Last night, I had a dream…
D and I were at my house and we were trying to have sex but we couldn’t because we were nervous about moving in together. Instead, we were just hanging out and watching TV on the sofa. Then D walks over to my office and sees that all along the walls I have old photos of every one of my ex boyfriends. Hundreds of them (this, of course, is not true; and yet, I do have over 100 journals in a bookcase, each one filled with next to nothing but stories of romance or some guy I was dating or interested in). Anyway, he tells me flat out, in an angry tone (something he doesn’t actually possess), “If we’re going to be living together, you need to remove all these photos from your walls.”
When he says this, I go into a panic. What do you mean? I say. It’s not like I’m in love with any of these guys anymore. They’re just pictures on my wall! It’s just art now. They don’t mean anything to me. And yet, in the dream, I feel as though a part of me is dying. A part of me is tragically being swept away. I feel like I am the sum of all my old boyfriends because they are what I built my whole life on.
I start crying in the dream as D takes one of the photos and rips it off the wall. “This one needs to be the first to go,” he says. And I continue to cry. I feel like I am being forced to change. That my essence is being ripped from me.
And then I woke up.
But I woke up wondering if in fact I do hold on to old memories, and if it isn’t time to let them go. The virtue of this site necessitates that I do hold on to those memories, so that I can remind others that I was right where they are at one time. But it also keeps me anchored to a past that I’d rather not remember. But aren’t those who don’t know their history doomed to repeat it?
The flip side of this is that I kind of agree with the dream in the sense that I did construct my entire life on boys and men, and to deny their existence is to wipe out thirty-some years of who I was. This is frightening.
More frightening still is being honest with D in confessing who I was and hoping that he accepts it anyway. And this brings me to why I had the dream in the first place. Yesterday, we had a big long conversation over the phone about who we were back in high school, who we dated, who we took to the prom etc. We’ve had this convo before, but this one seemed to have a little more juice. D was popular and girls were asking him to their proms and Junior proms, he was good looking, athletic and got good grades. He had his steady little cute, cheerleader girlfriend and then he went on to college and law school and got married. I, on the other hand, was a “bad girl.” I had a reputation. i got rotten grades. I hung around degenerates at the local bowling alley, smoking cigarettes and despite the fact that I was cute, I didn’t believe it one bit due to massively low self-esteem. I never went to my Junior prom and for my Senior prom, I went with a guy friend who ended up getting angry with me the day before the prom because I put too much pressure on him to be my “date” as opposed to just accepting him as my “friend.” In college, I couldn’t be pinned down. I dated all over the place and traveled the world and dropped out of school. Eventually when I did get married, it was a premature decision based on simply wanting to be taken care of.
WHen I told D this history, I laughed about it, of course. Always one to tell funny self-depreciating stories! And he laughed too. But inside, I was a little embarrassed and had my regrets. And I guess I hoped that after hearing all that, D could love me anyway.