Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dream a little dream of me

So I usually don't remember my dreams. And those that I happen to recall when I crack open my eyes aren't typically memorable or vibrant or all that interesting. Several members of my family have these wonderfully exciting war dreams full of running from tanks, fighting Russians, shooting baddies and all in vibrant color and sound. They can smell the gunpowder.

Not me tho. Even in my fantasies I never get to be part of an elite fighting force or scramble trying to save my family or get to be heroic much. I don't fly, exhibit super human strength, or rule the world. For some reason, most of my dreams are prosaic and, to be honest here, lean toward the pathetic.

Tired of hearing all the REM exploits of my family and not being able to contribute, I once made the unfortunate mistake of relating a dream to my brothers. In it I was on my college cross country team running through trees, over streams and rocky ground, dodging deer trying to play chicken, passing other runners left and right to a climatic finale full of cheering fans and waving banners where I crossed the finish line in 2nd place. Yep. 2nd place. I finally had an exciting dream in full color and sound and I didn't even win the race.

Of course they teased me mercifully even though I am the eldest. (The fact that they are younger than me has never been a hindrance to them. They never cowered in fear from an oppressive, teasing older sibling -see Wayne Arnold, Bart Simpson, G.O.B., etc. Geez,even Wally bawled out the Beav from time to time. My bros should consider themselves lucky!)

Well, the cross country dream has even been enshrined in one of the many nicknames my brothers have for me. The initials LP meaning last place is part of my memory teasing nickname: RMNFLPCBMSS. In case you were wondering, to say this name you pronounce each letter. In my family nicknames aren't short little pet names used to speed conversation. Nope they're full on sentences. The longer, the better!

Since most of my dreams are dull and rather Charlie Brownish (the CB part of the above mentioned nickname, which for some obscure, arcane reason, doubles for Chicken Burrito as well) when I have vivid dreams with substance I tend to remember them very well.

I had one of these real dreams last night. In this dream I was standing in a really nice living room watching tv with my whole family, a girl that I was aware, in that way you know in dreams, was my girlfriend and this really hot guy. This guy was a mix of my high school best friend and this guy whose blog I follow. As this girl (whose face kept switching back and forth between girls I had dated) stood next to me, she leaned in and said, "I've had a Vision that you are going to be my husband. I love you and now you have to love me. We'll be together forever! Isn't it wonderful? You've made me so happy!"

As she said this I could feel my teeth loosen in my mouth. I jerked my tongue away from poking my front teeth with the thought: I can't touch them. They'll fall out if I fiddle with my teeth. I HAVE to forget them. You have to love her. She's so happy.

So we stood there with my whole family smiling and watching us. She put her head on my shoulder and I clenched my jaw muscles and froze. One of the teeth had fallen in my mouth. I frantically tried to put it back in its socket to no avail. As I looked around in panic I noticed that the hot guy hadmy moved to where he was sitting right next to where I was standing. My hand resting on the back of the sofa was lightly touching his shoulder. An electric shock, as hot as plasma and quick as light rushed up my hand as the girl gripped me harder. And harder. I felt my ribs creak. She looked up at me and said, "You have to love me. I've had a Vision. I've prayed and the Spirit told me that you are my husband."

My hand was jerked away from the couch and one by one my teeth started falling out. I open my mouth and a river of teeth were falling, hitting the ground. They shattered when they hit. She didn't notice. She leaned in and kissed me on the cheek. My family sat looking at me, still smiling. They didn't notice the teeth either. The guy looked up at me and said, "Why don't you sit down next to me?" I unwrapped the girl's arms from around my torso and sat down. My family had stopped looking at me and were now watching the screen. Suddenly I had a full mouth of teeth again. His arm was around me and he was playing with my fingers with his hand. The girl sat down with my family on one side of the room. The guy and I sat by ourselves.

I felt my teeth with my tongue and they still felt loose. Ever so slowly I leaned my head on his shoulder and my teeth grew firm in their sockets. I let out a sigh and he put his lips to my ear and whispered, "Are you happy? Sit with me for as long as you want."

