Nighttime Visitors

Two nights ago I awoke from one of the worst dreams I’ve had in a while. Actually, it may have been the worst dream I’ve ever had, as I woke to a pillow soaked full of tears and the inability to concentrate for the rest of the day. (It’s still lingering burning in my mind today.)


I dreamt that I had been transported back in time to the day when my parents gave me away. I was fully grown, yet possessed the mindset and skills of an infant. All at once, they were judging who I was and who I’ve become, deciding if I was worth altering the course of time.

They chose to not change anything.

Instead, due to my pathetic begging and groveling, they sent me away with “firsts” to hold onto, in place of them– the first outfit and pair of shoes I wore, the first blanket from a grandma, the first family pictures, and so on. Gradually, they moved from “first” material possessions to “first memories”– the first time they saw me, the first time time they told me they loved me, the first time they held me…

The whole time I was being forced to stand and accept all of the “firsts” into a tiny, transparent box. While part of me greedily wanted to hold onto all of the firsts they would give me, another part wanted to throw the box back at them, yelling “you don’t get it! This isn’t want I need!”

However, having only the mentality of an infant, I was unable to act on my own free will, unable to try to convince my parents that I was worth it.

Once again, I had no control, no say, over this part of my life.


Waking up from the dream was a struggle. Even though it was unbearable, I wanted to stay in it as long as possible, stay closer to the feeling of my parents.

“Adopt me!”

This morning I came across an article about childhood actress, Mara Wilson, which briefly described why her acting career was short-lived. The content of the article is actually really irrelevant to this post, because it’s the picture that immediately caught my attention, reminding me about one of my favorite childhood movies: Matilda.

The movie is about a little girl, Matilda, who’s parents are less than perfect– the father is a manipulative used car salesman and the mother would rather focus on her own vanity. Matilda on the other hand quickly finds a rich love for books and the stories and knowledge they contain. Unfortunately, her parents don’t understand her passion for learning and would rather her stay at home and mindlessly sign for packages. One day, at the age of 6 or 7, she convinces her parents that she must go to school.

She’s able to go to school, however the school is more like a prison and place of torture than a school. Fortunately, amidst the dark practices and punishments of the school’s principal, Matilda is able to find encouragement, inspiration and comfort in her teacher, Miss Honey.

Her teacher recognizes her potential and delightfully shares her praises with Matilda’s parents, who could really care less. Realizing that Matilda’s parents are preoccupied with other things, namely themselves, Miss Honey and Matilda begin to form a special relationship that continues to grow throughout the entire movie.

Toward the end, the two are sharing tea when Matilda’s family arrives and demand that she leave immediately. They claim that the FBI are onto her dad’s business practice (selling cheap, broken cars as great offers), so they need to get out of the country.

It is at this point that the following conversation ensues:

Matilda: I love it here! I love my school… it isn’t fair! Miss Honey, please don’t let them…
Harry Wormwood: [interrupting] Get in the car, Melinda!
Matilda: Matilda!
Harry Wormwood: Whatever.
Matilda: I want to stay with Miss Honey.
Zinnia Wormwood: Miss Honey doesn’t want you. Why would she want some snotty, disobedient kid?
Jenny: Because she’s a spectacularly wonderful child and I love her.
Matilda: Adopt me, Miss Honey! You can adopt me.
Harry Wormwood: Look, I don’t have time for all these legalities!
Matilda: One second, Dad. I have the adoption papers.
Zinnia Wormwood: What? Where did you get those?
Matilda: From a book in the library. I’ve had them since I was big enough to Xerox.
(some dialogue is occurring here)
Zinnia Wormwood: You’re the only daughter I ever had, Matilda. And I never understood you, not one little bit… Who’s got a pen?

When I was younger, I would watch this movie over and over again (and I still get happy every time I hear this song). I would act out the movie and dance around my room by myself, daydreaming about the day when I would find my Miss Honey…the day when someone who understood me would adopt me and make me theirs.

A few weeks ago I had a conversation where at one point another individual threw up his hands and said “that’s it! We’ll adopt you!” Unfortunately, this didn’t offer the kind of solace I had once imagined because now things are too complicated and too complex. I’ve internalized you alone are the only person you can depend on for far too long, and this legal action wouldn’t be able to change that or any of the other messages which I’ve internalized.

Although I’d love to believe that you can choose your family, the reality is that you can only do this to a certain extent because at the end of the day you’ll once again realize that you’re alone– that this family really isn’t yours, you don’t belong– and that you’re lacking in some essential way.

