How to Keep Us Down
Reunion Time

Dreams: Anxiety #1

Depressed_moiI'm numbering these by type, because there will always be more. I'm a vivid dreamer and work a lot of stuff out in them, usually in the morning before I get up, like today. The street cleaner woke me at 7:30, and I rolled over and went back to sleep to find myself somewhere abroad, in the snowy mountains of Afghanistan, at a place that looked strangely like home nonetheless, and was equally hard to get to, get around, and get out of. I was living in a concrete bunker-like room with tall ceilings but very little else that was charming about it, though it was very modern, and I was late for class. Again. I'd enrolled at some kind of trade school where I was learning about design, and industrial design, and how to use complex tools and materials, but I wasn't the diligent student I usually am. I'd left my partner hanging on our project and screwed around for most of the semester. Today was the last day I had to redeem myself and I'd overslept, until 1:30 in the afternoon. Class started at 2:00, and there was no way I'd get there in time.

I went anyway, but it was mostly over by the time I got there, and people were putting the finishing touches on their projects. The class was in a huge concrete warehouse-type structure with multiple levels. Very modern, very Rem Koolhaas, totally out of place, but full of cool, talented people, wrapping up the end of their semester. A bunch were around a piano singing and celebrating the last class, including one older guy with an amazingly resonant bass voice that I wanted to meet. My friend Emilie was there too, working with an old acquaintance from high school named June. They were putting together a Plexiglas "rug" that would double as a wall-hanging and fold up neatly into a flat-pak. Around me throughout the building, I hear machines whirring. It occurs to me, after looking around, that the projects are oddly gender-sorted: women doing textiles and "soft" materials, guys working with glass, plastic, wood, metal, the ones that require complicated machinery to work with. My partner, a guy, and I had been working with glass and Plexiglas, though I don't remember what we'd been doing. It's reminiscent of the failed art project I'd done in college that promptly fell apart when I took it in for critique. (Great concept, it just needed better tools and technique to make it.)

I proceed to have a meltdown, realizing I've screwed up my whole semester and I'm going to fail this class and have to repeat it. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm unmotivated, depressed, upset. Emilie keeps insisting it's because I don't have a man but I know that's not it. Somewhere inside, I know it's because I'm afraid: of the machines, of failure, of being found out as a fraud. I don't know what I'm doing and I hate that. But this is one of those few times where I can't just surf the fear through a new experience. I'm a failure.

Meanwhile, I meet three more friends in the parking lot, where it's snowing, and it turns out they're all pregnant, at more or less the same time, in the same stage. They've gotten huge since I last saw them. One of them is Sharon, whom I often copy edit for in real life Another is a summer roommate from college. The third is an unknown shadow. We drive away, through the snowy roads of the little town I grew up in and I wake up.

Well, that seems pretty self-explanatory, doesn't it? Another species of the anxiety dream, this one about art anxiety.The tool fear is kinda true. Dad worked hard to convince me that tools were dangerous and girls shouldn't "play" with them. I'm sure if I'd been a boy that would not have been the case. He was really annoyed when I took small engines in high school, and shop. Of course, the two token girls weren't allowed to get their hands dirty there, just like we weren't allowed to use the lab equipment in chemistry. (Thought it was okay if we washed it.) Jen gave me her tile cutter, which I'd love to have some place to use (it needs a workshop though) and I have a power drill, a Dremel and a couple of hand saws. I'd love to have a jigsaw or at least a circular saw, but again, you need a workshop for those, which I haven't got. Yet.

The pregnancy bit I'm sure is a metaphor for artistic creation. I'm seeing everyone else but me as full of ideas for art. That's a real fear too. I never think I have enough ideas for writing, making books or whatever, and yet I don't have enough time to get to the ideas I do have. Go figure.

I'm sure the snow and the sterile-looking buildings, the inaccessibility all speak to being trapped in some place where I can't create, but I'm not sure where that's coming from. Maybe from my looming reunion and my first (very minor and I hope last) surgery.

So there's my dream analysis. Be amused.


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