Acknowledging Our Privilege

Entitlement and privilege have become popular terms in the last few years. It’s not surprising to me that the disenfranchised among us have finally begun to have their voices heard in this regard. What’s more surprising is the backlash that it has resulted in. Straight, white, men are furious to be called privileged. But why? Would it make you mad if someone called you fortunate? Rich? Well-educated? Privilege is something to be grateful for. It’s not an insult, just an observation. Something that only needs to be recognized and acknowledged, so that we can work together to even the playing field. I don’t know why it is so difficult for so many people to admit that there are many who are worse off.

I think that people are misinterpreting the meaning of the word privilege. Just because you’re at the top of the social hierarchy doesn’t mean that you don’t have any problems or difficulties in your life. It doesn’t mean every moment of your existence has been easy. It just means that despite the problems you have, there are a lot of people who have a different set of problems that are based on their gender, race, ethnicity, etc. Problems that they cannot resolve or avoid. All these people are asking for right now is for the world to see their struggles. Is that really too much to ask?

Apparently it is. One of the ironic things about discussions like these is the privileged side’s refusal to even for a moment put their own thoughts and feelings aside in order to pay attention to the needs and concerns of others. Refusing to see others’ perspectives is it’s own form of privilege.

Even though I am a woman, I am still well-educated, middle class, and white. I fully own that despite my gender, I am extremely privileged and catch myself acting entitled all the time. Maybe it’s just because I’ve always had self-deprecation in my blood, but it’s never been an issue for me to acknowledge that. I have no problem admitting that I haven’t “earned” most of the comforts I enjoy every day. I’m not any better than someone who lives on government assistance, works at a minimum wage job, is unemployed, addicted to drugs, or even a criminal. Luck and random chance are the only things that separate us. It doesn’t harm me or my ego to say that. In fact, I believe it benefits me to consider my life from the perspective of those less fortunate. People that go through life with a sense of superiority and entitlement are not generally the happiest people. When you move through the world as if you are owed certain things, you are asking to be aggravated and disappointed.

I was considering my own unconscious sense of entitlement as I drove to work this morning. I have a tendency to get pretty irritated while driving. Why can’t these people drive?! Why are they all in my way!? It seems like every other car on the highway is merely there to inconvenience me. When I stop and reflect of that self-righteous anger though, I want to laugh. This world is not only for me. Why do I choose to focus on the things that bother me instead of focusing on what a sheer miracle it is that I have a highway to drive on at all? I allow myself to get so fed up with society to the point that I often hate humanity all together. Yet I forget to acknowledge how awful my life would be without the foundation our ancestors have established. I should be honored to call myself a human being, not angry and ashamed. Sure humans aren’t perfect, but we’ve done some incredible things and I’m happy that I get to benefit from the hard work of all those before me.

I wish that those who feel insulted by being called privileged or entitled would instead feel grateful that they have it so good. The problems of the world are not solely on your shoulders just because you were born white, just as the terrible conditions faced by minorities are not their fault for not being white. The conversation has somehow become about blame, when it should be about finding solutions. I think another misconception is about what these solutions will look like. No one wants to strip the privileged of their health and happiness. We merely want to raise the rest of the world up to where they are, and stop blaming those in need and writing them off as deserving of the lot they’ve gotten in life.

More Dreams

Image result for fuzzy moth

Last night I had some more very poignant and interesting (to me at least) dreams. I don’t know if it works this way for other people, but for me I generally have multiple, completely separate dreams each night. They usual seem to be unrelated to one another. For some reason there are some nights when I am just more struck by them than others.

I guess it’s foolish not to acknowledge that part of the reason I am often so interested is when my dreams have something to do with my old boyfriend. I have had prophetic dreams about him in the past and I guess I’m still hoping that dreaming of him is a signal that he will reappear again. We didn’t end things on the best of terms the last time we spoke. But ultimately it was I who was angry with him. A few weeks ago I decided to reach out again, but got no reply. This wasn’t as devastating as I imagined it would be, but I still think about it often. He just doesn’t seem like the type to completely ignore me. Even if he didn’t want anymore contact, I figured he would say so. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows. I suppose I don’t really know him anymore.

