Monday, April 28, 2014

The Reading

The Dream: I'm at a reading taking place in a storage facility. People sit among shelves and equipment. I read a piece, then ask to read another by my friend Jane. Describing Jane to the organizer I say she's intelligent and pretty—then I amend the pretty part, saying I'm not so sure about that. I wonder to myself if there is actually something a bit creepy about her looks. I think it would be good if Jane could come and talk to the group, but dismiss the idea because I think that San Francisco is too far away from her home to make the trip worth her while.

I'm allowed to read Jane's contribution. I begin to feel I might be taking too much of the group's time, having read once already. As I read I don't know whether Jane in fact wrote this—it's in the style of a Victorian like Poe--or whether it's a newly discovered old manuscript.

In any case, I read it aloud and as I do I realize I haven't prepared, and I'm stumbling over the text, not reading well at all. About the second stanza I come to a verse about farts; I wasn't expecting this and plow through, trying not to giggle like a kid.

When I've finished there is a man to my right, sitting behind a movable staircase, who seems taken with my reading. “When you smiled,” he says reverentially, “I thought you were an actress!” He speaks as if this is a great compliment, and I wonder if I should tell him that I once was an actress. I decide not to. I can see this fellow has a crush on me, and I think about telling him instead that I take my marriage vows seriously. I think about my daughter and the way she dismisses the many men who fall in love with her as if it is a homage to be expected and tolerated.

Interpretation: This dream is about acceptance. In the first paragraph the dream reveals the theme, the need for me to take a look at my stored self-concept. So as not to be too alarming, the ego is disguised behind my “friend” Jane. Then, one by one, the dream delves into my various insecurities. Apparently I am comfortable with the idea that I'm intelligent, but can't accept the idea that I am pretty—in fact, I see something about my appearance as off-putting, creepy. I'm kind of out of it, too, so far from the city that going into town is not worthwhile.

Still, I forge on with presenting myself, cloaked in the Jane character. I read her contribution, and the problems multiply. I worry that I'm imposing on the group, taking up too much of their time. I'm really not worthy of this attention. And did I actually do the work that I'm taking credit for? Maybe not. And I'm not even prepared! I stumble around, perform badly. When the unconscious finally gets fed up with all this self-abasement it presents me with a fart: a lot of hot air, and stinky to boot.

Having confronted the absurdity of my low self-esteem, an admirer appears. He lets me know my fumbling around and relentless inadequacy was nothing more than an act. He sees me as I am, and he loves me. I'm not ready to accept this acceptance so I get a little stuffy and contemplate lecturing him about marriage vows.

By the end of the dream it seems I've gone from deflation to inflation, dismissing (now in the guise of my daughter) those who love me in a high-handed manner. Or is it more subtle than that? The dream is pointing out that if I am accepted I reject the acceptor, like the old saw about not wanting to belong to a club that would let you in. That explains the man's position near the movable staircase. With this inner script there is no way to avoid climbing, endlessly.

No comments:

Post a Comment