i learned to lucid dream when i was 13, during the long, humid summer i spent at my Grandmother’s house.  It was the summer she showed up with my aunt to pick me up with a black eye, split lip, and bites on my arms where i had first tried to shield my face and then tried to remove the hands from my throat, in a desperate attempt to get air back into my lungs.

The bites were my fault, as i knew to keep my hands behind my back at all times.

i was grateful when my grandmother came to take me to her house.  i played Bach in my room, read books silently, and taught myself how to lucid dream from an audio tape that had exercises to increase your ability over time.  i had been having vicious nightmares and lucid dreaming was my ticket to making them stop.  It also made my dreams a lovely escape, where i could fly and see and change the dream at will.

Cymbalta has taken that ability away and the nightmares have returned.  They started over the summer, even though i had been on the medicine for a very long time before that.  Now, it’s more the norm that i dream of my mother.  And i can’t fly away or pop her like a giant bubble or escape to another dream.

Last night, though, something happened that was more along the lines of an astral projection dream.  i got to hug–hold–my brother and tell him that i still love him, always had and always will.  That was it.

His body dwarfs mine, at a full foot taller than my height and he is very strong, very sure of his body and what it can do.  So different from my own experience.  At some point, we had a role reversal, where be became the big brother and i became the little sister.  He stopped resenting me for being the mother for him that my mother couldn’t be.  Because i was stripped of my adult abilities to handle things on my own in that suburban hell.  Because he understood he could break me and i was the only person he would choose to not hurt-at a price.  My unquestioning loyalty, my undeserved love.  It became something important and valuable to him.  i keep thinking of the number of times, 50? more?–that he would find me alone and have that far, far away look to him.  The same one he used to get after he was spent from abusing me.  And he would say that he wanted to tell me what he had done, but he couldn’t, that i wouldn’t love him anymore.  i would assure him i would, try to touch him.  Sometimes, he would let me, and i’d stroke his curly hair and rock him like a child.  Mostly, he wouldn’t and he would turn away and leave me there, the pain hanging in the room.

When he did finally tell me, years later, i still loved him and got to tell him so.

i paid a price, a heavy price.

But even still, it felt good to embrace him again.


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