Tag Archives: family

Islamaphobia sneaked into my dreams

27 Apr

I had a dream in which the government was so anti-Muslim that they were doing raids on homes.

I was an adult daughter in a family that lived in an apartment…or apartments that were next to each other, and we were Muslims.

My mother was hastily taking certain items, things that looked Islamic, and hiding them. I went into another room and started doing the same with figurines and stuff of mine. My sister noticed what I was doing and suggested I hide them in a certain place. She was lounging with a book in a little room–it looked like her bedroom–right outside the kitchen, the room where I was hiding stuff.

I didn’t trust her. At this stage, my items were on a wheeled tray just around the corner from her room, and she’d seen me put things there. While I knew she wasn’t looking, I began hiding my items inside a secret cupboard in the back of a kitchen cupboard. My sister didn’t know about that hiding place. I hadn’t finished doing this, when I heard banging on the front door and knew raiders were there to search our house.

Before that, I had a dream inspired by V. S. Schwab’s novel The Near Witch. There was a moor and a lot of strong wind.

Department of Injustice

10 Jun

I just mailed this off:

Dear Department of Injustice,

You need to resume being the Department of Justice…assuming you ever did represent justice which, wait, you haven’t, since this has always been an overtly racist and misogynistic country that makes life a lot harder for poor people and people of color. But I digress.

Children are not blackmail tools for detention. Children aren’t criminals and don’t belong in cages. The country formerly known as the United States is violating human rights to an extent that it hasn’t done since Japanese Americans were sent off to internment camps.

Campus Dream/ House Dream

3 May

I was a grad student and was in a classroom full of students. The instructor was a middle-aged Tibetan man (I’m currently reading a travel memoir). Someone announced a protest march on campus, and people started leaving the room. I was confused, because nobody said where or when to meet for the march. I was slow and one of the last people in the room–everyone packing their backpacks and rustling and bustling–and finally I asked someone a question such as what’s going on or where do we meet. The person, I think a young male student in black, looked at me like I was an idiot and just repeated the info that there’s a March. He glared at me suspiciously. ‘You are attending, aren’t you?”

“Yes, of course!”

I wandered through the building and saw other students hurrying away.

Next I dreamed that I bought a large, quirky, somewhat old, two-story house out of pocket. Inside the new house, I found a sort of hidden crawl space…where there were a lot of things still inside, bags and boxes and a big fake gargoyle that startled me when I first came across it.

While I was looking through stuff, I suddenly remembered the political march and felt guilty that I was missing it and wondered if I could join it in time. (There was no break between dreams, and this suggests that the campus dream and the house dream were one and the same.)

While looking around the house and going through stuff, I talked on the phone with my mother, who informed me–she didn’t ask permission–that she and some other relatives were moving into my house.

Upstairs, I had an odd bedroom–at least, the long, narrow bathroom attached to it was odd. It was covered in tiny yellow glass mosaics and included a curved corner cabinet that swung open near the door to the room. Right next to that was a closet where I had several bright calico tunics hanging.

I took off my shirt and began putting on two of the tunics together, when I heard a door opening and voices; family members were as already there, at least my dad and brother.

I was anxious to be neatly and fully dressed before anyone found me; I was struggling to button up the multiple tunics (or shirts) I was wearing.

Soon a bunch of relatives were stomping around the house and claiming their bedrooms. It was harrowing. My brother and dad were okay so far as I was concerned, but my mother, Aunt Asshole and Uncle NRA, and Batshit Aunt Bev were all invading and claiming bedrooms without my permission. I was in shock and wanted to enjoy my new home. They somehow already had beds and other furniture in “their” rooms in no time, and one of them was lounging in a queen-size bed and watching a loud tv. The evil relatives paid pretty much no attention to me. Remorseless, empathy-less, and self-entitled as ever. They had absolutely no permission to invade and move into my new home, obviously.

