Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Diary: Swimming Ashore

Life has dished up a few nasty surprises lately. I've felt a bit like I was dumped by a big wave and have had trouble coming up for air. I've been left with that awful stinging feeling of saltwater burning my throat, left disorientated and easily knocked over by smaller waves as I've tried to swim ashore. I'm not quite there yet, but at least my feet can touch the bottom. I can feel the sand under my feet - and even if I loose my footing again for a while, its only for a moment. I know I'll be back laughing in the surf in no time. I know I'm getting back on track because I've been dreaming again.

Last night I dreamt I was in a house with a room that was my room, and mine alone. For once I wasn't trapped in the house I grew up in, it was a different house with a peaked window that looked out into a dark and wonderful forest. It was a mysterious forest with white birds or bats that moved in the trees, and a beautiful moon that shone in through a parting of the foliage.

Since I was home invaded one year ago I've been afraid of the dark, and afraid of being alone at night time, both very strange and rather crippling sensations for me as I've always loved the night, ever since I was a teenager and used to stay up all night listening to music and doing artwork, or would go for walks in parks listening to 'At Night' by The Cure. I love the silence at night time - no traffic, no people, no interruptions, and the noises you don't usually hear - curious squeaks (are they tiny bats or rodents?) the growling hiss of possums, the almost mechanical rhythm of a tawny frogmouth, bamboo scratching against the window.

In my dream the room was beautiful, it was my room, my special sacred place just for me. It was dark and inviting, feminine and illuminated with purples and hits of electric blue. People were arguing about something and I laughed and joked how funny it was they were bickering again and directed my attention instead to the alluring nocturnal view. For a moment I remembered my fear of the dark, but then saw the electric blue lights weaving around below the trees - police cars, lots of them! My room, my space was safe, what a wonderful feeling to be safe, and in a room that was all my own.

The other dream I had last week was equally as fantastic. I was back in the old house that I grew up in. I walked into Mum's old sewing room and saw it as it was, like I was there again all these years later. Remembered the pages from fashion magazines pinned straight onto the wallpaper (Dad would not approve), the enormous pile of ironing on the floor that only ever got bigger not smaller, the strange, thick layer of white sticky starch that stuck to the carpet below the ironing board (Mum was always a bit heavy with the Fabulon), her sewing table piled with fabrics and projects half finished, boxes of pins, industrial sized rolls of elastic, cotton threads, boxes of beads, feathers and bits of sparkling costume jewellery.

It was all there just the way she left it, even the ridiculous fourposter bed built to match a little girl's bedroom, all pink and white (sadly I was a tomboy and hated pink) with horrid indestructible brown carpet that was a minefield of pins. The bed matched the room and looked like something straight out of a dolls house, covered with more of the pink and white fabric, even with a little frilly curtain thing stapled around the top. It might have looked the part but the timber frame had been built far too thin so the single mattress bulged up alarmingly in the middle. I fell out of it with an enormous thump too many times before they finally put me into a regular bed in the room next door - which ended up becoming my bedroom, and Mum's sewing room took over the room that was intended to be mine. The bed, completely impractical, was left empty, but Mum found a use for it as a frame to hang her ironing from. There was always a row of clothes and shirts hanging round it like the dry cleaners. The top floor of the Paddington terrace was Mums and my domain, Dad rarely came up the many stairs - which was a good thing as he was always horrified at the mess!

It was so wonderful to be in that dream, to walk back into Mum's sewing room, and it addressed another fear that's been lurking around. Deep down I always thought that every detail of my past was in my subconscious, but after my experiments with a very expensive hypnotist I started to doubt this, thought maybe they'd gone after all, evaporated like acetone. It was a relief at first to see it all there, every tiny detail, and I was so overjoyed at this and full of the wonderful power of realisation.

The two dreams fit together so beautifully - the first of my Mum's room, her creative space, the second of my own sacred place. It has inspired me to make an area full of things that energise me - engaging colours, textures, smells and sounds, interesting clippings, positive affirmations, a place that reinforces the things I know about myself, where I can centre myself, create and appreciate the beauty and bounty of life.

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