Monday, August 6, 2012

In the night, I dreamed of impossible choices

I dreamed that I was getting married to a man I'd never met.  It was arranged by 'Aunt and Uncle', two archetypal characters in the Mauritian clan which is my father's side of the family (there are no such characters in the waking world, to my knowledge).

I was okay with it, with walking down the aisle to commit myself to a stranger, but everyone around me was shocked.  Not so much about the marriage, but that I, of all people, would agree to such a thing for myself.  This surprised me a little, for those that were the most vocally shocked were those that know me least (cousins, aunts, others with unspecified relationships).  The closer members of my family were present but smudged, slightly faded into the background.

The man I was to marry was unremarkable: neither good looking nor unattractive; dark-skinned, perhaps Indian, perhaps part Mauritian; a little overweight (as am I), a bit rounded in the middle; he had a pleasant smile; seemed kind but not excessively so.  To the audience, he expressed his satisfaction with the match: he knew it was a good one because he desired me (i.e. I was attractive to him).  My waking, roaringly-feminist self would be outraged by such a proclamation (as if that were my most important characteristic... of all the things to say at a wedding, to the woman he was to marry... hiss! glare!) My dream self smiled benignly.

The ceremony passed by without incident: the dream meandered into snippets of my new life with my husband.  I felt pleasantly placid; accepting; unperturbed; calm with a faint overlay of disbelief (as I dreamed I still had some awareness that this was completely out of character with my waking self).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

My own musings on the dream yielded little by way of meaning.  It wasn't connected to any movies I'd watched, or books read, or conversations.  I mentioned it casually to my mother, dismissed it as just a strange dream.  I still didn't understand it.  As the week went on it sank into my place of forgetting, crowded out by daily life.

Tonight my best friend told me of a dream where she rode on a lion's back.  The lion killed one of her pet rabbits, but she saved the other one.  I consulted my books, searched the internet.  I remembered my own dream suddenly, sought out its meaning while doing the same for hers.

  • Am I feeling forced to do something I do not want, reluctantly moving to a new stage of life?  My dream self didn't feel forced.  Perhaps the peculiar calm was born of relief: being relieved of the burden of making such a monumental decision as choosing a life partner.  There's so much to get wrong...
  • An unknown man in a woman's dream is a part of her personality which is not recognised.  My  dream self was making an unrecognisable decision to marry a stranger.  That sort of change, the scale of it, is a little terrifying.  What would it take to bring about such a thing in me?  Or is it merely the union of the masculine and feminine aspects of personality?
  • Members of the extended family typify the many discernible parts of ourselves. So the discernable parts of me, the known parts, the elements I have nurtured up until now, are shocked by the decisions of my true self?  Do I know myself far less well than I have thought?  
  • "To dream of a wedding or marriage can often give an indication as tohow the dreamer feels about relationships".  Then this: weddings reflect how you feel about commitment to other people.  To dream of an arranged marriage means "your approach to commitment needs to be questioned".  Ahh, the sting, the squirm of being forced into honesty with oneself.  I am afraid, vastly, of commitment to a relationship with a man, even if my reasons for it are large and valid and historically accurate.
My contrary dream remains contrary.  I can't settle on one explanation, or even form a constellation of them all.  But some have the flavour of truth, of the beginning of a deep insight I may have not reached in my usual ways.  I can feel the foundations shifting, the knell of change.  Who will I be when the dust settles?

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