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I Dreamed that My Dad Survived

27 Dec

I dreamed that my dad survived cancer.

The year was 2014 (the year that he actually died). Dad was in a hospital. I felt guilty, because my siblings and I had been neglecting him, leaving him alone at the hospital.

So I went to the hospital. It was on a derelict street that could have been a suburb of Chicago or the outskirts of the city. There was hardly any traffic, and a chain link fence was by the hospital.

I pulled up and parallel parked, only to realize it looked like an illegal parking place. I got out and walked around outside the hospital to find a legal place to park (or did I drive around?). Behind the hospital was some parking. So I started walking back to the car. Strangely, this involved walking around a chain link fence just north of the hospital. Someone drove past me. I felt lost and confused and had no idea what to do. I remembered where I’d parked my car, but somehow it was taking me a long time to get to it. I ended up huddling next to the chain link fence.

As if I haven’t had enough Gaslighting

5 Oct
Every woman and girl in every patriarchal country has been gaslighted since the day she was born. The past two weeks have been a nightmare, not unlike being in an abusive relationship.
Today I realized that, emotionally, the past two weeks have felt like being in an abusive relationship.
The abuser in this relationship is the Senate judiciary committee. The abuser is the government of this fucking country, which has told every woman and girl, and every survivor of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape, that they don’t matter and that they are invalid. It has told yet another sexual predator that he’s so fucking valid that he’s fucking entitled to be on the Supreme Court, taking away women’s reproductive rights.
This calls for a REVOLUTION.
Facebook had an event on September 27: a rally in Portland, in support of Christine Blasey Ford, across from the courthouse. It began at noon, and I didn’t get organized in time to leave by 10 am…so I posted a comment on the event page.
“It’s too late for me to drive the 2 hours, so instead of attending, I’ll be revising a story about sexual harassment. But I’ll be with you in spirit.”
Just this morning–days later–an entitled male troll fucking reacted with a “laughing face” and commented, “What do you mean revise? Make stuff up?”
I became so furious that my hands were shaking as I typed. At first, I was going to reply before blocking the fucking piece of shit, but I remembered my usual policy of not replying to trolls. I didn’t want this smug and arrogant misogynist and possible sexual predator to have the satisfaction of thinking he’d succeeded. So I deleted what I’d started to write with very shaky hands, blocked the parasite….yelled KILL ALL MISOGYNISTS a few times, and then found the event again and posted this comment:
“The only good troll is the one under the Fremont Bridge. “Revising” doesn’t fucking mean “making stuff up.” It means revising, asshole. As in adding more details. Your attempts to gaslight and invalidate me only prove that you’re devoid of any redeeming quality.”
 I then posted a variation onto my Facebook page:
“The only good troll is the one under the Fremont Bridge.
“Revising” an autobiographical story about sexual harassment doesn’t fucking mean “making stuff up.” It means revising, asshole. As in ADDING MORE DETAILS. Your attempts to gaslight and invalidate me only prove that you’re devoid of any redeeming quality.
And I really, really enjoyed blocking your evil, soulless, entitled ass.”
As a fiction writer, I do indeed make things up. I look forward to writing a story in which a group of vigilante feminists chop rapists, sexual predators, the politicians who gaslight us and reward sexual predators, and gaslighters. At the very least, I could post it on a fan fiction site as Dietland (by Sarai Walker) fan fiction.

Not Celebrating

13 May

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are miserable after your parents die. In less than an hour, this Mother’s Day will be behind me. This will be the third Mother’s Day since my mother’s death in March of 2016. It hasn’t gotten easier.

So many businesses inundate the Internet—including my inbox—with ads that say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” and urge me to buy gifts for my (dead) mother. This is what greeted me this morning, after I finished writing in my dream journal. I wanted to scream at all these businesses. NEWSFLASH: NOT EVERYONE’S PARENTS ARE STILL ALIVE! Their behavior seems not merely inconsiderate but downright cruel. I unsubscribed from three email lists.

In the late morning, I took a walk in my neighborhood under a too-bright and relentless sun. As I walked past a neighbor’s house, I noticed a lilac bush in their front yard, so I leaned forward and sniffed the beautiful aroma.

I recalled that during my childhood and adolescence, a vacant lot was across the street from our house, and in that vacant lot were two lilac bushes. For years, I picked lilacs on Mother’s Day and gave them to my mother.

Remembering this on my walk today choked me up, after all that anger at the internet. I kept walking and knew the high for the day was supposed to be eighty-three degrees, and it felt like it had already reached the high. It must have been the sunlight, because as soon as I got home, my smart phone indicated that it was only sixty-six degrees, which I could hardly believe.

This ended up as a day of bereavement more intense than I anticipated, especially since I was closer to my dad, and my mother was a narcissist. Even if your mother was a narcissist, you grieve for her…and sometimes for the nurturing mother you never had. I spent the afternoon napping, meditating, and reading. I managed to finish reading three books in one day. This evening especially, I’ve allowed myself to be with the grief. The anger I felt earlier is gone.

Anxiety Dream on the Anniversary of my Mother’s Death

9 Mar

I dreamed I was a college student. It was the first day…or maybe not…of a class in a room with white tile and that was otherwise white, and in the back corner of the room the wall was covered with school supplies hanging from hooks, and there were clear plastic buckets full of other school supplies, such as markers.

At some point, I think toward the end of the class period, the black male teacher asked us if we needed any supplies ordered. I was somewhat confused about whatever we were learning and didn’t want anyone to know this. I was also worried, because apparently he asked this question about supplies every day, and other students responded, and I didn’t. I had yet to speak in class and was worried about making a bad impression.

