I awake from a dream about moving day. In the dream, a friend and I are both dancers in the chorus of an off-Broadway musical. Poor as church mice, we fantasize about a stage success that will bring us fame and fortune.
In costume, she is graceful and evocative. In life, she is warm and enthusiastic.
My friend has approached me to ask for help in relocating. I have never been to her apartment before. We run a gauntlet of threatening catcalls from men, as we approach the place.
One actually forces his way into the apartment, but my friend fends him off with a drug dose she has stashed above the door. She does not lock the door on his departure. I feel uneasy about this, sure he will return.
The apartment, itself, is beyond shabby – a tiny, windowless room, exposed to the weather. The place is furnished, if one can use the word, with bits and pieces of broken objects. My friend treats these tenderly, as if they were priceless. Meanwhile, she must rely on a nearby restroom, for lack of an alternative.
She has no packing boxes, and has not begun to sort through what she will take and what she will leave behind.
It strikes me that this dream is a metaphor for the after-effects of child abuse. Often, the exterior we present to the world is like a play. We dress in costume, adopt the mannerisms we see around us, in an effort to fit in.
Our interior life is very different – empty and lacking essentials. We may be genuine and caring, despite this. But we do not recognize those qualities as having value.
We cherish the few broken bits and pieces of what passed for love in our lives, all the while fending off new assailants. We have few friends and fewer defenses.
Still, the possibility exists of moving beyond abuse. That possibility may seem remote. We may not yet be able to tell what can and should be left behind. But we long to move forward, and are determined to succeed.
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