Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dream Catcher

"Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?"

When I was younger, I used to have nightmares. Not your typical 'monster under the bed' nightmares... more like 'picture your biggest fear' nightmares. I would wake up crying and it would take a long time to shake that feeling, to convince myself that what I had just dreamed of didn't actually happen. When my grandmother bought me a dream catcher I remember being fascinated by it. The idea was intriguing to me. This tiny object with its interwoven fabric, blue suede border and feather trim would somehow 'trap' my nightmares? I hung it up and believed in it, and although the occasional nightmare would still somehow manage to sneak through, for the most part, I felt like that dream catcher was doing its job. I took it with me when my parents and I moved into our new house, and it has made its way into my first apartment. Although my cynical side would probably make me the first one to laugh at the idea that a dream catcher actually works, I cannot say with certainty that I'd remove it from my bedroom without hesitation.

When I was little my mother had a lot of health issues (She's ok now though! ). I developed a sort of 'separation anxiety'. I was convinced that if I wasn't with her, if I couldn't physically see her or hear her voice, something would go wrong. It sounds ridiculous now, but at that time and at that age, it was my biggest fear. To alleviate my anxiety, my mother gave me a silver necklace with a small angel pendant on it. She had an identical one, and she told me that in a way we would always be together so long as I was wearing that necklace. I had more faith in that necklace than in any of my Catholic School teachings. To this day, if I am particularly upset about something or feeling uneasy, I will put that necklace on and feel safe somehow. It is amazing to me how at 24 years old that has stayed with me. It fascinates me how simple it was to believe in... despite knowing the rational side of things, the magic in that necklace was indisputable, and remains so.

When my boyfriend and I first started dating, he admitted to me that he often had nightmares. I found a dream catcher at an antigue/thrift store for $1 and gave it to him. I'm doubtful that he thought it would do much except look kind of cool hanging on his wall, but I thought it was a nice gesture... in a way, I wanted to be that dream catcher for him. I wanted to trap every fear, every nightmare and shield him from it. But sometimes, despite our best efforts the bad stuff can still manage to get through. Although rare these days, I still have nightmares. And when I wake up in that moment where for a split second it's hard to distinguish my fears from reality, it is impossible to put into words the comfort it brings me to look over and see my own personal living dream catcher. His face the reminder that reality is pretty amazing; the safety I find in his arms around me; the calm I feel at the sound of his voice. Maybe dreams are just like life -- sometimes they're happy, sometimes they're frightening, sometimes sad... sometimes they simply seem meaningless and we barely remember them. Whether the nightmare is a monster under my bed or the scary reality of life, it is a comfort to know I am never in it alone.

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