Running Down a Dream

I’ve been visited by dead people before.  It’s pretty common for me.  When someone I love dies, they will visit me in a dream. We may chat, or have a picnic, or cry together.  It’s a sweet way to get closure, and I can always tell when a dream is not just a dream, but a visit.  I’m grateful for whatever part of me is open enough to let them through.  Sometimes other people’s loved ones come to me in dreams, too, and ask me to relay messages, which I do.  I know there are plenty of people out there who don’t believe in this sort of thing, to which I’ll now respond with my favorite Nicolas Cage quote (from City of Angels) – “Some things are true whether you believe in them or not.”

 

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This is my Sincere Face.

Last night, I had a dream that was a visitation.  It was about Tom Petty.  Yes, the celebrity/singer/songwriter/cowboy/Traveling Wilbury.  That one.   I have always felt a special connection to Tom’s music, since I was a kid I’ve loved his songs and identified with his lyrics. I was sad, as a lot of people were, to hear of his passing and disappointed that I’d never been to see him in concert.  It wasn’t something I dwelled on, though, and as life does, mine moved on.

So the last few nights I have had some strange and colorful dreams.  I attribute it to the full moon + partial lunar eclipse in Capricorn (don’t get me started on Capricorn).  Last night’s dream was colorful and lively, but different. If you’ve had visitations you know what I’m talking about.  It’s almost like lucid dreaming, in that you’re aware something is different and this moment should be cherished, you try to look around and remember things because you know it will be over soon and you don’t want it to be.  At the same time you’re trying to listen and pay attention to whatever wisdom the visitor is there to impart.

I won’t detail the whole dream, but I will say that the part that felt most important had to do with my boots (navy blue Doc Martens with a zipper on the heel) and his boots (unknown brand).  We compared boots.  Tom Petty gave me some tips on how to care for mine, and how to make the leather feel smooth and buttery like his.  (Yes, I felt Tom Petty’s boots, and yes, they were as soft and luxurious as you might imagine.)

The other important part had to do with him having daughters.  One a brunette, she had a little chubby-cheek face and a dress on and she was precocious and chatty.  I mark this as important because it wasn’t something I knew about him.  I didn’t know TP had children at all, and I had to look it up on the internet to confirm it.  Two daughters, according to Google, and according to Dream Tom.  That, for me, is a confirmation.

All of this has left me with a sincere curiosity, and a hope that maybe the great Tom Petty is one of my spirit guides.   He’s not the first person to visit me after passing, but he is one of the most interesting and I hope we get to chat again.

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Damn the Torpedoes. My guides are cooler than yours.

A couple important notes about dream visitations: Our loved ones, guides, anyone on that plane can take on any form.  My grandfather sometimes visits as the “him” I remember, and sometimes as his younger self.  Tom Petty went back and forth between young and old, seeming equally comfortable with all of his different human “selves”.  Also, visitations are not usually romantic in nature (unless the person was a romantic partner, and even then it’s not likely.)  If you dream about making out with Steve McQueen in the back of a limo it is probably a wish-fulfillment dream courtesy of your own subconscious, and not an actual visit.

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Strange and Unusual

It was all very The Bridges of Madison County.

You know towards the end of the story, when Francesca is sitting at a stoplight in her husband’s truck, watching the rain and re-living the past few weeks as she contemplates whether to jump out and run to Robert, abandoning her current life in favor of excitement, passionate love, and the unknown?

That’s what my trip to New Orleans was like.

It was like that one time I wandered into a goth bar, looked around, gulped, and decided to stay.  Then, several hours and several drinks later, realizing I wasn’t just surviving the situation, I was enchanted with my surroundings.  The music, the people, feeling my horizons stretching as I breathed in new smells and entertained new ideas.  Infatuated.  Curious. Entranced. Hypnotized. Beguiled.

And I don’t want to let it go.

Some people say that a place like New Orleans, or the French Quarter in particular, allows the visitor to be someone else for a while.  True, there are lots of bars, lots of boobs, lots of interesting characters and avenues for transformation.  In my case, though, the opposite was true.  The New Orleans experience, for me, didn’t feel like an opportunity to be someone else.  It felt like the opportunity to be who I am, authentically.

What does that mean?  Who am I, at my core?

If you must know, I’m an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in bacon.

It’s hard for me to articulate what I mean.  To look at me, you’d see someone who is responsible, clean, not tattooed or pierced, a runner, someone who likes to sleep and read books and pet cats and dogs that aren’t mine, someone who dreams of Paris and plays at photography and likes a nice cardigan sweater.  If I’m totally honest, I don’t look like New Orleans.  I look like White Bread, USA. This is where, as an outside observer, you’d get me wrong if you were to judge based on appearance.

