Hello, everyone! A couple of weeks ago, local author and dream interpreter, Merri Halma, asked me if Alex, the main character from my novel, Lookout Butte, would be available for an interview. I thought this was a terrific idea, and so did Alex. Below is an excerpt from the interview. I will post more of it later, but you can read it in its entirety on Merri’s blog, Spiritual Musings.
Welcome to another session of Dream Interpretations with Merri Halma. Today we welcome Alex Stewart, a social worker at Louis Ellis Adult Group Home.
Alex: Thank you for having me.
Alex has been having a recurring dream of being with her parents and older brother sitting around the Christmas tree. Alex, you mention feeling invisible, as you watch your parents and brother opening presents. He calls for you to come join them, and you try to move to the couch where they are, and then you start growing. They don’t appear to notice, yet you call to them to notice you. Your words fall on deaf ears. You continue growing, breaking through the roof. It starts to snow, so you do your best to protect them.
Let me remind everyone that each item in the dream is symbolic of the dreamer. Now for our interview with Alex.
Merri: I understand you’ve been having this since your brother’s death, right?
Alex: Yes, well I think so. I always felt like I had the dream before he died, but certainly in the years since then, probably once every six months, at least every year. When I first left for college, I had the dream or some version of it every night for a week.
Merri: What stresses were you experiencing at the time of the dreams?
Alex: I’m not sure about all of them. The last few times, I was stressing over my relationship with Kat. She and I were struggling there for a while, mostly due to my stupidity, but we’re on track right now. It’s funny, the more life throws at us, the better we are, but when everything was going on with school and the new job at Louise Ellis, I was not doing a lot of self-care. I guess the job was also bringing Shawn’s death into the forefront, and I had a lot of unresolved feelings about him. I think about him every day. He was such a cool brother.
Merri: Tell me how this recent dream changed from when you were a child?
Alex: When I was little the dream stopped before I got out from under the tree. I could hear my parents talking from across the room, which comforted me. In college, the dream, it became more stressful when I tried to get their attention and couldn’t. After I started working at Louis Ellis, in the dream I became more protective of my family and Shawn, from the elements, the wind, and sleet in the dream.
Merri: That’s after you broke through the ceiling, correct?
Merri: As a child, after Shawn passed away, did you feel lost? Like you couldn’t say what your feelings were?
Alex: I was lost. My parents were lost, too. I kept my feelings to myself, I guess because I didn’t want to make life harder for them. Our family changed overnight, really. We went from kind of an Ozzy and Harriet existence to everybody for themselves. We didn’t talk about Shawn for a long time. It was hard because, everywhere you looked, Shawn was there. I think we were all scared of making the pain worse for each other.
Merri: You sound helpless, though. Like whatever you do isn’t enough. Is that right? What kind of danger were you seeing in your waking life growing up?
Alex: I guess I was always worried I was going to disappoint my parents. They had already lost one child, and I had to be uber-responsible to make up for that. Even during my “rebellious” phase, where I barely talked to them and got in a lot of arguments with my mom, I was killing it at school, AP Math, Science, and English classes. I won a statewide essay contest. I was on the debate team. And I had a part-time job working at a bookstore. My rebellion was basically being shitty to my mom and ignoring my dad. Also, I smoked for about a year. Stupid, right? Anyway, the biggest fear I had was letting my parents down, but I ended up distancing myself from them in the process. And then I felt more alone because they didn’t see me. They didn’t know me.
Merri: Fear keeps us from opening up to family and friends. You buried yourself in your schoolwork to avoid feeling your fears and as a form of protection. Now that you’re older, are ready you to get to know your parents? Are you ready to feel your feelings?
STAY TUNED FOR ALEX’S ANSWER.