Let me explain…
I woke up from another intense dream this morning. I was sweating and just plain worn out. Like I had worked out for the last 7 hours.
The dream involved me being back with my old family. It was my nephew’s wedding. Roanin and Rex were ring bearers. We were all in a hotel room. All the usual players were there. My dad stood out as being extremely annoyed and very persistent in making sure that I was complying with whatever needed to happen for others to be happy. He was nagging me about getting the boys ready. About them behaving. About my appearance. About the ceremony, even, of which I really had no idea about or no control over.
He kept making comments, and I felt myself dancing around, just like I used to. Except this dream was different in one way. The difference was very dramatic and very noticeable to me. I could finally see what was happening and hated it. I could feel each comment, each expectation as if there were dull daggers being pushed into me. And although I continued to try to comb Rexy’s unruly curls into submission and make Roanin leave his bow tie alone…I mentally was fighting against it. And for once in my entire life…I mean, honestly, the first freaking time…I felt justified. Inside, I believed myself.
This is big because although the past has hosted me noticing and complaining about this family dynamic, I have never truly let myself believe it. Not even when it got as bad as it did. I never let myself believe that I didn’t somehow deserve this spot. I never stop believing that this was my place. I always did the dance because I believed that I should. I wanted them to think I was a good dancer.
But last night, in this dream, it was like I was watching myself do the dance and I was sickened. What the hell was I doing? Why the hell was I acting like that? Why on earth would I compromise myself and the lives of my children and the state of my marriage to this garbage?
My counselor has suggested I have abandonment issues, specifically with my dad. Because I am afraid to disappoint people, and lose them, I do what I think they want because I don’t feel like I deserve anything else. I don’t deserve a voice.
I watched myself all night respond to the exact same dynamic that has played out for the majority of my life. For some reason, in the dream, my lower back became injured and completely wrenched up and I remember sneaking around the hotel room searching for some sort of muscle relaxer to relieve the pain. But every time someone in the room suggested something to me, I relented in my search and but their request first, despite being completely hunched over and almost unable to walk toward the end of the dream. I remember feeling not only disgusted with myself and my behavior, but so frustrated.
When I woke up, breathless, I immediately felt completely sick. I felt like I had just watched a movie about myself, and that I was somehow both watching but also living the role on the screen. It was the weirdest feeling because there was such a contrast between the two Sarahs. And within just a few minutes of laying there and getting my bearings, I figured out just who the two Sarahs were. The old Sarah and the new Sarah.
We just wrapped up a two week staycation which extended over the entire holiday season. Simply put, it was absolute heaven. It was just Shawn and I and the boys, and we had absolutely no agenda. We spent all of our time being together, sharing and listening, and just loving each other. We only left the house to accomplish fun adventures and reveled in our peaceful time at home surrounded by just each other.
Shawn commented after going back to work that it was the best vacation that he had ever had. I agreed, wholeheartedly. He explained that he couldn’t believe that he and I had not had one disagreement and that I was able to just really relax and sink into the whole “having nothing to do” mentality we were subscribing to. I was go with the flow. I was happy. And he was right…I didn’t even have to try, it just came naturally. All my guards were down, my expectations were in check and I was able to fully live in the company of my family.
I think I have been here for a while. The staycation just highlighted what has been going on for some time. I don’t actually need the absence of a to-do list or blissful peace at home to be new Sarah. I am still her on the days that suck. I have actually turned into her without ever feeling a triumphant cross of the finish line. And I am not finished, of course. But somehow and at sometime, I have crossed over. From old to new.
And it was the visual of watching old Sarah from new Sarah’s eyes that made me realize it. The feeling of complete disgust and shock I physically felt watching shook me. It drained me. When I woke, I had the same physical and emotional exhaustion that became normal for me when I was actually living that. It is amazing how I had kind of forgotten how it felt…but there it was-clear as a bell. My jaw was almost completely locked up from tension. My stomach was in knots. And when I swung my legs to the side of the bed to stand up, I realized that my lower back was so tight I had to lay back down and stretch it out just to be able to stand up straight.
I am so thankful to be on this side. The physical reminder of my former self is so reassuring. It demonstrates that not only do I deserve happiness and love, but I am capable of living it and not capable of looking back.
I finally am out of the trees and never want to see that forest again.