My mother knew my sister was pregnant before my sister told her.
She really didn’t know if it was me or my sister at first. So she called us both. I could barely get a “hello” into the receiver before she accused me in a joyful tone of being the reason she had dreamt of fish. I let her know that I was most definitely not the culprit. Within a week, my sister called me while I was in the middle of parallel parking on an incline to tell me that she was pregnant. There was so much excitement rising in me that I seriously thought bubbles might make their way up my throat and out of my mouth as I had my foot on the brake and waved my hand out the window for people to “go around” me.
A week after turning twenty four, I had a dream that a small child was standing next to my car trying to get my attention. The child was standing near the front tire, pointing at the driver’s side of my car. I woke up and added “put air in front tire” to my to-do list. Two weeks later, I parked my car in front of a bike shop so that I could stop in to grab a lock (which I have yet to use, actually). As I was getting my receipt, I heard a horrible crash right outside. There was a group of kids that were hanging outside of the bike shop when I parked. Now they were swearing and laughing in disbelief. I rushed outside to see what happened. My car had been hit by an AC Transit bus. The bus was turning into a designated stop and completely smashed in the front driver’s side of my car. I hadn’t yet put air in the tire but there really wasn’t any need to by then.
Dreams are important. (For my witchy family) They are a place to interact with the ethers. Dreams take me back in time. They allow me to be a fly on the wall in situations I’ve never experienced, they let me hover over places I’m not even sure exist. They make the curtainveil between real life and the spectacular or the frightening-as-hell seem thinner and thinner. Especially if you dream as vividly as we do in my family.
In my dreams I have made peace with people who have passed before their time. I have been shot to death by loved ones. I’ve fallen (A LOT) off of steep things. I’ve lost teeth. I’ve lost fights because I suddenly have muscles made of molasses. I’ve held onto things in my jaws, bitten down and not let go (I’m an avid jaw grinder in my sleep, actually, it’s pretty despicable). I’ve looked into many mirrors and seen someone who I know to be me in the dream, not look like the me that is the real me. Once, I was even rescued by the Zapatistas and they made it look like a kidnapping for my own safety. Needless to say, I try to stay off of the internet before I go to bed, but, well, some days are easier than others.
Dreams are the places where messages arrive. They are the resting place where I find solutions to problems I don’t understand. They are the place where I ask myself for help undoing a knot that I’m too tired and frustrated to find the loose end of. They are the place where my Lola visits me and she’s laughing and glowing and smoking a cigarette with one knee crossed over the other and leaning in to hear me say something juicy. Dreams are where my grandpa shows up in the faces of other people and reminds me that his spirit is everywhere, jumping from the belly laugh of one and the southern drawl of another and the food smell of country ham. Jumping and landing on everything like a tic(k) just stopping by to visit.
Dreams are a look at the not yet. The not past. The not future. They’re like a cocktail of all of these places. A trippy one, where I get to fly in my favorite ones and lose a limb that I can’t seem to find anywhere in others. Where I get to see and know other versions of myself.
It is wild to think that all of the jungles and ruined towns and problempeople and watersnakes are created by my own mind. Wild to think that my mind is still chewing on something it may have taken in without my even noticing and showing me while I rest. It’s kind of sweet and creepy at the same time.
This past week I was having horrible dreams about the inauguration. I startled myself awake by talking while sleeping, I was saying, “they’re making stupidity legal”.
I’ve been in a kind of walking-dream throughout the entire election process, where half of me is (continually) disgusted and not surprised by the system that bred this fascism and the other half of me is in an Octavia Butler novel.
I have to regularly remind myself that summer will still come. More specifically, I regularly remind myself that it will not be winter for four years. However, “the campaign for torrential winter forever” threatens to take away so many things that keep us warm and happy and alive. In this crucial ass moment, dreaming is a godsend.
Dreaming affords me space and license to get free despite. Aids in escape from capitalist modes of production and utility as I rest. Dreaming serves as a mindmap and blueprint for plotting and manifesting revolution.
For me, it used to be that when I was severely activated in a state of heightened stress and anxiety that the only thing I wanted to do was lay my head against something and take a nap. Crisis and noise could be swarming all around me and I would burrow into a sleep. I wonder now how much of that was hopefulness to dip into a solution within myself, through dreaming.
When I can’t imagine another way to get under, over, or through, I’m hitting ‘snooze’. If I don’t get anything from a dream, at least I will be rested enough to call on my active imagination for some help to get unstuck. Because, Lorde knows there is nothing I dislike more than being stuck. Well, being stuck and having an old dusty white dude tell me what I’m not gonna do.
Dreaming is a concrete tool of legitimate resistance in a place where there seems to be no possibility/possible-ness. Nights when I’m tired from fighting, I hope for dreams that will show me a new way to get free. I luxuriate in possibilities to turn some mixed message into reality and plot to make it happen. How tricky and powerful we are. Try as they might, they can’t get to us when we are dreaming.