I have not been active in my “craft” for a couple years now. It feels like the environment in which I was immersed – so, like: sight reading/playing, sight reading/singing, score study, conducting, music theory, lesson planning, etc. – was DECADES ago. Or, like, it didn’t even happen. That is how distant it truly seems.
Anyhoo, despite how foreign music has become in my daily life, I still am haunted by dreams where I’m supposed to suddenly play clarinet in a large concert setting. And it’s usually taking place back when I was in college…but not before the devastating series of brain surgeries that robbed me of my: coordination, sensation,and fine motor skills. The dreams usually take place post-2011, when my hands turned to shite. I’m sitting holding my clarinet, sweating and on the very brink of tears, and I can’t read the music quickly enough (or most often not even at all), and my fingers are fumbling all over the keys and tone holes.
The other night, however, was different. I dreamed that instead of playing music, I was actually teaching. Marching band…blecchh. And my post-2011 impairments were present and evident. I was struggling to walk (even short distances) without appearing to have just shotgunned a case of beer and my hands and fingers were as graceful as a two-year-old doing the touch-your-finger-to-your-nose portion of a sobriety test. So anyways, I remember a fragment of the dream where I was in front of a large marching band inside of a dark, cramped, gymnasium trying to get the band’s attention centered and focused. I believe I was clapping my hands and shouting. Then my memory jumps to another fragment where I’m sitting in my old bedroom (from my old house in Akron), and I’m upset because I’ve been fired. I had been “let go” after telling the band to “Shut your mouths, Motherfuckers.” However, as I was sitting in my bedroom my dream-self seemed ABSOLUTELY convinced what I actually said was “Shut your mouths, nerds.” My dream-self then began thinking that I could take this to Judge Judy because I was so sure I never said “mf’ers.” Suddenly, an old friend from college popped into my bedroom and told me that she, in fact, was secretly at the rehearsal in question and had a recording of the entire incident. She also said she would use it in court against me.
As with the other music-related dreams, I woke up upset and annoyed. It wasn’t even the fact that I was verbally combative and abusive to kids that upset me.Sure, Dream-me could have been better at keeping calm and using better language, but the entire “music” theme of the dream caused me to wake up full of anger.
What really drives me bananas is when my mind keeps throwing my dream-self into such anxiety-filled, heartbreaking, hell holes of music-ish scenarios. I wanted so badly to surround my life and career in music, but my life did not turn out that way. My dreams involving music and music education are almost like mini episodes of Black Mirror. There’s an initial innocent tone of familiarity where I’m somehow slightly aware that I’m in a dream and am so thrilled to have a clarinet (or conducting baton) in my hands because since it’s a dream I won’t have any physical impairments. I have this momentary thrill and high from believing that I can actually be IN CONTROL of this dream realm. And then…the dream forces dream-me to continue to experience and feel everything Real-me deals with daily. And I’m talkin’ about the: crappy balance, clumsy arms/hands/fingers, constant pins and needles sensation, etc. So, essentially they’re more like nightmares.
It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’ve been pretty down about things and these dreams (nightmares?) don’t exactly help my situation. My mind, body, and soul feel incredibly restless and I want so badly to find some part of me to contribute to society. I am surrounded by successful people who do things and go places. My boyfriend works full-time but also makes cryptozoology documentaries, my mom works full-time and has been attending these high-level “Women in Leadership” courses, my friends all have full-time jobs and careers they’re passionate about. Maybe I will find something…maybe I won’t. I just really, REALLY don’t want to keep having these Black Mirror-ish type dreams.