I am moving past a scene that I see playing out next to a warehouse-like building. It is like I am on an elevated train. I see a young woman in short shorts. She is getting in a fancy sports car that belongs to some man. I think she must be a prostitute because of the short shorts. I see the man pull a large bag out. There is another man talking on the phone and he says that she should know better than to go with a man who would make her get in a body bag. I see the girl climbing in the bag and realize that she is probably going to be killed by this man. It has a zipper on it and he zips it part way up and then bunches it together so he can carry it. Then I am traveling on the El in the other direction still watching the same scene. The man picks up the bag with the girl in it and throws it down really hard on the ground. Then he quickly peers in through the top to see her reaction. I think he is going to torture her.My therapist Sue says when we work this dream, “He really wants you to see this”. I feel into the girl who would climb into a body bag, willingly. I recognize this disassociated girl.
I left home when I was 16 and this dream references a period of my life when I was a teenage runaway in Florida. I did not look like a woman. I was what people called a “late bloomer”. I didn’t have hardly any breasts or start my period until I was 16. I was thin and fair with wispy blonde hair. I’m sure I had attitude, the deals had already been made: “no matter what you do you can’t hurt me” and “no one is going to take care of me but me.” Contracts signed years earlier in the virginal blood of a child.
All through the things that happened, all the things I did and all the things that were done to me or what I witnessed happen to others, I never felt a thing. And in the lack of feeling, nothing mattered. I didn’t care what happened to me, it didn’t matter. Situations that should have terrified me were just another moment in the life I was living. The voice says I should have known better. This is the tyranny I live under: that I should have known better. That I shouldn’t have gotten in those cars, gone with those men, climbed into the body bag, been smashed, assaulted, degraded, used. But I did. I fumbled and stumbled and blustered and lied and none of it mattered.
The predator doesn’t feel anything for its prey. It consumes the flesh and then sucks on the bones. Who were those people who lived like animals? And I was one of them. I ran in a pack of kids just like me, all running from something, almost always abuse of some kind. The fierceness of our tribe, boys in candy striper shorts with no underwear and girls in short shorts, tube tops and worn wooden soled high heels, full of street bravado. Brave in our terror. Trying to watch each others backs. Strangers coming into our midst, trust fragile and tarnished. Guns, drugs, violence, complicit cops. We wore fake names and got wasted. We fought, we fucked and we never felt any of it.
What are the feelings to be reclaimed here? Certainly there is the absolute terror, the realization of the horror of what is happening out there. Then there is the grief of the lost innocence, the love for the child who suffered this.
It is the voice of shame that wants me to put this away, keep it from the light, never reveal. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happened in another life, not mine.
And yet, I can no longer contain it. To stand in the truth of the dream is to accept all that it has to bring. To feel it all, to allow it all. It is the only way through, the only way to continue the journey. Otherwise, I would be lost in the forest, going in circles, wondering in terror, “Wait, didn’t I pass this way before?”
I see a girl sitting in a field of ashes. There are ashes in the air and nothing but the field of ashes. She is wearing something red that really stands out against the gray. I think, “Phoenix rising, in form of girl.”I feel my girl in me sometimes. The sensation of her rising quelled so instinctively. She terrifies me in her vulnerability. Yet how strong must she be to rise up out of those ashes?