After seeing them and hurrying back to the big empty room with the odd crawl space, I was able to begin thinking. I reminded myself: I bought this house for myself and for my cats. I didn’t invite these monsters. I don’t owe them anything—quite the contrary, they owe me my mental health, self-esteem, etc. (okay, admittedly, this last sentence wasn’t actually in the dream and just occurred to me). They had no right to take over my house.

My brother joined me, and what may have started as an internal monologue became a conversation with him. He agreed with me but was passive and probably wouldn’t do anything to help; I knew I had to do it all myself, but I didn’t know what to do. They’d already moved in! They had their furniture already in my house! I was freaking out. As large as the house was, there’s no way in hell that I was going to live with these nightmarish monsters. This was yet another betrayal.

At some point in the dream, I was showing my brother my quirky bathroom, swinging out the curved corner cabinet and all. Most of the house wasn’t painted—indeed, most of it, from what I remember, was wooden and the color of unpainted wood, even the walls (which, realistically, would be plaster).

A striking element of the dream was that my parents were still both alive, but that often happens in my dreams. Sometimes I dream that even though I’m an adult, I’m living with or moving in with my parents.

Because of the toxic relatives, what should have been a happy dream turned into a nightmare. Of course, something like that wouldn’t really happen, because I’d be at the door locking it before the monsters could get a single foot through the door, and I wouldn’t care if one of them ended up with a broken foot. Realistically, the front and back doors wouldn’t have been unlocked while I was upstairs looking around. Post-2002, I wouldn’t have let such toxic relatives have a key to my house.

Just recently I was thinking about how two evil aunts stole a house from me… but the joke is on them, because I now have a bigger house that’s far away from any evil relatives and that has absolutely no associations with toxic relatives. A home is supposed to be a haven—not to mention a home rather than only a house—and the house an uncle left me was never truly my home and haven, thanks to toxic relatives breaking in whenever they pleased. (I’m sure that if I were the same person then as I am now, I would have changed the locks and thus prevented Evil Aunt Ethel from breaking in…well, except for the fact that she was usually my cat sitter.) Not only do none of them have a key to my house, but they’re not invited (and some of them are deceased now). When I think of putting a “no soliciting” sign in my front window, I also think of adding: “No sociopaths, no narcissists, no fundamentalist xians, no creepers, no trespassers, no meth addicts, no assholes of any sort, especially not manipulative assholes.” In short, such thoughts probably helped to conjure that dream. Something else that influenced the dream: I’m often distracted by my home and cats (that’s my family) and haven’t been to a political rally or march in a while. I need balance.

Skeleton from the Closet on Kindle

14 Oct

My magical realism novel Skeleton from the Closet is now available on Kindle!

The trade paperback edition will be coming soon.

 

Bohemian and feminist Kezia moves into the charming Craftsman house her uncle left her…in Kansas, where she moves and finds herself surrounded by conservatives, including toxic relatives. Aunt Edith seemed so kind and loving when she was a kid, but now she’s scathingly contemptuous toward Kezia, who begins redecorating and meets a walking and talking Skeleton, more than willing to tell her dark family secrets.

Warehouse Dreams

6 Apr

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(The above is a photo I took at the Grimm warehouse sale. That is an Anubis-shaped mummy at a Trimet bus stop.)

In one night, I had two dreams involving living in a warehouse.

I had a dream in which I had recently moved into a large apartment or condo that was actually a warehouse. It had high ceilings with rafters and hanging lights like you expect in a warehouse. Portions of the large space were divided into rooms with walls that were more like partitions than walls. Along outer walls were large wooden shelves, spaced well apart, reaching to the ceiling and covered with various items, like coolers and whatnot.

