Magical Wolves and Martyrdom
Two weeks ago, I had a weird dream. I was on a yacht with 5 unidentifiable young men and boys. I don’t remember their faces and we didn’t interact much. On this yacht, we discovered a violent wolf. The wolf chased us into one of the cabins on the yacht. We locked the door and stood in front of the door, waiting to see if the wolf could break through.
Lo and behold, the fucking wolf knew how to unlock doors. Like something out of a horror movie, I watched the deadbolt latch slowly move from one side to the next. It was one of these locks:
Clearly, it was a magical wolf. I threw my body against the door and pressed as hard as I could. I yelled at the others to put their weight against the door. While said magical wolf could unlock doors, it was having trouble breaking through with my 140 pounds against it. I was sure that 5 more people would do the job, but none of these people came.
They all stood, frozen in horror at their impending deaths. I yelled for about 10 more seconds until the wolf was able to push the door open. It swung back and threw me against the wall. As I listened to the wolf kill everyone in the room, I slid down and disassociated. Then, I woke up.
A few thoughts crossed my mind:
- I didn’t even think to try and save them. Why didn’t I try?
- WTF was I going to do? Go up against this magical wolf?
- Why didn’t the wolf kill me?
- I mean clearly this wolf has the ability to smell me, unlock doors and shit. They must have known I was in the room.
- Why didn’t I die, too?
After about two therapy sessions and a lot of pondering, I came to this conclusion: I wasn’t meant to die. I effectively saved myself, and I tried to tell the other folks how they could save themselves, too. You can’t save people though, ain’t that the truth. So how is this relevant for me?
I have been trying to save the men in my life since I was 6.
I have been trying to fix them. That’s how I have defined being useful in relationships. Sidenote: the fact that I even define usefulness in relationship speaks volumes about the types of relationships I saw growing up, and what I thought/think a relationship should be. Both sides of my family come from poverty. The ability to be of some economic value is significant in the relationships I witnessed. Sure, there was love there, but love was also communicated through the ability to produce something.
Anyway, I used to attribute this need to repair these men to internalized sexism and to my absent yet domineering mother. Or maybe I was just really bad at caring about people. At times, I have been. I have been judgmental and pushed those people away. I have told people what to do instead of listening to what they wanted. It was through these mistakes that I learned to be a supportive person.
But now I’m thinking it has a lot more to do with the fact that I have not resolved the issue of my brother’s suicide attempt and subsequent drug addiction. I subconsciously think to myself, “if I can just fix one of them, I’ll have redeemed myself.”
Here are few issues with that:
- I still haven’t acknowledged that I didn’t do anything wrong. I was a child when all these things happened. I did not have a fucking clue as to what to do when your meth-addicted brother tells you not to tell your parents about his drug use. I did not have a fucking clue that he took those pills out of the cabinet to kill himself.
- Traumatized people will recreate situations from their past to “resolve them.” It’s like a torturous video game. When we don’t reach the next level, we start over. It’s really like the shittiest version of Groundhog’s Day.
So what do I do now? I’m not totally sure. I’ve been meditating on this for weeks. How do I end this cycle? Where is the bud that needs to be nipped? Or rather the overgrown, mangled tree branch that I need to saw off? What layers will I uncover? All parts of a healing journey that I’m finding myself on repeatedly. I am good at saving myself. I have survived a lot. I have picked myself from ashes and made something bigger, better, and stronger. But what good is it if I continue to walk back into the fire? Why do I think I need these flames? My body says, “Tell me what the sun feels like instead.”
In a way, this magical killer wolf told me, “You did good, kid.”