Whenever I’m about to write something intense, I always pause and question if I should post it, or keep it to myself. I consider light and dark to be co existent, one cannot be without the other. I once read somewhere (the origin escapes me at the moment) that a habit we can fall into when writing is to unknowingly lean towards one end of the spectrum…either totally morbid or way too peppy. This happens to be a little on the twisty side and for that I apologize to those who normally see me as bubbly and sunflower-everything-is-sparkly- Cara… turns out I can also be wears all black-listens-to-rock music-alone-in-the-dark Cara.From the beginning, the purpose of this place was and continues to be to be real with my writing, with myself, those who choose to visit my writing from time to time.
No matter the level of embarrassment or however awkward I might feel about a post, to keep the authenticity of this blog going, I will commit to not being embarrassed of my “deep” side, as there is a greater message and meaning behind all of it.
For this piece in particular, I want to express the severity of how much I was putting others before me, giving so much of me away that I soon found myself with hardly any part of what made me, well- Me—left. Beyond that, I want others, especially girls, to realize how self-deprecating it can be to put others before you, and just how much I had no idea it was truly hurting my growth as a person.
I had a dream last night that I was stabbed and did nothing about it.
Let me explain–
I’ve been having difficulty sleeping, the past month. I usually hit the hay around 9:30 or so and fall asleep an hour afterwards, but lately, I’ve found myself waking up at the quietest hours of the night, wave after wave of anxiety crashing down on me, then falling back asleep and having these really, really vivid dreams.
In the 11th grade, I took my first Psychology course. Amidst dozens of word cross vocab puzzles and countless viewings of episodes of Intervention that proved to be useless to me when I entered AP psychology the following year, we were asked to keep a dream journal. I was excited, of course, because I was always fascinated by the human mind, the creative unconscious and subconscious, how humans have advanced in figuring each other out for decades. I do think it’s possible for humans to lucid dream (when you’re dreaming and suddenly go, “Hey, I’m dreaming! I can do whatever I want! And then start to fly into the stars, or make out with your celebrity crush, or whatever.) and while I hadn’t dreamt or thought about my dreams until that year in high school, the next month I was obsessed with dreams.
We came to learn that if you dreamt of water, it meant you were running away from your problems. If your limbs were falling apart, someone in your life was sick or dying or you were afraid of being sick or dying. Then there was the weird stuff… like, how does our mind make up these weird as scenarios and these people we’ve never met at places we’ve never been to, or even crazier, places that we were maybe one time when we were twelve? Don’t believe me- look it up. People have made millions of Dream-decoding books and what your mind and body is trying to say to you. It’s pretty cool, if you really think about it.
In my case, my brain was probably sick of all the mental wear and tear I had been putting it through. Diagnosis? Here I go, with all the feels.
I had a broken heart.
Can you die from a broken heart? Obviously, no, not in the physical sense, but from the months of July-August, maybe even a little before that, I had been bending myself over backwards, draining myself for someone who did not have the emotional capacity to feel to the full extent what I did for him. I wasn’t making myself a priority. I certainly was not practicing what I was preaching to my younger sisters—“You are the prize, don’t make yourself small for a guy, ever.” But, I was. I shrank so much that there wasn’t much left of me other than a shriveled up person who was so sad about dreadful case of unrequited love that she made everyone around her upset and concerned.
“I am fine. Thank you for asking.” This was my self-diagnosis to my heart. I felt like It was shameful to have feelings or openly talk about them.
And while i’m being all sentimental here, I have to say something else a little close to home for me. See, I believe that the battle between heart and head is never ending. My head thinks it has everything and everyone figured out and I am certain there will never come a day where I am truly conflicted. Which do I choose? The logical, wise, no-nonsense mind who knows what is best, or my heart- my naïve, inexperienced, hopeful heart? I have yet to find the answer to that conquest.
[At this point, some of you might be saying to yourselves something similar to, “Yeah got it, love or whatever. WHAT ABOUT YOU GETTING STABBED?” And I’m getting there, I swear.]
That’s the problem- I was not fine. I was, as a matter of fact, the opposite of fine.
For some reason, we all have this shamefulness about us when it comes to matters of the heart. Like we shouldn’t have to have ourselves a good cry, deal with pain, or even admit that we need help to other people. I believe that this is what my body was trying to tell me through my very intense, very real dream last night—that I needed to wake up and smell the roses, to finally stop giving so much of myself away to others that it takes away from who I am.
In short, last night was one of those nights where I was up for no reason at all. I hazily looked out my bedroom window and felt a sense of calm because I could still hear crickets chirping and notice through drooping eyelids that it was 3:38 in the morning, and I had an hour and a half before I needed to get up for work. I felt the cool breeze on my face and admired the view of the stars from my window before moving the curtains over to fall back asleep.
