
FACE THE FEAR AND IT WILL LOSE ITS GRIP.
Ah, well... I am hearing the lesson loud and clear these days, and hopefully I will soon be dreaming about sitting in a restaurant, and actually ENJOYING it for a change.
For now, sweet dreams y'all...
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman