Working on My Nightmare

by Elouise

This morning I poured creative energy into rewriting a nightmare I had over a week ago. In the dream I was in charge, and found myself suddenly in a situation of growing danger. Yet I couldn’t speak directly and clearly to the danger. Not just danger to me, but to others.

This inability to speak clearly and directly in situations of danger is the most difficult damage I carried into my adult life. I don’t like the physical, spiritual and health fallout from being abused in body and spirit, but I can handle it.

Yet when it comes to my voice, whether written or spoken, I sometimes flinch when dealing with difficult issues. Or I speak out, followed too often by loss of confidence and the urge to sit down and shut up. Or stop being so emotional.

We live in a shrinking world tormented by personal, familial, national and global horror. It stares us in the face every day. Almost like a nightmarish taunt that won’t go away.

So I had this nightmare that began badly, became even worse, and finally woke me with my heart pounding, afraid for my life. It was all about threatening men, or so it seemed.

Since then, I’ve thought about a nightmare I had back in the 1990s, after I’d begun working with my psychotherapist. In it I’m running for my life from two or three men carrying loaded rifles, determined to silence me. I’m carrying a large umbrella. Hardly a match for loaded rifles.

I run into a room with an exit door at the top of concrete steps. The men are close behind me. There’s no way I can fight them off or stop them physically. I race up the stairs to exit the room and discover to my horror that the door is locked.

Of course I wake up with my heart pounding, afraid for my life.

Back then (as now), my psychotherapist encouraged me to rewrite the nightmare. Creatively, using only the material I have in the nightmare. Which includes my voice.

I’ll never forget how excited I was when I figured out what to do. I was at the top of the steps. Suddenly I turned around and pressed the button on my large umbrella. It flew open immediately, and I danced and, as I recall, sang my way back down the stairs and into the small room. The more I danced, the happier I was. I even invited my pursuers to dance with me!

The men were so flabbergasted they didn’t know what to do next, and I was suddenly in charge of my voice and the situation.

That’s the kind of ending I want for this nightmare. And I think I’ve got it! Which is for another post.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 November 2017
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