Tuesday, June 26, 2012

unwelcome dream visitors.

I keep having this dream. The kind where you're on this constant and not really grueling, but fairly dogged journey. Really, the destination is ever-evolving and I never get there, ever, but it doesn't matter so much because I think the people that I interact with on my journey are more important. Really interesting strangers for the most part, but one person I know. One person I know very well indeed.
My friend Katherine told me once that the mind doesn't manufacture faces. That everyone we see in our dreams is someone we have seen before in real life. Maybe only in passing for a brief second, maybe someone we see all the time but we have never spoken to, maybe one of our closest friends. But for the people I've never spoken to, how do I know so much about them? How do I know the sound and tone of their voice or the intricacies of their movement? Did I make that up? Does my imagination just automatically fill in the gaps?
I don't know and that's not really the point.
One of my ex-boyfriends has been a regular in my dreams lately, and that is the point.  
Matt and I have a stable and healthy relationship. We're past the adjustment stage, the constant snags and quibbles over asinine things. We're comfortable around each other, and courteous. We've lived together for over a year.  98 times out of 100 Matt would know my preference when offered options on nearly every subject. I feel I'd probably have the same odds on his picks. He's been my best friend for so long that at times I take for granted just how well he knows me, and then I of course get huffy when he calls me out on things. At the same time, I kind of like it. I like being known that way. It feels good. It's validating to have someone still want me even after I burp while we're sitting on the couch, or when I leave my dirty underwear lying on the bathroom floor and oops there's my hair, stuck in the drain, and oh look, I haven't shaved my legs in ten days, it's a new record! (not)
We're happy.
And I mean, I accept societal taboos for the most part. But there's one thing that bothers me that Matt and I don't talk about. (Okay, if we're honest, a few things, but this is one of the main ones). We don't talk about our exes. In fact, it gets tense at just the mention of their names.
Now, to an extent, I think that's fair. Matt and I started dating about four seconds after he broke up with his girlfriend of a year and a half, Julie. I'd only met her a few times, but she felt threatened by me... and I guess for good reason. Likewise, Matt met my ex-boyfriend. (We'll call him Leo, because lord knows he was the epitome of it if there ever was one.) The one from the island who treated me like shit and sent me spiralling into depression and a whirlwind of self hate and self doubt. Perhaps knowing that nothing good would likely come of this particular relationship upon meeting Leo, Matt didn't care much for this boyfriend of mine.
When all is said and done, all is said and done. Time has passed. The wounds aren't raw anymore. I understand that maybe one or both of us would be wary of bringing up our lovers from the past. It's just not something that is done, from what I understand.
But you know. I sometimes feel like I'm always going to be a little bit altered because of Leo. I think of him often. Wonder if I'm going to always feel a little heavier, think of him and feel haunted and stupid and unsure of myself and also, in some ways, even more sure of myself. More sure of who I am and how I can love someone and be completely single minded and also a she-wolf, and also just, god, just stubborn. Those are good things. Those are things I'm proud of being. Leo brought them out of me in the midst of crushing my soul.
Maybe Matt doesn't have any unresolved feelings toward Julie. Maybe he doesn't dwell or reflect or heaven forbid, dream of her. I personally think that's an impossible task and I'd be a little worried if he didn't do any of those things. We're human, after all. We brush up against people and they leave residue on our hearts. It's only natural. It doesn't mean I'm not happy with where I am.
But I know, I know. We people in our twenties, more often than not, we don't talk to our significant others about our past loves because we're trying so hard to focus and hold on, grasp so tightly, to what we have. Make it special. Make it unique. Well, I guess I don't see why we have to try so hard. So long as it's two different people coming together in new combinations, there's no chance of romance being exactly the same. Is that what we're really worried about? And if so, why? If you're with someone, it obviously didn't work out with the last one, why can't we talk about it? Why can't we open ourselves up enough and love that person enough to be able to handle the hurt and pain and yes, even the love, that they have felt before? Don't you want to know what we are capable of? Don't you want to know how much further we can grow? Can we burst through that barrier that stood there with the person before? Can we stretch our branches just a little higher, just a little further into the beautiful blue of the sky? Why not try?
I'm not one of those people blessed with the ability to process my potential thoughts and emotions into 'yes' and 'no' piles. I can try to push things down and back and deeper, but in the end, it always finds a way back up, often more powerfully than if I would have just acknowledged it. I feel like I'm lying, almost, when I don't tell Matt that I've been thinking about Leo, even though when I'm thinking about Leo, I mostly feel angry and sad, not trace of yearning still strains my heartstrings. And I know, we're supposed to keep things to ourselves sometimes. But sometimes, I don't want to keep this to myself anymore. I don't need Matt to share the burden, but I need to not have the burden of feeling like I'm keeping a secret.
I don't know why. I'm not scared of chasing Matt away because I have a fleeting thought or memory of someone else. I guess what I'm more afraid of is causing pain. Will if hurt if I admit that last night in my dream, Leo was there? Why should it hurt him? I didn't want to see him there either, trust me. In all honesty, it left me feeling uneasy and wrong. I didn't choose it. I feel even more wrong in making the choice not to tell Matt about it, because it feels like I'm keeping something from him. In my naturally introverted mind, I've battled constantly with myself to let Matt in, and now that I have, I don't want to keep this shit from him.  
I love Matt. He knows that. But I loved Leo once too, and he obviously made a lasting impact on my life.   Why do I have to keep that to myself? Is it terrible that I don't want to?

1 comment:

  1. I totally hear you. I want to know about exes but I also don't want to know at the same time. Once they start talking about it, it's a little nauseating. I always ask in the beginning because I think it's important to know their take on why things ended - I like knowing if there are patterns.