It is Febuary of 2017. I live in the United States. There is a winter storm coming. My husband is a recovering opioid addict. He has been clean for 122 days.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
— Bob Marley
This is inspired by an anxiety dream I had.
I awoke to a sea outside of my window. Once there was a river with land between us. Now there was just a cold ocean before me, immense with bold and icy waves forming. Perplexed by the ocean, and the disappearance of land, I left my apartment to investigate this new phenomenon. I walked across ocean, the waves forming beneath. Without land my walk was unsteady; I had no earth to ground me and was abandoned by gravity. Science undermined, I felt afraid. I then came across a crowd. I could see the signs reading Black Lives Matter. I thought of a child and I mourned Trayvon Martin. The ocean below me filled with salty tears, rocky and deep, churning my soul, undercurrents beckoning. I could now see clearly, the looming machinery, a monstrocity drilling oil, jackhammer pounding. Tear filled ocean, amuck with crude viscous bubble spheres, shiny and deadly. The liquids immicible and repelling. Sudden thirst ravaged my throat.
I then discovered the crowd was in fact a group of protesters. I asked them what they were protesting. They told me “everything!” I abrupty realized I had left my husband and pets alone in the apartment. Bundles of dope and disease flashed through my mind. I felt gripped with worry and very alone, so I headed back up to my 6th floor home. Only to discover that I couldn’t get in. I looked around and saw metal bars, with small dirty windows, and shiny linoleum floors; reflected institutional light blinding. I asked a woman in a jumpsuit, how can I get in? She told me, “I’m imprisoned here, they don’t give me a key”. So I guess, then, I must be incarcerated as well. This was not acceptance, but an infinitesimal universe offering despotism, the vast ocean no longer in sight. So tired and kept from my home, with my family just above, I observed myself sigh, shudder, and weep. Perhaps I knew it was a dream. The conscious observing subconscious, juxtaposition of privacy and surveillance. Back in my dreaming body, aka mind, I asked my new friend, why is my husband free and I am not? She replied, a cigarette dangling from her lips, “because he’s a white man, and you are a Puerto Rican woman.” But I am not an immigrant contrary to common (mis)knowledge and he is a dope addict, I replied with dismay. She looked at me and shrugged. I figured I might as well smoke so she gave me a drag. I exhaled the smoke from my lungs, lightheaded, and depressed. I felt really alone stuck there in that prison. I thought of my husband above me and feared relapse. I couldn’t find an inmate and my ally was now gone. Left me solitary to ponder how I walked across an ocean of tears and oil, upon my own two feet, and by my own volition, only to be stuck there without means for escape.
I then awoke with a start, free and well in my bed. I looked over to my husband sleeping, felt the warmth of my Chihuahua curled up by my side, and felt relief it was only a dream. Only to realize it is day 20 of Trump. Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions were confirmed this week, among other things.
Grateful my husband is 122 days sober. Awaiting a snowstorm in New England. Accepting that despair is a normal response. Allowing for mourning. Struggling but not giving up.
This is an email I’m sending to my state’s city councils:
I am asking you consider following in the footsteps of Seattle, WA and Davis, CA and divest in any banks, such as Wells Fargo or TD Bank, that serve as lenders to the Dakota Access Pipeline. In Boston let’s show the world we don’t put corporate profits over people. Let’s become an (even more) socially responsible city and stand in solidarity with the environment, health, safety, and human rights.