My world has always been colored by a love of animals, and my subconscious often sends me messages in dreams about my innermost turmoil through animal imagery.
Last night I dreamt that I looked out my kitchen window—as I do every morning—and saw a large group of bear corralling and attacking a smaller group of deer in my driveway. The dream felt so real and my fear for the deer so vivid that I woke myself before what I perceived would be certain slaughter occurred.
I shuddered, and immediately lamented that the dream used the real-life location of my driveway as opposed to a make-believe venue, because now I will get to experience that terror over and over each day until I’m lucky enough to bury it in the recesses of my mind.
That dream was followed up by a different dream, where my husband Joe and I went into a Christian church and were about to sit in a pew with some friends, but a drunk woman began vomiting into the seats. We went upstairs to get away from it, only to find a group of women and a little boy lounging on comfortable couches placed about the plushly-decorated room.
There was nowhere for me to sit other than beside the boy, who appeared to be about 4 years old. He immediately told me that I could sit there if I wasn’t a nigger, and I was shocked and horrified. I realized that even at such a young age, this child was being indoctrinated into the world of white supremacy and prejudice against his fellow countrymen.
I felt at a loss to help him, as I realized that no matter what I said in that moment, he would go home to a father who would continue his indoctrination.
I gently explained to him that inside the color of someone’s skin, they are just people like us, and they have all the same feelings and get hurt the same as we do when people are mean to them. He nodded his head somberly like he understood, and I saw for an instant his face change and a softness overcome him.
I knew he was young enough to see the truth, able to understand that all humans should be treated the same, but I also knew he would quickly forget our lesson and continue the ugly teachings when he went home.
I awoke with a heavy sadness weighing on my chest.
These two dreams are just a sample of my nightly mental walks of late, and illustrate the depth of horror I’m feeling about the state America today, and my own personal feeling of helplessness to stop it.
This is neither the country I love nor the country I want.
I’ve always had a fear of bears, even though theoretically I love and am fascinated by them. As a child I often dreamed a bear broke down the door of my home and was trying to kill me, a dream I would later realize was based on fears of my father’s abuse.
It’s therefore no coincidence that my subconscious would choose bears again to signify the aggressors in the dream, causing panic in the gentle creatures and a fear for their lives.
From the day Trump took the presidency, I warned others that his narcissism would destroy us all. I grew up in a family with a narcissistic father, and later married one too. I know and now understand the depths they go to in order to malign those who are not in favor.
However, what has happened since Trump took control has been even worse than I expected. Today we live with children in cages, women diminished, minorities belittled, and those who speak truth to power misrepresented as “fake news”. Our journalists are slain, our friends are maligned, and dictators are worshipped.
Democracy is dying before our very eyes at the teeth of Trump and his cronies, and I feel again the crushing hopelessness of childhood. My dreams are haunted, my waking moments obsessed.
This is the grip of the malignant narcissist as he attempts to break a country. Will we survive it? I honestly don’t know.
But I do know one thing: I will use what little power I have to vote this November, and pray that Virginia’s voting system isn’t broken into or controlled by the Russians or others with nefarious goals. Even though I hold only a tiny piece of power compared to those in control of our country, I know if we all combine our small chunks of influence we can overthrow the heart-wrenching society we are becoming.
If you want equal rights for all humans, and better rights for the animals we so often abuse on this planet, visit the voting booth and fight back in the only way we can.
From where I’m sitting, it appears to be our only hope.