Last night I dreamt of ghosts.
I don't remember all the details, but I know that my family was there- not just the ones who are still living, but those who have been gone for some time- and they weren't just there, but they were healthy, and happy, and moved easily, not at all like their frail counter parts that I remember from life.
But they were't the only ghosts there- I saw remnants of my family's past- of who people in it used to be. Everyone was younger, more full of life and energy. I saw people that I remember from long ago as they were then, when I was just a child. Everyone was from a different time, a different place; even their clothes and words and ideas were foreign, once the ideas of a nation, today the ideas of history.
But I was exactly the same.
They all bonded together in the effort to create a brand new project- a mini human, if you must know (the term being homunculus) out of adhesives and other substances found in a small thrift shop in the east village that has easily become my favorite. But even the store had changed- their products overflowed and were different from what they had once been. Not bad, just different.
There were video cameras and other such equipment that they were going to use for the taping of such a project, because they believed that they were going to strike it rich right there and then. They believed that by creating this new human, by making this new form of life, they would be famous and happy.
I wanted none of it.
But in the end of the dream, the ghosts whirling in a frenzy of creation around me fell away, moving on to their own work stations to get started on what they wanted, while I sat there, playing with the tiniest bit of raw material, wondering if maybe the world couldn't use a miniature human, toying with the corners of the idea and starting to create bits of my own work right there before me.... the ghosts of myself starting to pull apart and come out as I remembered ideas and drives and ambitions that I too once had, and for the very end of the dream, I was actually starting to feel hopeful about the future and the prospects that it so closely held...
Before you ask, I was not eating, or drinking, before bed.
Waking this morning, I could already start to understand some of the smaller elements of my dream. Since the flood a few weeks back, my sense of normal has been redefined. My home, while still standing, is in the process of becoming a brand new creation- a miniature version of what it once was, at least until we can pull together the resources and make it into what we need it to be. It is a project that I have been somewhat outside of because of needing to work, but the ghosts of the past are radiating out of the walls when I walk in, urging me to remember what it once was, and leaving me feeling overwhelmed that it all has to change so urgently.
But the more involved (even in my own small ways) that I get, the more I can see it become something incredible. The more I look around, my own ideas start to shimmer throughout the empty rooms, hope begin to fill them the way the people of my life once did, beginning a new normal.
And normal as it once was is no longer the same. It was a life time ago. All this time, I have understood what people mean about feeling like a survivor or having that mentality of tragedy, because I didn't realize the speed at which normal changed, something that was pointed out to me by a mentor last night. Trips to the thrift store, the city, and all other places are on a permanent hold for now, until we can get the life we need to live in back together. House renovations are going to take a very long time. Things are going to be very different.
But I'm toying with the open canvas in front of me. I'm seeing the space in a whole new light. I may be here longer than I wanted to be- but I've got the raw materials, and new blue prints for the future, and the ghosts that I dreamt of last night- those people, once alive, and young, and ambitious, may be premonitions of the people and the lives to come.
I am a different person, in the last few weeks. The old life is just a ghost of who we all once were. But the new life is already starting, making me feel happy and ambitious, as if this may be the new beginning- the chance for happiness- that the people in my dreams were waiting for, that the world is always waiting for, and that I am suddenly hopeful of.