The room faded and he and I were standing in a field. I could smell fresh rain on the ground, a smell I've always loved. He stood on a hillock as I approached him. His pants took on the color of the earth and plants around him and his shirt took on the color of the sky. When a cloud passed behind him, his shirt took on that color too. The sun rose behind his shoulder and its color bled through his shirt. Wind blew through his hair and he looked at me as tears started to fall from his eyes. He was waiting for me. He was smiling.

That was when I woke up crying. I laid there in the dark trying to figure out where I was and what was going on. Why was I crying? I wasn't sad or frustrated but they weren't exactly tears of joy either. I was just crying. Then I fell back to sleep.

I've been trying to analyze my dream. Apparently dreams involving teeth are very common. Falling or rotting teeth is linked to anxiety, frustration, impotency and fear of being embarrassed. Well that definitely makes sense. Those feelings are old friends. We know each other well.

There's also a lot of truth to it. Being a good Mormon boy in college I dated as much as I could force myself. Since I wasn't exactly motivated by girls' looks I had to make a goal of asking a girl out once every week. I wan't very good at accomplishing it. But in the course of dating girls, I was told by three of them (THREE of them!!!) that they had a vision/whisperings of the Spirit/answer to prayer that said I was going to be their husband. *sigh* Mormons and their visions. One of them I wasn't even dating! So that explains the girl in my dream and her actions.

The part the shakes me up the most is the field part of the dream. I've had this little dreamlet off and on for a long time. The first time I had it I was 13. It made such an impact on me and the feelings associated with it were so strong that it would frighten me. I would HATE myself for having it because the love I felt for that unknown man was very strong and I knew that loving another guy like that was wrong.

And so I think I know why I was crying. This time I didn't feel guilty for it. I now recognize it as a normal dream of yearning that everyone has. I'm no longer mentally flagellating myself for it, thinking that just having it I'm somehow sinning. Now it's a possibility. A hope on the horizon, just like his smile.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A New Chapter

So my life begins a whole new chapter! I've moved back to Virginia after being away in California for several years. And so far it's been great. Well, except for the heat and the humidity and fear that this whole change is gonna crumble in my hands like an empty egg shell.

I'm looking for work here in Lynchburg and have sent out my resume to several places. I'm also figuring out where I'd like to go to school to further my education. I really would like to teach at the collegiate level but since I've yet to decide WHAT I'd like to teach I'm at a bit of a loss as to which graduate programs to look at. (I know, I know, making decisions is not high on my list of talents). There is a Master's in Humanities program at ODU that looks good but I'm not completely convinced yet. As it is, I'd need to wait at least a year to get my Virginia residency back. Not to mention that my killer GRE scores have now expired! Who knew that they were only good for 5 years. GRRRRRRRR. My brother said not to worry, that if I got great scores before I'll be able to get them again. Easy for him to say.

Boy this is typical "Hedgehog" thinking. Worrying about performance on a test to get into a program I haven't even picked yet. Classic carriage before the horse. I guess this is as good a place as any to explain the name of my blog.

I view myself as a combination of two very disparate sets of personality traits: The Falcon and The Hedgehog. The Falcon is that talented, outgoing, confident, self-assured part of me that can soar. The part of me that views myself positively. This is the handsome Jake. The person that can do anything and knows exactly what he wants. Needless to say, I like The Falcon.

The Hedgehog is that part of me that is insecure, depressed, unsure, timid and a bit prickly. The wishy-washy fool who freezes into inaction. This is the Jake that doesn't think much of himself. The type of person to roll up into a ball and shut everyone out. And although I don't like being The Hedgehog he has dominated a lot of my life so far. (He is pretty cute tho).

I like to think that most people have this dichotomy within themselves. I'm not unique there. I use these two halves of myself to cope with my feelings and the depression that sometimes comes. They enable me to look at myself with just enough detachment to be able to deal effectively with whatever might come.

So lately The Falcon has been soaring. Looking for a new job, searching for education opportunities, even going to the Y to work out has left me flying high! I've even been able to love that part of me that's gay instead of hating myself for it. Instead of weighing the benefits of suicide (there are none, by the way, just if you were wondering), I've been factoring in the gay population at schools in my search. Breathe deep..... doesn't that lack of self-loathing smell great?!