This is where the scary intense vivid dream starts.
I am in a mansion/treehouse thing. There are spilt red cups all around me, and loud inaudible music is playing too loudly. I move from room to room, cheers-ing every faceless person I come across. For some reason there are pools in every room and I’m wearing a red bikini. (I don’t know, my brain is weird, man.) and suddenly, there he is.
This person that had once been a very dear friend to me, someone I eventually learned to love over the course of the year, had helped him through rough times as he had for me. Come to think of it, I can’t recall a time where I had told this person “No.” I was a “Yes” girl and this slowly led up to my big flaw- sacrificing my happiness for the happiness of another person. Thus, my broken heart that I repeatedly tried to repress, and failed.
Anyway, this person was laying on the ground. His friends around circling around him as he woke up again, removed a switchblade under his shorts, and stabbed himself directly in the quadriceps. At first, we did nothing, tried to remove the weapon from his grasp with no avail. “Just let me go.” He insisted.
Uncontrollably, I leapt towards the knife and yanked it from his leg, then took his shirt off to wrap it around his self-inflicted wound and tied it tightly to prevent further bleeding. It was terrifying because it actually felt real. I could smell the blood that was now covering my hands in this dream, I could hear the voices of other people shouting “someone call an ambulance!” in the background. I didn’t let it go of him. Nothing could make me let go. I sobbed, tried to put him on my back tried to get him to safety and to make him remain conscious.
It was then that another faceless, anonymous dream person said to me, “You’re cut, Cara!” and there it was, in pulling the weapon from out of his leg, I too had cut myself in this dream and was bleeding open. The next thing I remember is carrying this man out of the tree house party, down a windy road and up to an emergency room where I begged for someone to help him. I did nothing about my wound, all the while desperately trying to stop his from bleeding out.
By this time in my dream, it was 9:30 in the morning and his friends had left to go find his parents and get more help. All of a sudden, my friend was cured. He was up and walking around, and my Mom had showed up to the ER that had dream-morphed itself into a police station. I was trying to explain to my mother the situation when my real-life alarm clock went off. I do not know if this was some starry-eyed, fictional attempt while I was sleeping to be noble, but regardless of what it was, it really shook me.
Would I have done something as courageous and fairy-tale heroic if this was something that actually happened in real life? I guess the best answer to that that I can come up with is a solid “Honestly? Maybe.” I always thought the whole teenage idea of “I would DIE for you, babe!” thing was beyond cheesy and pretty unrealistic. But if you’ve known love and felt love, the reality of it is clear: You do crazy things for the people you love.
I have written about dreams on my blog before, but nothing as intense as this. It felt so real. And honestly, kinda creepy…I could touch others in that dream, and I could communicate with them and feel the blade that had only existed in my dream. More than that, I think whoever is reading this right now can agree with me when I say that that particular dream was pretty… well… dark.
Where did my brain come up with that one? I like to hope that I’m not that dark and twisty in real life and this was one of those “what a crazy dream. Oh well.” moments but I cannot shake the feeling that perhaps, just perhaps, my mind was trying to tell me just how much I was giving myself away to people, and not taking care of my physical and emotional needs. In that dream I didn’t care about my pain, just trying to fix everything for that person. And, okay, maybe I am reading way too deeply into this dream.
But I felt compelled to tell this really personal dream-story in case someone else needs to hear these words this afternoon: Every time you say “Yes” to something that doesn’t add to your life, every time you answer that phone call from a person who doesn’t make you a better person or would do something similar for you in return, you are saying “No” to you. I had been doing exactly that all summer—running like hell to not feel what I was feeling in the dustiest, mixed up corners of my mind.
And here is where I close.
Now you peeps who have stuck with me thus far know some pretty real stuff about me, like the fact that I too, am human and have had a broken heart, sometimes have very realistic, off the wall dreams. If that has made someone else today feel less alone and more human, well, then I am holding true to my original purpose of starting to write. Why is it so hard to admit to ourselves to let go? We forget so often how much our free will dictates our mood, behavior, state of well-being.
So what I’m saying is…Start saying yes to YOU at least once a day, whether its taking your dog for a walk instead of going to the bar that night, or going to the gym instead of meeting up with that one person you know you should not be meeting up with. Try not to isolate and repress what you’re really feeling. As I’m starting to discover is one sure fire way to end up hurting yourself. As far as I can tell, you cannot die from a broken heart, but you sure can make a conscious, awake choice to mend it by putting yourself first.
Because you are the prize.
Love and light.