My parents began to move in with me, and this meant figuring out who would have what bedroom. While this was under discussion, I was looking at the bedrooms, and one of my parents pointed out that I had the largest room, so I decided I would let my parents have that bedroom and I would move all my stuff into another bedroom. Meanwhile, I realized I’d better have less clutter, so I pulled random stuff off one of the high wall shelves and realized that these were items I had no trouble getting rid of (most of that stuff was probably there when I moved in); these items were a rusty metal rectangular tub or something like that, not a full-size bathtub but something white and metal and rusty that might have been used for hand-washing clothes; inside it was something else that was rusty and metal and at least partially white, and I think it was perhaps a baby stroller, though an abnormally small one. There may have been a big garage door, and I may have carried these items out that door and placed them outside for the time being.

Now that I’m writing this, it seems like the dream was more focused on clutter and rearranging and organizing stuff…and my parents were rather in the background.

I had another warehouse dream the same night, or rather early morning. I had just recently moved into a warehouse with a bunch of friends, communal-style, but they were also my co-workers of some sort—probably performance artists. The décor was much like in the other dream—a large, high-ceilinged warehouse with wooden partitions/walls. There was a very wide hallway, and along the left of it you could see these black wooden walls.

I hand-made lots of banners that were all on the same theme and I think looked Art Nouveau, and they were all part of a performance art piece that my colleagues and I were working on. One day I came home to find that they were all gone. I was shocked and confused and hurt…and found out that the stern landlady took them down because hanging large banners in these apartments was not allowed. We were very flustered (or at least I was!) and didn’t know what to do. I felt especially hurt because I had put a lot of effort into those banners. They were art, not garbage.

Wondering about the possible significance of warehouses, I looked it up on an online dream dictionary and learned that it has to do with storing up your untapped resources, such as skills you haven’t used (which I think can extend to skills you haven’t been using lately). And why do I keep having dreams in which I move in with my parents or they’re moving in with me? I suppose that’s part of the grieving process, but it could manifest in other ways, not specifically moving in with and living with my parents.

Of course, I did live with them for nearly two decades, and during the last few years of their lives, I visited because of their health problems—and was with them when they died. So I did return to my childhood home in this reality.

A House and a Swimming Cat

1 Apr

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I dreamed that I was buying a huge and elaborate Victorian Queen Anne mansion that the entire family was going to live in (both my parents were still alive in the reality of the dream).

I was visiting the house while it was under major renovation; a contractor or someone had insisted that the entire upper floors needed to be rebuilt (I was thinking there may have been a fire). I wandered around inside a bit and heard a couple of male voices and figured they were working on the house and had no idea I was there. I felt like being secretive and, while I was in a second-floor hallway, headed for the stairs to sneak out…but someone who knew me called out to me, and I think it was my brother.

That may have been right before Francis and I were at the edge of a brook or some body of water, and we saw something floating toward us in the water. I was slow to realize it was my fluffy Siamese-mix cat, Virginia, floating on her back. Francis stared at her and said, “She’s purring!” I was anxious that she might drown, but he was right: she really was purring while floating.

She came steadily closer and reached the edge at our feet. That was a relief. He seemed in awe of her, a cat who floats and purrs while doing so.

I next remember sitting on a bench and looking up at the house while it was under construction. There was a brook or mote at my feet, separating me from the house and from several much smaller houses around the one I was going to buy.

Suddenly my mother was beside me in the bench. She wasn’t saying malicious, judgmental things; she was actually behaving. I think we talked about the progress of the house.

I saw something floating in the water toward us, and again it was Virginia floating on her back and purring, and I heard her clearly. I noticed close behind her was her sister, Vita, also floating on her back and purring. They joined us on the bench.

Next the four of us were wandering around inside the house. I noticed several red brocade, elaborately carved chairs and felt that more excited about the house. I thought about furnishing it and figured I’d sell my modern furniture and replace it with used and antique furniture more suitable for this house.

While we were still in the house, and I heard construction workers, I became concerned because I didn’t remember bringing Vita and Virginia in cat carriers. I figured my mother wouldn’t like to be in a car with two rambunctious cats wandering all over it, and I knew she wouldn’t approve. I recalled that since it was a dream, didn’t really come here in a car, and I woke up.