What ever happened to that girl?

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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”.

Dream 1-

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?

Dream 2-

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

About thesmallc

I'm Rebeca. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. But there's more to my story: I am an animal lover. I love to cook. I have a wonderful fiancé who doesn't mind walking my rocky path with me. We currently live in New York. ---------------------------------------- “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” ― Viktor E. Frankl
This entry was posted in Awareness, Coping after cancer, Reflections and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to What ever happened to that girl?

  1. Jackie says:

    I am so glad you shared. It inspires reflection. Thank you.

  2. YES, the grown-up Rebecca will always have her grandmother–just as Rebequeneida will—since one Becky can never be separated from the other! I know what happened to that girl—-she turned into a sensitive, gorgeous writer; her grandmother, somewhere, is glowing with pride. And watching, watching.

  3. scottx5 says:

    Rebecca, this posting really resonates but I need tome to consider. Will be back.

  4. scottx5 says:

    Rebecca, things are fine with me, thanks. My first impression (think I’ll have more) relates to the shells we build around ourselves to stay alive. We are hurting, feel betrayed and especially in need some comfort and contact but shells that were supposed to protect us isolate us from trusting. Who knows where the next hurt will come from? The next mood swing into the dark? Or the swing that brings in the light but makes us doubt our ability to ever be stable again. The easy thing that’s now hard?
    For me I see things more clearly now but also blocked by my own defenses I either reach out too as aggressively familiar and too knowingly sympathetic or get rough and indifferent. I’ve settled in a self I’m uncomfortable with. I have rules about how to react and how to “control” the world. I’m too damned “experienced.”
    Living with what we miss… Not clear on this, except we need to discover where the missing belongs in our life.

    • thesmallc says:

      You’re spot on, Scott! And you’re right about survivorship not allowing us to easily forget. You said, “I’ve settled in a self I’m uncomfortable with.” I can relate to that statement but now I am trying to shift my way of thinking. Maybe I should just not have expectations from anyone and continue to love myself. I think having expectations from others is one of the problems; and believing everyone else should act like we do. Thank you for sharing your perspectives. Here’s a song appropriate for this discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FodfkqfJrhQ

  5. scottx5 says:

    Love the song Rebecca. Just thinking about what I need to do to change and friend at her blog suggested reading A Will to Change? by bell hooks. I’m conflicted on expectations and trust right now. It’s difficult the shake the feeling of dismissal from being sick, vulnerable, underestimated and then (just for fun) accused of being aggressive for defending myself. Don’t want to be taken for being “weak”, being “mean” is too much work and “nice” just doesn’t cut it. Trouble with no expectations is we aren’t wired for neutral and not expecting things from others I think is a form of hurting them, and ourselves.
    I have this lingering expectation that my first oncologist will apologize for dumping me almost immediately when I was crazy sick from chemo. Not just “I won’t talk to you” but a chippy little note that I thought was quite mean. Thinking about it I don’t want to be her friend, give her advice or change her mind–who she is and how she deals with the world belongs to her. Just like my daughters own themselves and will ask for advice if they want it, silence is sometimes best. Only, I just don’t want to be misunderstood. Or maybe I should let that go? After all it sounds like a song lyric:-)
    Thanks again for the Tracy Chapman link, will check out more of her songs. Bob Marley songs along the side of the YouTube reminded me to start listening to music again. Saw him perform at Berkeley in 1966, great concert.

  6. Rebecca, you were such an adorable little girl! I love that picture. As for your dreams, the ones you described really do sound meaningful as opposed to the run-of-the-mill random crazy ones. You’re wise to learn from them. I’m so sorry you lost your grandmother. I can see she was as a mother to you. I’m glad she still visits you in your dreams.

    • thesmallc says:

      Thank you,Eileen! I didn’t know it was even possible to interact with your inner child through a dream.I can’t describe how I felt when I saw her but it was very emotional.

      My grandma does visit me from time to time in my dreams and I always love seeing her. I miss her terribly.

      Thank you so much for reading this post which means a lot to me.

    • thesmallc says:

      I want to see that child again and ask her some questions. I was so confused after waking up. I have thought about how I wish I was different growing up. I think about the things I would have changed, but to my surprise, my inner child feels the same way about me.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

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