I had a dream last night.
I was being put in prison. It was (only) going to be for three months but the vision is raw and red and vivid in my mind.
I was not to be allowed to text or call or be in touch with my loved ones. I was not to be allowed to keep my phone with me. Nor was I to be given access to any books, papers or pencils/pens. My bodily functions and food and water intake was to be monitored. My head was to be shaved. And it just kept getting worst from there until I woke up, sweating and filled with dread.
And oh, it was because of Frankfurt.
For a large part of the day I walked around with this vivid dream locked up inside me. I asked myself: I have known people who have been raped and seriously assaulted. I have been through nothing like that in comparison. Why then, do I see such dreams? Why does my mind conjure darkness out of nothingness?
But I also know, despite what people say: comparison is not the answer. I cannot walk about every day feeling guilty about my pains just because there are others who are so much worst off than I am. I cannot walk about every day carrying the sorrow of every little thing I did as I experienced what it means to be human. I cannot let the voices of those who shun me, haunt me.
I come to terms with that and I allow myself to breathe. This exercise in journaling blankly at the world may be getting more and more complicated as I grow older and become entangled with people who carry their own weights and expectations about themselves and me and the relationship they wish to have with me, but that shouldn’t stop me from expressing my own pains in the ways that I want. Even when they are tainted with the guilt of feeling too much.
And so my mind drifted back to Frankfurt…I wonder if I am still carrying unresolved conflicts from that detainment in my belly. And if so, what kind of self-reflexivity may be needed to transform them into something healthy and productive, with the recognition that fears and anxieties may not completely go away but it is okay as long as we acknowledge them and trust ourselves enough to let them be within us.
But something else lifted itself to my consciousness as the vividness of the dream faded into the background. I lived this dream so poignantly that I could imagine what it might feel like to lose my freedom in that way. What happened in Frankfurt came close to it, in one sense, and this dream I think was just an expression of how closely I could feel the hurt and humiliation of those who are constrained by a system that is much bigger and more complex than them, wielded by people in situations that they have no control over, during the few hours that I myself was detained in Frankfurt. I felt it then and I felt it now. I feel it quite frequently and I want to confront it with my research and my writing, and more ambitiously, with my being.
I do not want to apologize for feeling it. I want to feel more of it, in fact. If it allows me to learn and to bring forward experiences that others might not be able to express, as a result of my privileged position, then I shall believe my life to have been worthwhile.
But I am human. I am inconsistent. Like every other human around me, I am full of imperfections. I have given myself the license to live with them but when it comes to this, it is hard. I want to embody in my real life the idealism I carry in my head. Knowing that it is impossible, knowing that I will inevitably make mistakes is sometimes a difficult pill to swallow. I know I hurt people as much as I am hurt by them. I know that I stumble often and hardly ever know how to offer a helping hand in return to the ones who support me when I am about to fall. I am learning…
When I was out for brunch in December with a friend and she told me she wants to confront her own demons before she can go out there and fix the world (with the caveat that of course both of us know that we cannot really ‘fix the world’ literally), I knew that I have to do the same. If my dreams, my writing, this blog, my confessions and the deep, deep conversations I get to have with people who stimulate my heart and mind allow me to confront my demons, then it is all worth it and the mean voices and nightmares that occasionally block it all out will eventually fade away or recede enough to not matter while I figure the rest out.