Sunday, September 26, 2004

List-making is free

I'm beginning to sink into that disconnected, fuzzy stage in which I start to lose sight of myself. This happens when there is little to distract me from The Questions. I don't hate The Questions all that much, in fact I try to foster them whenever I manage to go a long time without asking them. It's what they stir up that I can't handle. Following very quickly on the heels of The Questions comes, almost imperceptibly at first, that odd sense of loss. It's like the floating light inside my eyelid when I close my eyes. I can see it out of the corner of my eye, but as soon as I try to look at it directly, it disappears. If I could only put my finger on it, give it a little shape, then maybe I could dissect it and make it go away. But I never can.

Instead, I make lists. I find this very comforting, in an admittedly obsessive compulsive way. If I make enough lists, maybe I'll stumble upon the cause of my nostalgia.

List #1: Things I Should Be Doing That I Am Not Doing

writing in my journal (weblogs not included)

writing anything at all


filling out my application to cambridge

keeping in touch

learning hebrew

reading something other than formula thrillers

calling my professor's sister who lives in jerusalem (he asked me to)

research for my islamic mysticism paper

um...getting out of my apartment

I suppose that about covers it. I feel better already--that's not so long! Now that I've collected it into a neat little list, I barely feel the need to take any action at all.

Last night I had a nightmare that I was on a sinking ship. I was not upset about this at all. In fact I went on a swimming race with someone else from the ship, a guy who was immensely concerned with my welfare. He was faster than me. Maybe he saved my life. Anyway, suddenly I was walking on the sinking hull of this sinking ship, wading through the ankle-deep water. I was talking to Brett. I was trying to convince him to get off the ship, and he was angry at me. I was asking him questions about things I couldn't recall from our relationship. I had an image of him gently taking care of baby birds that I couldn't place in my memory. We argued.

In my dreams he is always so wise, so strong, so much like I remember him. I have attached to him a personality that doesn't exist, that never did. I even know when I did it--back in college when Paul and I broke up and I was heartbroken. I conjured up this new and improved Brett--a safe image since I could never imagine myself being with him--and this idealized image, this edited memory, helped me get over Paul. I never thought it would be this dangerous, never realized that once the little jury in my brain is convinced, it will not be unconvinced of guilt or innocence. As far as my subconscious is concerned, perfection is this man I've created, and he has Brett's face.

So I suppose he's back in my dreams again because of Jef. Breaking up with him was by far the most traumatic breakup I've ever been through. Who better to help me get over it then my own personal hero, invented and given life by me? Only it doesn't work this time, because there's no feet to put beneath the fantasy. The real Brett is married, lesser, bloodless. I know who he is, and he doesn't measure up to the jury's verdict. Which puts me in an odd predicament: an image in my dreams that is strong enough to confuse and hurt me, but too weak to help and heal me as it did before.

Who's sinking on that ship, him or me?

1 comment:

Love You said...

I am praying for you, little one. I had two nightmares myself last night which I find hard to understand and which don't fit into the context of my life. I can identify with that eerie, disquieting and numb feeling of loss. Since I have everything I need, and since I am, for the most part, a happy person...I can't understand why a simple dream or two can have the power to alter my mood and leave me on some sinking ship in the middle of a vast and lonely ocean of regret.