I had a long trench coat, like the one I wear now. At the end of class, I was having trouble figuring out if it was the end of class, though the teacher was slowly walking toward the door, and students were rising and donning their coats.

When I stood up, somehow my trench coat ended up lying across a white folding table, and junk, mostly used tissues and maybe cough drops, fell out of my pockets. Some students chuckled. Embarrassed, I scooped up things that fell out, and I tossed them into a small black waste basket. Nobody else was dropping their coats and spilling things; everyone else was graceful and coordinated.

Next, I was outdoors on campus, and it was very sunny, and a few students were standing around talking. I stood going through my pockets. A girl in my class who had short blond hair and clunky black glasses was talking with an older man in a trench coat. This was right at the corner of the building, and the man may have been seated at a cafe table or indoors seated next to a large open window. He was someone she knew.

Fortunately, nobody was paying attention to me while I rummaged through my pockets…well, until I found with my bare hand something sticky and gross in my pocket, something pale, yellow, and oval, like a cough drop, but squishy. Then a boy nearby stopped talking with friends and stared in disgust, as did the girl. I managed to dispose of the cough drop but didn’t know how to remove the stickiness from my hands and stood there giving my right hand a shake, resisting the temptation to wipe it on my clothes, and ultimately using a facial tissue to wipe my hands, so the tissue stuck to my right hand.

The dream involved a lot of feeling stupid and out of place, having no confidence, being very disorganized and confused…while surrounded by people who had it all together and didn’t appear to have these problems.

Valentine

14 Feb

When I was an undergraduate, on Valentine’s Day I was once in a little office with two or three other students, and we were all collating papers for something that escapes my memory. We may have, in addition to sorting the papers into a certain order, folding them and slipping them into envelopes and then sealing said envelopes; certainly, I’ve done that kind of volunteer work for nonprofits.

Since it was Valentine’s Day, the other students were sad that they didn’t have dates. Much as I’ve always loved romantic nineteenth-century literature, even back then I was happy to be single, but I kept that to myself.

We agreed that having chocolate would be a great consolation. One, maybe two, of us went to a supermarket and came back with a gallon of the most hedonistic chocolate ice cream they could find, probably Rocky Road.

About twenty-five years later, this month I was at a supermarket and spotted Coconut Bliss non-dairy ice cream for sale and bought myself not one but two pints of Chocolate Fudge Brownie (and finished one pint before Valentine’s Day). Thus, I’m continuing a tradition of pretending to feel lonely on Valentine’s Day, so I can indulge in my chocolate addiction.

Meanwhile, the anniversary of my dad’s birthday is coming up on February 16th. That only occurred to me yesterday. Bereavement anniversaries bring… things… up. “Things” often meaning a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Memories are another thing. I shouldn’t suppress grief but should mindfully observe it, or so I tell myself. Still, I might do something self-indulgent that day, such as watch a movie or attend a ghost convention.

Back from the Dead

31 Dec

I dreamed that Cheetah came back from the dead.

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She was a feisty grey tabby who lived with me for two decades. She passed away on January 16, 2016.

In the dream, I lived in what looked like my parents’ house—the house that was recently sold. At least, it looked just like it, and the neighborhood resembled that neighborhood.

I had just flown back home from Phoenix and was walking down Smoke Road to the house. It was bright and sunny outside, with a bright blue sky, and I was surprised it wasn’t cold and snowy and was relieved, too, since I’d gotten accustomed to the Phoenix weather.

At the house, I was in the kitchen and again struck by how bright and sunny it was, how bright blue the sky was as seen through the sliding glass doors, and how comfortable the temperature was, how similar the weather was to Phoenix this time of year. None of the anticipated snow and ice. My cats, the ones I now live with, I think were there, at the house.

I went into a cluttered room, I think a bedroom, and there was a couch with a bunch of blankets on it. I reached into the blankets and pulled out…a perfectly healthy Cheetah. In the reality of the dream, I knew she had been buried in the ground and had come back to life the previous day, had climbed up out of the ground on her own. She seemed young again and perfectly healthy, and she didn’t object when I picked her up and cuddled her. She seemed like a much more mellow version of Cheetah.

After I woke up, I lay there in shock, as it sank in that I had just dreamed that my old cat, Cheetah, came back from the dead.

Oregon is Burning

5 Sep

Today is the second anniversary of my mother’s birthday since her death. Add to that, it looks like the apocalypse outside. And that sociopath is dismantling DACA. I’m not in a good mood.

I’m not the only one freaking out over the hazardous air quality. The following is a letter I’m about to hand-write to my senators and representative:

Dear Senators,

Portland is snowing ash. Portland, Eugene, and other parts of Oregon look like the sky right in front of me: smoky and somewhat orange, with a glowing orange sun. For days, I have been smelling smoke, sometimes even from inside my house. When I ventured outside yesterday—coughing, mind you—I discovered that the public pool was closed due to the hazardous air quality, so I went to a nearby coffee shop, where several of the customers were wearing surgical masks. That reminded me of the handmade cloth masks I saw for sale in Tibet, and I’m going to make myself one today. I should have already done so.

I am absolutely FURIOUS that the narcissistic sociopath squatting in the White House pretends that climate change doesn’t exist and is an invention of the Chinese! Who from planet Earth doesn’t believe in climate change in the year 2017?!? This is proof that Donald Dump and his minions are aliens from another planet, probably Rexicoricus…whatever it’s called. Dump needs to be deported back to his planet.

We need to care about the planet we live on, which is planet Earth. We need to have a government that isn’t so evil and insane that it pretends that climate change doesn’t exist. We see it happening before our very eyes. Oregon is burning. Texas and Louisiana are drowning in flood. We are seeing record high temperatures everywhere. Meanwhile, that heartless monster Donald Dump is fiddling.