I dream a lot but some months ago I had a dream that I wasn’t quite able to figure out or get out of my head.
I dreamt that I walked into the kitchen of my old childhood home and saw a mouse sitting on a rock in one of the far corner windows looking out toward our backyard. He was sitting kind of upright like you would expect a human to sit and he had his hands/front paws folded in his lap and he looked somewhere between a little sad and completely at peace. (Opposites, I know, but that’s what it looked and felt like to me.)
He was singing some very low, very soft, pretty song. The melody made me feel extremely calm and I could tell he had a nice singing voice (think Adam Levine), but I couldn’t quite make out the lyrics. I remember wanting to get close enough to hear what he was singing, but not so close that I would scare him off. I woke up with the feeling that I needed to know the lyrics to his song and that it really meant something.
Now let’s go back again, still a few months ago, but in the real world.
All while I was shopping for a new house, I kept having this feeling that I needed to do something or go somewhere, but what and where eluded me.
I was pre-packing some things in anticipation for finding the right place (that I never did find) and felt overwhelmed by how much “stuff” I own. I call it stuff because that’s all it is. I love books, and I love music, but they take up a lot of space (and energy, too, maybe?). Even after donating three very large garbage bags of books, my count is still in the few hundred range (not counting what’s stored at my mom’s house) and the CD purging only leads me to re-discover weird things I bought years ago and then look for more to buy. (It was weird then, now I love it!- Darn you, Stereolab!)
Then there were the reminders of my short, but intense, experience with “product junky-ism.” Since I started transitioning in March 2009, I’ve tried what amounts to four Staples paper case boxes worth of products. And I refuse to throw it away since I paid for it. Now I just keep mixing stuff up hoping to make a solution I like, but it’s exhausting and consuming.
I want and need to simplify everything.
I wasn’t exactly spoiled growing up, but I had enough of what I wanted to keep me satisfied, and everything I needed. (Thank God for great parents!) It doesn’t take much in the way of material things to keep me happy. Peace of mind is far more important to me.
I was re-organizing the hair products boxes to make things easier to find when a clear picture flashed through my mind. I saw the sand, and the sea. I saw my bed in one corner with place to entertain visitors in the opposite corner. I could see all this from my kitchen. Pretty much the whole place could be seen from any one spot in the room, but I loved it and I was happy.
This was “the what” and “the where” I had been searching for. I decided to quit my job, move to the Caribbean and clean hotel rooms. As long as I’m clean, dry and have something to write on and with, I can be happy.
I called my Mom to tell her the good news and she gave her standard Mom response which was to shoot it down and act like it was the dumbest thing she had ever heard: “Clean hotels? Are hotels thriving enough to hire people right now? Are people still taking vacations? That doesn’t sound stable at all. You’re fine where you are.”
I had to think about it. It was true. I am fine where I am, but what if I want to be better than fine?
My mom always promoting the safe route isn’t new to me (You should have heard her response to my swimming lesson idea!). And I’m glad she does it, because if you can get past the condescending tone she’s perfected, she’s usually saying something worth some hefty consideration.
Plus, all good moms worry about their kids. If she didn’t care, then maybe I would have ended up sitting next to "Precious" in an alternative school. So even though, just once I would like for her to just cheer for me, I understand why she can’t do it. A good mom’s job is to keep her babies safe. The baby’s job is to grow up and rebel. (I’m not very good at my job)
So how does this tie into the mouse dream?
I was looking for the author of The Camel Dances, a great fable about a “lumpy, bumpy” camel who aspires to be a ballerina and does so, despite much opposition from the other camels. The author is Arnold Lobel. I checked out some of his work from the library, and found in the same collection, “The Mouse at the Seashore”
It’s the story of a mouse that despite his parents’ fearful objections, sets out to make his way through unchartered territory and live life by the sea. His first day out nearly costs him his tail, and the rest of the journey is treacherous as well. Still he arrives, battered and bruised, but happy for his accomplishment, eager for what his new life might bring, and wishes quietly that his parents were with him to enjoy the exquisite beauty.
Coincidence? Could be. But I doubt it.
Someday when I grow up, I will be as brave as a mouse. I hope it’s soon.
Better than the originals- Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Paul Dateh...