Anyway, back to the dreams. In the first dream, I was at a client’s house. (I am a social worker.) For some reason they wanted me to get a broom and clean the spider webs off of their porch. The house was my grandmother’s, but that didn’t seem significant in the dream. I went out with the broom and lifted it up to clean out all the webs in the corners. In the webs there were several large, fuzzy moths. They weren’t caught in the web, more just hanging out in it. I collected them up and was very pleased. (I love those fuzzy headed moths.) I brought them back in to the house and put them in a cage with the children’s guinea pigs, thinking that would be okay for some reason. The guinea pigs ate them. I was very upset.

I looked up what moths and webs could signify. (Not that I really believe anyone knows what symbols in dreams truly mean.) The web could be representing my desire to control everything, or it could mean I feel trapped and unsure of where to go. This fits in nicely with the moth explanation, apparently moths could represent my weakness, character flaws, or fragileness.

So this dream that potentially had something to do with uncertainty and feeling flawed and fragile bled into a dream about my ex-boyfriend. I texted him again and told him that I had just dyed my hair. He responded right away that he was excited to see it and sent me a strange tictok type video of he and his current girlfriend. He apparently hadn’t been ignoring me before. He just never got my last text.

This short, pretty insignificant dream made me so happy. I always feel a sense of energy and excitement when he appears in my dreams. It has been a long time. I had already considered trying to send him a message on Facebook in case he truly didn’t ever get my text, but I haven’t. Now I’m wondering again if I should. I realize that this entire post is just the nonsense ramblings of a creep who can’t get over their ex. I am painfully aware of that. But I still can’t help feeling the way that I do. At least I’ll always have my dreams…

Heavy Dreams

Last night for the second time in only a few days I had a dream about carrying an extremely heavy purse or bag. I found the first one rather amusing. I was still in high school. I was about to drive myself to the school and I was running late. But I stopped to organize my bag because it was ridiculously heavy. I just kept taking out more and more nondescript, random items until I had nearly filled my entire living room.

Last night’s was slightly different. This time I can’t recall exactly where I was. It may have had something to do with school again. The strange part about this one was that when I looked into my bag to try to lighten my load, there was hardly anything in it. I could not understand what was making it so heavy. It seems like once I looked a few times the bag felt lighter though.

I know most people probably view dreams as just random nonsense. But I genuinely believe that my dreams are a glimpse at my inner landscape, my subconscious fears, worries, obsessions. I think it’s worthwhile to at least attempt to decipher them. Even if it’s only the interpretation I come up with that has any significance.

I saw something recently about dreaming and was shocked to learn that serotonin plays a part in remembering your dreams. Considering I’m someone with intense anxiety, which usually means a lack of serotonin, I’m surprised I am so good at remembering my dreams every night. Perhaps it is solely because they matter to me. However, it only strengthens my belief that these nightly lives I lead are important somehow. Especially when they are recurring.

After some brief research, it seems that dreaming about something being heavy is, as could easily be expected, a signal that you are carrying heavy burdens with you. Although I found it interesting that a purse or bag specifically can imply secrets. Given that I have been thinking a lot about secrets and shame recently, it makes sense. My best guess is that these dreams were a metaphor for my anxiety and the heavy weight it puts on my heart and mind.

The first dream was showing me that when I take the time to examine my heavy load, I realize that I have no need to carry most of the things that I have been carrying. It is okay to set them down. The second dream is a little more interesting. There wasn’t anything heavy in my bag. I think this was referring back to a real life scenario I often go through. I often feel so overwhelmed, thinking I have umpteen tasks to complete. But when I actually sit down to list them out, I realize that it’s not as bad as I was imagining. And my heart feels lighter. This is exactly what seemed to be happening in my dream. I felt like my bag was so ridiculously heavy. But when I looked inside I realized there was hardly anything inside. Then the bag felt lighter.

I think both of these dreams were a gentle reminder from my subconscious. All I need to do is be present and really look within to see that there is no reason for my heart to be heavy. There are a few things I burden myself with carrying. But it is time to set those things down. I don’t need to weigh myself down with them anymore. Remaining mindful of what is truly inside each moment, I will see that all is well.

