For this Lent season, I’ve been addressing issues from my college years that I need to confront once and for all. One of those issues is the bitterness I held against every single individual who went out of their way to wrong me, even in the pettiest of ways. That bitterness led to multiple grudges forming in my heart, and in turn, I became paranoid in an unwise bid to prevent others from hurting me in the future. Of course, that paranoia did nothing for me.
In a dream I had the other day involving two unnerving characters, I believe I may’ve come face-to-face with the embodiment of my past malice and its child, severe paranoia.
An Uncle Named Malice?
In this dream, I was home either for a weekend, or for spring break. I had just found out that I had absolutely bombed a geometry exam, and was headed upstairs to reluctantly let my Mom know. We were interrupted by the arrival of other people, including a fictional uncle of mine and his young son, an incredibly wary boy.
This non-existent uncle of mine had refused to tell me, and only me, about an upcoming family reunion, when he was supposed to tell every single member of our family. For whatever reasons there were, my mom had him and his son come into my bedroom with the other visitors so that we could confront him.
But nothing came of our confrontation with him. With the bedroom door still open, he stormed out into the hall, and angrily slandered me, in front of me, with nobody around him objecting to what he said. At this point, Mom must’ve given up on him and walked away.
Suddenly, my “uncle” looked behind me, and his face turned pale with horror at whatever he saw. He, his son and the others disappeared, leaving me alone to sleep. When I clambered into my bed and looked out my bedroom window, I saw a bizarre new addition the to neighborhood.
An abandoned amusement park with an old Ferris wheel standing in my window’s direct line of sight had materialized, replacing the houses behind ours. My “uncle” and his son had somehow managed to climb onto it, and were now seated on one of the carriages, looking right at me with unblinking, blank expressions. Everything about the scene felt like a haunting of sort.
The wheel began to move by itself, slowly revolving, and the three of us randomly began a game of “patty cake” through the air. This went on for a while, until I had a sudden horrific notion that something terrible was about to happen to them on the Ferris wheel. I threw myself down on the bed, waited a few seconds, and looked back out the window.
They were gone, and the Ferris wheel was still again. There was no sign of bloodshed or violent death, but I knew that something had happened to them.
I got the epiphany I needed over what those two represented from my Mom’s fiancee, who suggested that the man represented my own malice, not somebody else’s. At first, I figured that he represented the vast majority of the petty homophobes I dealt with while at college, who loved to make me the subject of their malicious gossip. But in truth, he was the manifestation of my own anger at everything I went through.
And his son, the wary boy, represented the paranoia birthed from that anger.
Understanding what they represented helps me also understand what happened during the Ferris wheel scene. I was, in fact, being haunted by echoes of my anger and paranoia, which I had toyed with for a while. But I’ve made two mantras, not just for Lent, but for 2018:
- I won’t be haunted by my past any longer.
- I’m not playing this game anymore.
When I had the impending sense that those two were about to be slain on the Ferris wheel, it must’ve represented me finally saying goodbye to my own emotional mistakes from my college years. And that Ferris wheel no longer moving must be a symbol that I’m no longer merely spinning those memories around my mind anymore; I’ve let go, at last.