I've awoken from a deep sleep and a bad dream.
I can't shake it off.
When I went to bed last night, I had already decided on what I would write this morning. But I can't write it. The feeling of dread from my dream makes it impossible to write of anything else. I don't often have bad dreams. I don't often wake with a sense of terror. That is not to say that I don't, sometimes, rise into a day filled with uncertainties and anxieties - in fact, that's typical. But this was different. A dream that wouldn't, like most, slip away from my mind.
In my dreams, these days, I am the 'now' me. It's been a couple years since I've walked in my dreams. My dreams now have me riding along in my wheelchair, moving in dreams as I move in life. But my dreams are never about the wheelchair and never really about my disability at all. As anyone with a disability knows, there are terrors much more frightening than dealing with life in a wheelchair. This might surprise those who walk, who seem oddly and frightfully attached to one particular form of of locomotion, even though they spent incredible amounts of time on wheels: in cars, on bicycles, on buses. The mere idea of sitting down to get around, a nightmare to others, is simply ordinary fare to me.
My nightmares are always about the behaviour of others. Others with power. Others with hateful agendas. I do not wish to get into the specificity of this dream here. First, the dreams of others bore me and I can't imagine that mine are any more interesting. Second, I'm still to troubled by it to take the chance of giving it life by giving it words. But, what strikes me, as I think about it, is how terrifying 'others' can be. How 'power' in the hands of 'others' is, ultimately, the most terrifying thing we face, as humans.
I go to work today, with a nightmare, curdling in my stomach.
And I wonder if last night someone, anyone, dreamed of me. I wonder if they woke with fear, terrified how I might use and misuse the power I have in their lives. Is someone I supervise sweating about a meeting today? Is someone with a disability worried that I might, because of a bad sleep, be harsh in my judgements today? Is someone somewhere fearful of me?
I had a nightmare about the power of another. Maybe that's because I still lack the courage to have a nightmare about the power I have myself.
So long as you are aware of those possibilities, Dave, you are probably less likely to exercise your power in a way that causes fear in others.
The ideas that you express in your writing are those of a thoughtful person. Someone who makes an effort to interact positively with everyone.
Of course, you may have us all fooled - you may be the absolute King of Crankiness - but I don't think so!
Thank you for your post. It has inspired me and simply reminded me that I have power in every interaction I have. I am inspired to use that power carefully and thoughtfully. You've inspired me to do better than I have and to THINK first, then act. Don't react. Second inspiration in just a couple of weeks from you (bathroom incident). Thank you so much.
What I have come to realize is that every interaction we have with people, whether a physical interaction or a verbal one, has relationship consequences. We either hurt or harm the relationship. I have had many a conversation with my hubby whose stand is that he has the right to say what he is thinking.....always. He's correct; he does have that right. He must be ready, though, for the relationship consequences that come about because of exercising that right. This is true in our interactions with the people we support. Trust is hard to build, but so easy to tear down. Thank you for the reminder.
Powerful and thought-provoking, Dave. Thanks.
The simple fact that you are aware of the possibility makes you far less likely to misuse your power.
Great post Dave.
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