Leave Me Alone, Nighttime Patriarchy!


My darned subconscious still knows how to reach out and grab me so it can stuff negativity and judgments into my psyche. Sigh. I’m still vulnerable to the voices of naysayers showing up in my dreams.

If this was a dream, the room would keep growing more and more chairs

That peeves me, because mostly my dream world is a pretty nice place, full of long roads by the beach that turn into floods, tours of houses that have a million rooms but no bathrooms, and common images like that. The metaphors in my dreams tend to be very un-subtle, and archetypes do not bother to hide themselves.

Patriarchy! Quit yelling at me, Lee!

Lately, though, men have been showing up in my dreams and telling me just where I’ve gone wrong and how mistaken all my life choices, opinions, and even thoughts are. These Horsemen of the Patriarchy have included such people as my own husband, my boss, my high school boyfriend (who actually DID once write me a letter listing all my horrible faults), and my late father.

Note that all of these people currently are not in the habit of shouting at me, telling me I am a total screw-up, or anything like that. They are all supportive people.

But in last night’s dream, my dad really gave me the once over. I was really selfish, had a lot of nerve, and had some dumb thoughts, in his opinion.

Why would this cantaloupe wielding gentleman be all in my face? Dad didn’t yell much in his later years

In fact, I spoke up for myself quite well in the dream (see, I am even stronger in my subconscious!), and at one point he yelled, “You think…” and I responded, “You are NOT me, and you have NO idea what I think, so you have no right to act like you’re in my brain.”

Go me.

Where did that come from?

Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out why the messages keep coming through. And often they don’t start until I figure it out. I’ve had “theme” dreams that went on for months and months until I figured out what the nagging naggers in my sleep were trying to tell me.

I think I have the Patriarchal Harassers figured out. I put two and two together by realizing my other recurring dream is running into my older son at some random place and having him smile and say hi. The Patriarchal Representatives would like me to talk to my kid. They know I’m worried that if I do so, I’ll get receive a long list of things I’ve done to displease him, perhaps not in the kindest of terms. The Manly Men are showing me that I can listen and stand up for myself.

I also love the bonus kids, just so they know

I love my kids. I think they are both great people. They’re both imperfect and have messed up. They’ve both done great things. I’m sure it will all work out in time. I’m writing this to publicly declare I’m willing to talk to anyone who’s willing to talk to me, patriarchal or not. Real or in a dream. I’m just putting this out here.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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