If only there were a simple solution for all of this.

Dementors and Mirrors

Winfrey: Would it also be fair to say that your life – everything in your life, because I know you went through a period of depression and I had read that the Dementors came from that depression

Rowling: Completely, yeah.

Winfrey: In Harry Potter’s world, the Dementors are dark creatures who feed-off human happiness causing depression and despair to those in their path. Dementors are capable of consuming a person’s soul.

Winfrey: Would it be fair to say that you’ve used, in the seventeen year process, writing the Potter series, that you’ve used the good, the bad and the ugly of your life?

Rowling: Yeah. Definitely. Definitely.

Winfrey: And expressed it through your writing through the Potter stories?

Rowling: Yeah. For sure. Depression is – Clinical depression is a – is a – is a terrible place to be. Terrible place to be.

Winfrey: So you became depressed after your mother died?

Rowling: Yes, but I think it was a kind of delayed – I think I had tendencies toward depression from quite young. It became really acute when I was sort of twenty-five to twenty-eight was a dark time. It’s that absence of feeling – and it’s even the absence of hope that you can feel better. And it’s so difficult to describe to someone who’s never been there because it’s not sadness. Sadness is – I know sadness – sadness is not a bad thing. You know? To cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed-out feeling. That’s what the Dementors are. And it was because of my daughter that I went and got help.

[…]

Winfrey: What is your dream of happiness?

Rowling: Well, in the – in the first Harry Potter book, Dumbledore says to Harry that the happiest man alive would look in the mirror and see himself exactly as he is.

—————————————————————————————————————–

The Mirror of Erised is a mirror, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, shows the “deepest and most desperate desire of one’s heart.” The happiest person in the world would look in the mirror and see a reflection of exactly the way he or she is. Inscribed across the top of the frame is the following text: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. Reversing the inscription and rearranging the spaces produces: I show not your face but your heart’s desire. (excerpt from the Harry Potter wiki)

When I stumbled upon this interview today, I thought that’s it! That’s what happiness would look like.

If the Mirror of Erised were real, my reflection would be very similar to Harry’s.

Dreaming in Black

Yesterday was one of the rare days where I felt right. Looking back, it was partly because I managed to stay busy the entire day– busy helping with a race and busy helping paint. During the brief two hours where I had time to myself, I took a nice walk, read, and then found myself too exhausted to think, so I took a quick nap on a park table.

It was a legitimate good day– a day where I didn’t feel like it was a burden to be around people and didn’t keeping thinking ‘“I can’t wait for this day to be over.”  I thought this day was a sign that things were getting better…that I was going to be able to make it after all.

Then I went to sleep and woke up crying, multiple times, due to the intense nightmares/dreams that I had.

There was one where I pleaded with my former director to let me back in, telling him that “I’ve got my stuff together now” and assuring him that “I won’t fail again. He didn’t let me back in, but instead reiterated that “if you really wanted to be here, you would be.” Then he detailed everything I did wrong, and I knew he was right.

There was one where my adoptive parents found out that I’m searching for my birth parents, and that my birth mother has rejected me again. It killed my adoptive dad, literally he had a heart attack due to the pain, and gave my adoptive mother joy because she could finally say “I told you so. And because of this, we don’t want you either. Now you have no one.” And again, like with my former director, I knew she was right. 

There was one where I was about to meet my birth mother in an unmarked KCIA van. When I saw her, I stepped out of the van. She took one look at me and started running the other way. I ran after her yelling “wait, don’t leave me, please don’t leave me” over and over again. She finally stopped, turned around, and coldly said “stop chasing me. Haven’t I made it clear that I don’t care about you?! You mean nothing to me. You’re dead to me.” Again, I knew she was right. I became immobilized and watched her walk away, except it was as if she was walking in place right in front of me, close enough to touch, yet slowly disappearing with each step. And with each step, the voice inside of me kept pleading “please don’t do this, please don’t do this.” It was similar to the scene in Big Daddy, where the little boy is being taken away by a social worker, wondering what he did wrong, and making his final plea of “I can wipe my own butt!”

The last dream was one where I was being taken away in the middle of the night, so as not to disturb anyone. I was told that people had requested I leave and that they thought it would be for the best. I didn’t get to say ask what I did wrong, or say goodbye. As we were making our way down the street, I looked out the back window and saw the house illuminated, with balloons falling around the house like rain. Realizing the happiness that my removal released, I knew it really was for the best and that there was no reason to fight it.

Representing a mixture of reality and my worst fears, these dreams will forever haunt me.