I just woke up from a dream where I was trying to take a literature exam given by my epi methods prof that was for some reason very necessary and important. A lot was in the balance. I hadn’t read the texts, so I am trying to read a modern rewriting of a Greek tragedy with a female protagonist (Antigone, but in the rewriting her name was Penelope) in my dream and answer short essay questions about it. Except I was 100% actually trying to do this in my dream. I remember reading the pages, seeing illustrations in the book, and trying to formulate the best answers that I can on lined paper while also trying to hook up with this gorgeous black young woman, a gymnastics athlete who was staying in the same apartment as me. But as I am trying to call my prof to ask him if I can have an extension on this mail-in exam, I am freaking out, because this is important.
I wake up stiff with adrenaline. Lying with my eyes wide, I realize that I am still dragging the legacy of an childhood spent with an abusive parent, that I am still undoing the habits, the tendencies, the myriad learned responses that affect every interaction I have. I kept hoping that now, after moving to a different country, now, after having gotten an education, now, after building a life independent of my family, now, after having a stable relationship with a life partner, now, after over ten years of a new life, that I have finally passed, but in reality, my relationship with my long-term partner still failed after having suffered from so much that I just could not fix, I am still prone to feeling inadequate and inconsequential at work, I am still inordinately hurt and defensive by people who are rude to me. In the shower I realize that my heart is so fixated on this exam, so stuck on wanting to have passed.
But the exam is ongoing and there is no moment when it is truly done. And in fact, I am very much struggling right on along, doing what I can. I have friends for whom I would put my hands in fire and who would do the same for me, and a vibrant, supportive community that I cherish being a part of. I have an amazing job that I love with hilarious, thoughtful coworkers. I have a family that loves me with the passion of the sun and that are beautiful, complex, rich beings that root me to the world. I have a mostly sunny disposition, but still willing to dig a bit deeper, and face the murky aspects of things. I am healthy and have the fire and fuel necessary to push, search, learn, tinker, fight, and love as long as the days allow. And that is a great gift.