My honey always tells me, “be careful posting about your dreams. Not everyone believes that they actually mean anything.” But what does he know?
As a matter of fact, I am picturing him right now shaking his head because of what I am about to share with you all.
I recently had a couple of dreams that I haven’t been able to shake. The reason I am sharing them with you is because they impacted me enough to make me reflect. I also think that everyone might relate to this in some way.
In both dreams, I saw myself at 6 years old and as my adult self interacted with my younger self.
To make this easier to follow, let’s call the little me Rebequeneida (what I was called as a child) and I’ll refer to my adult self as “me” or “I”.
Rebequeneida is sitting on a bench looking down with her hands resting at her sides. I see her from a distance and approach her.
“¿Cómo estás? I ask.
Rebequeneida doesn’t respond and continues to stare at the ground. I walk around the bench, touching Rebequeneida’s shoulder delicately. The little girl continues to look at the ground without responding. I asked her, “Are you OK?”
Rebequenida says nothing.
“Why are you so shy?
“Why don’t you speak?”
Nothing from the little girl.
“You are here sitting all by yourself. There are others around you expecting you to say something but you don’t speak. Come on, get up and walk with me. Talk to me, si?”
Rebequeneida slowly lifts up her head to look at me, and smiles. I suddenly feel the urge to hug her but somehow can’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I just smile back, still confused at Rebequeneida’s behavior. Why isn’t she listening to me?
Rebequeneida stares into my eyes. The girl does not want to move from the bench, but I continue to insist.
“At least go play.” Then, in frustration,
“You are too quiet. That’s not good, you know? You need to change.”
Rebequeneida lifts her right hand and places her first finger on my chest, where the heart is, and laughs in a very playful way, then says, “You change.”
I hold Rebequeneida’s little finger gently, enjoying seeing the girl laughing and happy, so much that I don’t realize the implications of what Rebequeneida has said.
Why was I insisting that Rebequeida change who she was, the way she was?
Rebequeneida seemed happy just the way she was, and saw who really needed change. Me. I must really be struggling to be taking advice from a 6 year old in my dreams. But what exactly am I struggling with?
I miss simplicity.
I remember Rebequeneida was always a free soul. She felt happy at home. Hardly ever complained. Forgot and forgave quickly. And yet, when I think of her — myself — as a little girl, I often wish that she had been someone else, someone closer to who I am today. Perhaps more aggressive and outgoing…someone who didn’t forget so quickly.
I am sure we all think about situations from our childhood where we wish we could have acted differently. In trying to coax Rebequenida to change in my dream, maybe I wanted to fix history. Maybe she would have been tougher when people judged or bullied her for being shy, or being raised by her grandparents. For being different. But we can’t change history; we can only fix the present — and only to some degree. Is this what Rebequeneida meant when she said “you change?”
I could never become who I was. I am not sure I would really want to. Life circumstances changed me, especially those I had no control over, such as my cancer diagnosis. How can we stay the same when our circumstances have completely changed without our consent?
I am on an escalator, going up. I see a bright light reflected at the top and turn to the person behind me. “I bet my grandmother, Nelly, will be waiting for me right up there,” I say. “Watch. She’ll be there.” (My grandmother is deceased.)
When I get to the top, I see my grandmother approaching me. Rebequeneida is there, too, approaching at my grandmother’s side. The three of us stop and look at each other. I speak first.
“Mama, hug Rebequeneida,” I say to my grandmother.
“No, mama,” says Rebequenida. “You hug her first,” pointing to me.
Grandma Nelly looks at both of us not knowing what to do.
“Mama, please go hug Rebequeneida, she needs you,” I say.
“No mama, she needs you more,” Rebequeneida says, looking at me and smiling.
Finally, Nelly makes a decision. She hugs grown-up me first. I look over Nelly’s shoulder and see Rebequeneida, watching and smiling.
The second dream is a good reflection of how I’ve been feeling the past few years.
I have been dealing with grief over my grandmother’s death since 1998. As I get older, I miss her more and more. This was a huge loss for me because I’ve never had a relationship like the one I had with her. We were very close because she raised me until I was 14.
It looks to me as if my younger self is trying to look out for me as an adult. Rebequeneida doesn’t only think I need to change, but she thinks I need support as well. Of course it was probably easier for her to deal with circumstances because she was protected at home. I feel I no longer have that protection or at least the kind I felt with my grandmother.
Rebequeneida will always have her grandmother. I, as an adult, never will.
In both dreams I tried protecting my younger self, but as it turned out from both dreams, I am the one who may need protection and coaching. I would love to see Rebequeneida again to have her go into more details. I want to know what it is I need to learn from my self.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”— Viktor E. Frankl