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Just a Dream

I mentioned in another post that I may from time to time share my dreams with you on here. I don’t have anything I’d particularly like to write about today, but I did have a very unsettling, gripping dream. So I thought I might as well share it. Besides writing it out right after I wake up always helps me to remember it better.

In this dream last night I was in some kind of alternate universe. I and some other people were being pursued across this desolate wasteland of a world. I can’t really remember what was going to happen to us if we were caught. The beginnings of this dream are getting blurrier by the moment I’m afraid. I do remember strangely being in the point of view of someone other than myself crawling through very narrow passageways behind walls. They discovered a meth stash. Apparently other people were using these passageways. Then a rat chased them out.

The part that remains crystal clear is a conversation I had with someone I didn’t know. I believe they were once on the side of the people pursuing us. I was talking to them about a boy I used to love. It seemed like he was a main player on the side of the pursuers. He had gone completely insane. I remember asking what had happened to his girlfriend and their son. I was told that he had killed them both the day he went mad. That was also the day when this whole post-apocalyptic nightmare began.

I remember feeling bad for him. I thought the girlfriend deserved it for manipulating him, but I felt bad for the baby who had obviously been innocent. I also felt bad for the boy I loved. I felt bad that he had come to this.

I was resting my head on the shoulder of the person I was talking to. He had his arm around me loosely. I told him how hard it was that I had been rejected in favor of this woman who eventually drove him to insanity. This woman that took advantage of him, latched onto him, sucked his life from him like a leech. I told him about how small that made me feel. Still makes me feel. That I wasn’t good enough. I was even less desirable than someone like that.

I guess I just woke up after that. It has been quite a while since that boy has been a part of my dreams. My subconscious must still be suffering from all the grief he’s caused me. I wonder if I’ll ever stop dreaming of him.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Dreamland

I’ve heard comedians and people makes jokes about how boring it is to listen to other people talk about their dreams. That has always surprised me and made me wonder if people really feel that way. Dreams have always been absolutely fascinating to me. I love hearing about other people’s dreams. It think it provides such an interesting peek into someone’s subconscious mind.

I’ve also always loved metaphors, and I think of dreams as complex metaphors themselves. I know neither science nor psychology has really been able to definitively tell us what dreams are, what they mean, or why we even have them to begin with, but I wholeheartedly believe that they matter. And in my experience whatever you believe matters does matter.

I sometimes am able to use my dreams to guide me toward important insights about myself. They can often lead me to different perspectives on certain situations that have been troubling me. I believe the common reoccurring characters in my dreams are important people in my life or perhaps represent something important to me. I’ve certainly always found mulling over these nightly self-told stories to be worthwhile.

I have been writing down my dreams every morning for around a year now. It can be really helpful in order to remember them more easily and notice patterns or themes within them. For instance, I noticed I dream a lot about my middle school boyfriend whom I only dated for probably three weeks and haven’t spoken to since we graduated. This continues to puzzle me, but I’m sure I’ll discover the reason eventually. I’ve even had prophetic dreams and been able to prove as much by showing where I had written down a similar event occurring in a dream a week before it happened in real life. I have no idea how that happens or what it could possibly mean, if anything.

For all of these reasons and many more I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention, I adore dreams. I feel very connected to my personal dreamscape. Dreaming is like being able to live a whole other life every night. A life where anything is possible. Not to mention that time itself is distorted. In the span of only a few hours we can live an entire lifetime potentially.

Dreams are one of the reasons I decided to study psychology. I don’t understand how anyone is able to disregard them or say they are meaningless nonsense. If our brains are manifesting them, there must be a good reason. At least that’s what I think. So even if it’s true that other people are bored by even the thought of hearing about someone else’s dream, I’m going to keep talking about mine. Because if nothing else, they are at least amusing.

I may even begin posting my dreams on this blog or perhaps another I would create solely for the purpose of sharing them. I would love to have dream discussions and get feedback about what other people think they could mean. Not to mention I would love to read about everyone else’s dreams! Let me know if a dream blog is something you would be interested in or if you have any neat dreams to share with me.