Last night I woke up from a dream about my artist friend, Adam. He is one of what Kate calls my “lost boys”.
We haven’t seen each other in 15 years but last night I dreamt that I broke into his apartment and washed his dishes. It was late at night and he wasn’t home. He had something on his counter that I took to be a mini dish washer but that I now think was an autoclave — he is a tattoo artist, as my conscious mind knows. But I don’t know what his current apartment looks like so I don’t know if I actually visited it on the astral plane.
In my dream, as I was about to leave his apartment, he arrived home from the bar with a girl. In my dream he had a moustache. The girl had long dyed-black hair and a gothic look. I was nervous because I was an intruder and I didn’t know how they would react. But he was just really happy to see me, recognized me right away and thanked me for doing the dishes. She was thankful as well and reached out to touch my face. She looked right into my eyes — hers were this bright, pale blue — and said, “You’re so pretty!” over and over. It was nice. Then I woke up.
Sleepily, I thought, “I will send some love to Adam”. First I’ll explain why, then I’ll tell you what actually happened.
I know Adam from my punk rock days in high school. He was one of my scarier-looking friends; neck tattoos, shaved head, boots. But I just never saw him that way, as scary. I saw the way he was with his Polish mother, who was a single mom. We’d go to his house and eat her home made cheesecake. When we went off to college she sent him some of her homemade pickles, and he was really stoked to get them. I got to know him when he dated a couple of my friends. One day we were all hanging out and he said, “You’re going to think this sounds crazy, but my cat talks to me”. My psychic friend didn’t bat an eye: “Of course she talks to you!”
I really got to know him in my Grade 12 drama class. We were probably the most “dramatic” of that drama class: He would show up with his shaved head in a smoking jacket and a dress shirt with these layers of lace spilling out of the cuffs of his jacket, carrying a walking stick and basically looking like a Mellon-Collie-and-the-Infinite-Sadness-era Billie Corgan. I showed up in patterned fishnets and a short black dress with a satin collar made of a velvet so thick that it prompted a kid in my English Media class (who I’d privately nicknamed “Butthead” because he totally looked/acted like the cartoon character) to ask,
“Hey, are you hot in that?”
Me: *blank stare*
“Are you hot?”
*shrug* “I feel ok”.
“…Because I’ll sweat for you”.
Adam and I partnered up to write and perform a play about vampires. We ended up going to the same college for art, and remained friends until he moved away and we eventually lost touch.
And so it is with my “lost boys”, it really would take a lot to convince me that they’re not good guys, deep down. No matter how scary or obnoxious they occasionally appear to be to other people. Because I see this other side of them.
Adam and I are friends on FB but I had the thought recently that maybe I should un-friend him because we’ve gone in such different directions. The particular brand of punk rock ideology we espoused in the 90s — corporations are bad, you can’t trust the government, etc. seems further from me all the time, but more intrenched in him, and darker. Rather than mellowing out, he’s actually become more intense. He updates with photos of himself at gun clubs, looking like a character from an old war movie: scowling dirty face, squinting into the sun, smoking the stub of a cigarette. He’ll post links to political theories that sound particularly paranoid even though I’ve heard so much of it before. Articles about supposed governmental plans to tattoo and track people. It’s just not where I want to place my attention these days.
So I woke up from my dream about breaking into his apartment and washing his dishes, thinking, “I’m going to send Adam some love”. There was no judgment around it, just that I’d done something nice for him in my dream and he’d appreciated it so much that I wanted to carry it forward.
But I wasn’t going to just surprise him with it the way I had in my dream, so I sleepily asked his higher self for permission. I wondered how unattached he might currently be from this universal love and how it might be received. He responded immediately with a few words and many images and impressions.
“Of course I feel it. I feel it when I –” (shows me the tattoos he designs and inks). But then he sends me this sense of overwhelming fear and says, “I’m so scared”. I get a quick succession of ideas and images: His career as a tattoo artist — his need to warn his friends that the government might be thinking about tattooing and tracking people — Nazi camps — his Polish heritage. Then I understand where his fear and anger is coming from, and why he can’t let it go. I felt like he was carrying the fear ancestrally — from the womb, in his energetic body, in his DNA. I’m not sure he’s even consciously aware of it but it seems like he’s agreed to work out a piece of that karma. Global events like that have such huge repercussions. And I know that he’s psychically sensitive because he talks to his cat.
I heard recently that as babies and young children we agree to unburden our parents by taking on some of their stress. We do this in part to keep our caretakers functional. For my part I can remember being 3 years old when my parents were having some money problems and were thinking about selling the small family cottage. I felt all these waves of unnamed Bad Feelings that I would now categorize as “sadness” and “guilt”. They weren’t mine; I had barely any memories of summers at the cottage. But they felt like mine. I cried and my stomach hurt. My mom asked me what was wrong and I didn’t really know, all I knew was that I felt bad. So she gave me some Asprin. On some level I know my higher self had agreed to take that on. But we don’t need to take these things on indefinitely; I still feel psychically spongy but I’m much better at sorting out and releasing these feelings these days, and offering help in ways that feel better to me.
In the light of day I wonder if this is what happened to Adam as I had suspected initially, or if he actually died in the camps and reincarnated into his family intending to help and warn people. Is this why he now plays soldier and remains so vigilant that this must never, ever happen again? Either way it amounts to the same thing. So, I sent him some love in hope that it might ease some of the burden of the debt that he’s agreed to carry and process.
I don’t feel like I “read” him; I didn’t intend to and I didn’t pry. I just opened up a channel and offered something: love. In return I was offered something else: context. Still, I’m definitely not going to FB message him about this, although I really wish I could:
“Yeah, I dreamt I did your dishes last night, then I woke up and talked to your higher self. I really get your whole militia/vigilante/survivalist thing now. Hang in there, it’s going to be ok”. You just can’t say that to people. And you can’t take people’s problems away, as they say. Everyone’s gotta do their own thing.
Lastly, as I was falling back to sleep I remembered another part of the dream. Before I’d found myself in his apartment we were walking across the ancient ruins of a city that was literally crumbling like sand beneath our feet. Huge post-and-lintel marble slabs, enormous fluted columns. Darkness everywhere. I wondered if we’d known each other before, if we’d been allies in war in some other life.