Dad and the Old Lady

It is night. The yard is semi-illuminated by artificial light coming from the house. I have angered my father. Running into the front yard, I scan the driveway and street for my car. There are more cars here than I expected to find. I weigh the potential threat of catching my father’s attention with the potential for finding my car and decide to hit the lock button on my keychain in the hopes that I will spot my car when the parking lights flash. They do not. I do not. I am still running – down the street, expecting my father’s bullet to find me at any second. Still moving away from the house, I cross the street in a diagonal path. It is my hope that this path will make me a more difficult target.

I make it around the end of the block and come to an elderly friend’s house. This house and this woman are recurring in my dreams. Her house is historically unnecessarily difficult to navigate – stairs that seem to lead to nowhere and uncomfortable crawl spaces. I often find my way into her house in a frantic effort to use a toilet. An ambulance’s lights illuminate the front yard. EMS is there and I know she is no longer there. Entering the front door, I find a police officer, my mother’s sister and her husband, and my current supervisor at my place of employment. They are happy to see me. This is, apparently, a social gathering. I explain to the officer that I am fleeing my father’s attempt to shoot me. The officer explains there is really nothing he can do.

I ask my supervisor if there is a toilet I can use. He directs me to the bedroom in which he is staying. There is no wall separating the room from the main entry, but rather a mauve curtain. The toilet rests just on the other side of this curtain. I sit for a seemingly long time with no success as the party proceeds in the other room.

Analysis: First off, if you have read Letters From Limbo or just have a fairly good insight into my relationship with my father, the first scene in this dream may come as no surprise. Perhaps this incarnation of him represents the anger I’ve seen in him, the anger which he would seem to keep in submission when not under the influence of alcohol. I don’t know that he is angry with me today, but the dead air between him and his three kids and his responses when forced to engage with his kids would seem to point to a desire for no future interaction with any of us.

According to Carl Jung, the house represents oneself. I’ve often felt as though I don’t fit into my place in this world. This could explain why this house is so often difficult to navigate. I am often obligated to use this house as a result of my desire to avoid embarrassment and conform to the social norm of using the toilet. I have, on more than one occasion, crawled in through a window, apparently trespassing in order to conform to this social protocol. The house, my “self”, is often then so incredibly difficult to navigate, the conforming to this social protocol becomes a nearly impossible feat.

I’ve often battled with my inability to fit into my place in society, to conform to these social expectations seemingly everyone but me would seem to understand. This could explain why this house is often so difficult to navigate. I am hesitant to jump to the conclusion that the absence of the old lady and the apparent ease in which I navigated the house are related. After all, we know correlation does not necessarily point to causation. Still, if these two facts are related, the woman represents my desire to fit into my place in society, my desire to conform to these social norms. The fact that I did not need to use the toilet represented the fact that I am beyond this now. The presence of my loved ones and the joy in the house represented the fact that I will be loved in spite of my rejection of conformity. Lastly, the officer’s claim that nothing could be done about my father’s attempt to shoot me represents a disconnect, a lack of obligation between myself and my father’s anger.

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