I may not like scary movies.  I don’t enjoy music where people scream at me in what may or may not be an intelligible language.  But at my center, I tend towards the melancholy.  Always have.  Even as a kid.  I like Poe, I like dark art.  I’m fascinated with magick and gem stones, the moon and its power, psychic abilities, and the things that go bump in the night.  Just last week I was researching wolves and skin walkers because I totally believe it’s possible (and I kinda hope it is).  [True Story: The Wolf is actually my animal totem.]

I think tattoos are sexy as hell.  I don’t have one because I’m indecisive.  Piercings, even more so.  I’ve always wanted a few of them, but besides the navel I’ve been a chicken about it.  I want purple hair sometimes, I want to wear a corset, I watch Vampire Hunter D and paint my nails black and weirdos are my favorite kind of people.

Maybe I’m Lydia Deetz – not so hardcore that I wear pentagrams and know which bars the vampires frequent, but genuine in that there’s a part of me that is authentically goth, macabre, gloomy, and intrigued by the people who are deep into that scene and living it out loud.

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Actual Photo of me in New Orleans.

I could have been that, had I jumped out of the truck.  No, I AM that.  Deep inside, past the big smile, GAP tank top and gooey marshmallow center.  I am.  Wandering the streets of the French Quarter was like reading the part of the “choose your adventure” book that you didn’t choose, just to find out what would have happened.  It was also like coming home to somewhere I didn’t realize I had left.  Like meeting a gorgeous, eccentric relative I never knew existed.

It was rad. I won’t ever forget it, and I’m forever grateful for it.  I can’t wait to get back to her – I think the city is definitely a woman – and I doubt a day will go by that I don’t think of her until I do.

p.s. Friends, if you get to New Orleans before I do, there’s a little shop called JEWELS that I wish you’d go and visit.  You’ll be glad you did.

My Own Hemingway

Hemingway wrote, “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep.  Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

He lived exactly that way.  Loud laugh (and sneezes and snores!), marching to the beat of his own drum, eating the fattening food and always thirsty for knowledge.  Walking in the morning before the sun came up, delighting in life’s smallest pleasures, using every moment as an opportunity to teach and inspire. He left an indelible mark on my heart and my spirit, and he was truly a gift.

Much like Hemingway, he possessed a towering personality, a strong wit, a boisterous laugh, great humility and a zest for life and good food.

He taught me so much:

Shakespeare. Algebra. Kindness. UGA Football. Curiosity. Humor. Responsibility.  Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Perspective. National Geographic. Cinnamon toast. Marigolds. Gratitude. Strawberries. Music. Generosity. Travel. Naps. Puns. Iced coffee. Tradition. Barbecue. Courage. History. Ambrosia. Strength. Classical Music. Individuality.

Love.

So, Happy Birthday to my own Hemingway. I love you forever.  xo, Your Girl.

Thirteen Reasons Why: My First Book Review

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated and was not retained by the author, publisher, or any other person or persons to review this book.  I just read a lot, liked it, and want to write about it.  The opinions expressed below are my own.

“Thirteen Reasons Why” is a best-selling Young Adult novel by Jay Asher.  It’s a haunting story told by high schooler Clay Jensen, an all-around nice guy and friend to troubled (and recently deceased) classmate, Hannah Baker.

Hannah’s death comes as a shock to many, but unbeknownst to them, she has set a plan in motion to explain it.  Not to everyone – just to the people who were, whether directly or indirectly, involved in her passing.

It’s an easy, exciting read and (hallelujah!) a new concept.  While aimed at a teenage demographic, the writer does not condescend or ‘dumb it down’, and still manages to capture accurately the sometimes horrific sub-culture that is High School, USA.  The dialogue is smart and relate-able, and most importantly, believable.

Asher has found a new way to discuss an old, much talked-about subject: Bullying.  It happened when I was in school, and it happens now.  We hear about it more now thanks to social media, and that also contributes to more drastic actions by teens and unfortunately, frequently dismal outcomes.  This is what we see (or hear) happening to Hannah Baker.  A new student at a new school whose world is slowly destroyed by others, some never realizing the damage they’ve done.  He also conquers a the difficult topic of suicide, and reminds the reader that oftentimes a person’s screams for help are just whispers.  But if you listen, you can hear them.  Unfortunately for Hannah, they didn’t listen.  Now she’ll make sure they do…

Anyone who is in high school, has a child or relative in high school, or who simply wants to be more aware, should read this book.   Not only does it shed light on the real struggles (and perceived “life altering” effect of those struggles) that teenagers face, it also reminds us that what we do and say to others has meaning.  Sometimes a flippant remark can remain lodged in someone’s psyche indefinitely.  We should all be more careful with how we treat each other.   The Bible says the power of life and death are in the tongue [Prov. 18:21] and sadly, sometimes it’s more true than we want to know.

To learn more or purchase this book: http://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Reasons-Why-Jay-Asher/dp/159514188X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

To find mental health counseling in your area: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

And finally, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.IMG_3345