Living in the Middle Place

A 6 a.m. bolt of lightning struck me awake yesterday morning. I sat straight up in bed. I got up and looked out into the storm. I climbed back into bed and tucked the covers tightly around, whispering to the shaking, terrified dog by my bed,

“It’s okay, baby. Everything will be alright.”

I fell back to sleep, but in that high-level dreaming state that one has in the mornings, drifting in and out of sleep, where life and dream weave together.

I forgot about my vivid dreaming until I read this article this morning, and the line “Fuck the Patriarchy” echoed in my head. I thought the article was well-written, and it echoes what I hear a lot of women talking about recently. Reading that reminded me instantly of the same words in my dream.

I dreamt I was in a school, maybe a college. I was a student, somehow, and the classrooms looked like the ones in my middle school growing up. Students were assembling in the room for a political debate. I was wearing cut off jeans, and a t-shirt and dark hoodie. In the pocket of my jeans, I stuffed a stack of political postcards. The postcards caused the pocket to poke out below the cutoff hem of the jeans, their sharp corners jutting into my thigh. I sat in a hard school chair, with a backpack at my side, my legs stretched out in front of me, my feet in black chucks.

A man in a suit approached me, his finger pointed at my lap, punctuating the air.

“You can’t have those in here!” I pulled the postcards out of my pocket, slipped them into my backpack. “No!,” he yells. “You have to wear pants!”

Anger welled up in me. I snatched up my backpack, slinging it over my shoulder and went to another classroom to find pants in my closet. (It’s a dream; Yes, my closet was in the other classroom. I don’t know why.) I walked into the room, the whole time muttering, “Fuck the Patriarchy.” I went to the closet, a whole class watching me, as I rolled open the doors, and started rifling through the stacks of pants on a shelf.

I couldn’t find my jeans, the ones with the rip at the knee. There were only men’s jeans and pants. I realized it was my husband’s closet. I couldn’t find any jeans of my own. I angrily put on a too-large pair of hiking-style pants, with zippers that allow you to unzip the legs and make the pants into shorts. Even the sound of the synthetic material rubbing together at the thighs when I walked back to the debate angered me. I guess I woke up, then, to the storms and light getting brighter in my room.

I try very hard to look on the positive side of things, to find joy and exhibit gratitude in my day-to-day dealings. But I also sometimes struggle a bit with a molten anger, just waiting for a crack in the crust to pour up through. Still, I don’t want to be angry. Not being angry is a decision. One I try to make daily. Sometimes I fail. I am not angry at men. I am not angry at my husband. But I am angry at something. Society? As the author, Catherine Newman, wrote:

I don’t always feel just one way. I’m not always sure. And maybe that’s what it is to be a grown-up—living in the middle place, where you can’t decide quickly about everything. A misanthrope, in love with the world.

In my dream, though, I was shaking and angry and sure. In the morning light, I’m just living in the middle place.

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  1 comment for “Living in the Middle Place

  1. May 30, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I know that middle place well.

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