Amplification of the Past: A Dream of Bullying and Powerlessness

I had one of those dreams that really shakes you up and makes you feel a little off balance even after you're wide awake. I was being physically attacked by people I used to go to school with, and I was completely unable to defend myself. I could feel the pain of every hit and I couldn't do anything about it.

At first it was just one girl, one who will remain nameless because I'm not about to give any of my former tormentors any fame or notoriety on my blog! Ha. But this girl was one of the tiniest people I've ever known. I'm 5'7" and strong! But I had no defense against her. She was punching me in the gut and knocking me down, and every time I tried to get back up she'd all but demolish me once again.

I should note that the bullying and peer abuse that derailed my real life was mostly verbal and mental abuse; very rarely did anything physical happen and when it did I was able to defend myself much better than I was against the verbal attacks. So this dream wasn't a rehashing of my past... More like a very uncomfortable amplification of it.

After I thought it was over, more girls came to continue beating me up, but this time they were bigger and stronger than me. Just when you think it's over... If that's not a metaphor for life then I don't know what is! I was completely defenseless with ten to twelve girls punching and kicking me every time I tried to stand back up. There was no escape.

All the while, I had been trying to get back to my partner who was waiting for me, so we could have a romantic night together. I had put some serious effort and planning into it, yet I could not get back to the room because those girls would not stop beating me.

Finally I did get away, but they lied and told the principal that I was going to do something illegal (I can't remember what it was) so she wouldn't let me leave. I felt just as trapped and incapacitated as I really felt back in school. When I really remember that feeling in such vivid and painful detail, I wonder how it's possible that I never snapped. I certainly fantasized about causing some damage of my own, of making them feel the pain that they forced into my life on a daily basis... And I'm glad I never did but I honestly don't know how I held all that anger in.

I think the dream represents my ultimate happiness and the feeling that there's always someone on the outside working hard to prevent me from it. The reality is that no one else is doing that to me anymore. Just me. I have continued their cycle of abuse, and nowadays I hold myself down. I don't need an outside oppressor anymore because I took the job myself.

I think undoing that damage will be the most meaningful task of my life.

National Safe Schools Day

Poem: You Wanted Me to Feel My Own Joy