I just woke up from an all too familiar dream.
I’m still in college, taking the final courses I need to finally graduate.
And for some reason or another I’m failing them and will have to drop them and try again the next semester.
Which, in reality, did pretty much constitute the last year and a half of my college career. The same few classes, padded with a few others I hoped would be enjoyable, severe depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviors, and yet another semester of miserable failure.
The situations in my dream vary. This time I was trapped working in the drive thru at Long John Silvers (my very first job when I was 16) while people from my past came to harass me over the speaker and I burnt myself on the hot oil while dropping more batter dipped fish and hush puppies. When my day ended, I went home to my old college roommates (who I had a huge falling out with when the really severe destructive stuff started in real life) who both seemed to have it so together and to have a plan.
I was standing there with this huge manuscript I was editing. Everyone thought I was working on my first novel, but in the dream it was really something useless like a bunch of blog entries, or something along those lines. I was a nothing, going nowhere.
And then Piet woke me up.
The waking up is usually the same too.
Disorientation. A few minutes realizing that I really did finally get my degree and that I’m laying next to my husband and that I live in Europe now, not some dumpy house in Indiana, PA.
Evaluation. Reminding myself that I have that piece of paper that will eventually allow me to get my masters and maybe even my doctorate; that I have a husband who loves me and that I’m having a baby this summer.
Grief. Why am I still struggling with these things from my past? I really think I’ve come to terms with my life and how it is and how it has unfolded. Yes, sometimes I think back and feel ashamed or angry or sometimes wistful, but I do live solidly in the present. Or at least I think I do, until I have one of these dreams. Until I wake up with the echoes of failure bouncing around in my head and in my heart.
I thought I’d accepted myself for who I am.
Maybe I was wrong.