Alligators

 

Not gonna lie, it’s been a rough year.

Yes, I’ve laughed, socialized, made pottery, hand-felted a million little sheep, gone on vacation, got a new job, and all kinds of good stuff.

But while all of this good stuff was happening, a little black cloud has been following me around as well. Depression came back for a while. My anxiety ramped up. And I couldn’t write. I just had nothing to say.

Recently though, I noticed a change. You see, I have had a lifetime of nightmares. If dreams really are a reflection of our subconscious, my subconscious is a pretty spooky place.

In my dreams, I have been chased and attacked. I’ve fallen from great heights, and tried to rescue my friends from villainous aliens who were blowing up buildings around our heads.

And in all of these dreams, I am petrified. I can’t call out for help. I can only whimper in my sleep.

And then I had this dream.

In my dream, I was living with a huge alligator in my house. I spent my time sitting on counters, up high, trying to stay away from its sharp teeth. Constantly uncomfortable. Constantly in fear. Eventually I got tired of sitting on the counter, so I moved to the couch. Then I realized that it could reach me there and I awoke with a start. Same as all of my other scary, crazy dreams.

But this time, my first thought was “Why am I living with an alligator?” My second was “Why didn’t I just kick it out?” That had never happened before. For days, I couldn’t get this dream out of my head. What alligators am I living with? And can I kick them out?

The next time I had a nightmare, I woke myself up screaming. And I was steam-coming-out-of-my-ears angry. In my dream, I was being held against my will and I wasn’t afraid, I was furious!

A few weeks later it happened again. High pitched screaming that makes my husband afraid to wake me in case I wallop him. (The dog, on the other hand, just calmly moves to another location on the bed, a bit further away from me) I’ve had no whimpering (that I know of) since this phenomenon started.

And what does this say to me? It says that after a long, dark time, something has shifted, which is usually what happens after long, dark times. If we can just remember this when we are going through them, remember to look for signs of light, we can begin to move forward.

No, everything is not suddenly wonderful. After all, I’m still waking up screaming. But, believe it or not, that makes me hopeful. In my opinion, screaming is better than whimpering. And when I do wake up afraid, I immediately go back to the bad dream and rewrite the ending until the fear is gone. No monsters are going to get me if I have anything to say about it.

And I find myself looking around for alligators lurking in corners, waiting to be kicked to the curb.

 

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