Tales of a tooting dog, interrupted sleep, and ominous dreams
After a long night of my dog trying to push me out of my own bed, unleashing almost lethal gaseous emissions that smelled like a skunk, the funk of which kept blasting me awake, and finally her begging to go out to relieve herself of the offensive waste in her bowel, I eventually found some fitful sleep. And I dreamed.
I dreamed about writing. Well, sort of.
I was in a church. Not any church I’ve been to before. But I clearly felt the energy that it was a religious setting like one of those mega-churches. There was a circular stage, which I was somehow seated on, and my mom pushed a flyer into my hands and asked me to get up and talk about it.
While waiting for my turn to speak, obviously flustered, I started to try and jot down some ideas about what she had given me.
It was a pamphlet about a girls’ group in the church, talking about ways to be good and faithful servants. In my awakened state, I think my subconscious was thinking of Girls in Action, or the GA’s, the Southern Baptist group that was supposed to be like the Girl Scouts.
The church where I grew up had this program, and I was a part of it. You had to earn patches by doing tasks like memorizing a Bible verse, participating in an educational craft borrowed from a community in Africa that the missionaries served, or helping out with a community project.
And although I loved making Batik prints that one time, my leaders rarely got us out into the community, and I never took memorizing the Bible seriously.
GA summer camp was my one “vacation” without my parents each year. It was a week of Bible study, indoctrination, daily swims in a pool, and figuring out what treats you would buy from the snack bar. I didn’t dread going on these trips, but I also never earned the camp’s spirit award.
I can still hear the GA’s song in my head:
Girls in action. Girls in action. Mission study and mission action. Praying, giving money so, the world may know of Jesus’ love…Girls in Action song
This would progress to Acteens in high school. I think I made it to Queen with Scepter. My crown was made of flimsy plastic film taped together.
Our leaders were very creative in finding ways to bend what we were already doing in our lives to fit the mold of the program to earn the points for the next level, the highest of which earned you a cape. And although the cape was pretty sweet, I didn’t want to do the work to earn it.
I’m fairly certain that the seeds of deconstruction had been planted by that point in my religious education.
Now back to my dream.
In this dream, my mom wanted me to speak against the subjugation of girls and women. This seemed to fit.
I tried to formulate something to say about raising girls to be leaders, independent of their fathers or partners. That girls and women can be effective without relying on male figures. I understood that my on the fly speech was supposed to empower girls and women, and would likely shock the congregation.
And as I was sitting behind the pulpit, furiously trying to write with a ballpoint pen that didn’t seem to want to write, I was also struck by the way in which my mom passed this task to me. She was calm, trusting, and caring. She handed me the papers, touched me on my shoulder, and left to find her seat, seemingly eager to hear what I would come up with.
The stage and sanctuary were carpeted in a deep, rich, navy blue, with dark walnut wood pews and trim. And although that seems gloomy, there was also light. Stage lights. The natural light that streamed in from outside. And my dress, which was white with small, bright flowers in all the colors of the rainbow. And I was definitely in my own body, not an observer.
But what does it all mean? Was this a passing of the torch moment that my mind created? Is this symbolic of processing the recent loss of my father? Is this a reflection of what I want to teach my own daughters? Does the dream mean that my mom approves of my writing and sharing of ideas? Who knows.
I am, however, sincerely grateful that once my husband let the dog out, she stopped stinking up the bed. But once I woke up from this dream, my creative wheels started spinning, and sleep never returned for the night.
I had to get up and write about it.
Weird dreams seem to be my thing lately. Maybe my dog’s interruptions of my slumber inspired this nocturnal vision. Maybe it was something else. Do you have strange dreams? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.