Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.

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My dreams are not pretty. Once I finally fall asleep, I’m assured to wake within a few hours with a dream. Sleeping is a portal to my night job: I’m racking up uncomfortable and precarious experiences while my body restores itself, (I hope.) Laboring and working out issues such as those in my dreams would be impossible to accomplish in one incarnation.

Extremely vivid dreams of our house and surrounding environs are most commonly on my night docket. The night before last, I dreamed my husband Will and I were in the kitchen tasting cold Indian food that we planned to heat up and consume the next night. Will started washing up the saucepan in the dark and I flicked the light on for him. It was 8:15 p.m.  I went upstairs to get ready to turn in early. Every light in every bedroom was ON. I tromped from room to room turning lights off and wondering, annoyed, if Will realized he had left all these lights on. As I left the back bedroom and entered the hallway, I bumped right into Will’s back. He was just standing there in the hallway, staring forward, facing the same direction that I was pointed. I knew it couldn’t be him because he was washing dishes downstairs. I got frightened and tried to scream. I awoke with a pounding heart, making a horrible croaking sound and our cat, Chitra, was looking at me with concern.

So completely chilled by that dream that, other than retelling it, I haven’t attempted to figure it out. Not sure I want to know. (Which, of course, means another display of whatever it means is in coming attractions…)

Themes of traveling, packing suitcases, searching for my hotel room and being in strange cities are also among my most frequent dream topics. Funny, that, because I’m anchored pretty strongly to home at present and don’t travel frequently. And when I do travel, I am savvy about my surroundings and in command of my suitcase and belongings —I most definitely do not wander about in a fog like I do in my dreams.

In a cupboard, there are several journals filled with over 25 years of my sleeping dreams, day dreams, nightmares and sketches. When I flip through these books and read a dream at random, it zaps me back in time to when that dream occurred and the aura surrounding it. A dream that has stuck with me for my entire life is a fever dream/nightmare from when I was a small child with pneumonia: In the dream, I knew I had to die but wanted to wait for my mother to return home. Someone pushed back a stone sarcophagus lid to a cobwebbed and crumbling tomb and I cowered and shivered to realize I had to GO into that place.

It’s getting late. Time to get ready for … work.


Past lives

Andrea is on the left, I'm on the right. We are flying.

Every time I attend a dance concert, I’m energized. Validated. Inspired. And a little wistful. It hasn’t always been this way. After I stopped dancing in the early 90s, (for both simple and complicated reasons,) there were a few years that I just couldn’t go. Could not envision my identity as a member of the audience. Could not conjure my place in the local modern dance community if that place wasn’t as a performer.

I needed to integrate my deeply etched dancer-identity and be on to the next new thing. But for several years, I closed myself off and compartmentalized. My resistance finally melted and I discovered I could, indeed, claim my spot in the audience. Now, I find myself at modern dance performances maybe twice a year.

This evening was one of those lucky times. I found myself in a seat at Merrill Auditorium to see the very talented Doug Varone and Dancers. When the curtain came up, the air that wafted into the auditorium smelled unmistakably like the stage, of course — but, ahhhh, what a strong theater sensory memory. Then, the blur of arms, leaping legs, color, sound, lights, the precise partnering and the solos were breathtaking. I found myself breathing in time with the dancers. Involuntary muscle movements jerked my arms, legs and head like a puppet. I tried to disguised those movements with a casual crossing of the legs or smoothing my hair back. My body wanted to move!

I still dream about dancing. The dreams are so detailed, movements could be jotted down upon awakening and recreated in the waking world. In my dreams, I am always a much, much better dancer than I ever was in waking life.

I want to have one of those dreams tonight.