Dream of the Month (November 1999)
- Title: Trading Places
- Date of the Dream: 10/7/1999 (mailed Thursday, 07 October 1999)
We entered an area with a huge array of glass cages holding small animals such as guinea pigs. My partner was with me and commented on how expensive that must have been to make. I started to agree, and then was told the cages had been made of recycled piano cases.
We came to a tall cage and I saw some things of mine in the bottom of the cage. During this time, I had somehow transformed into a black woman, and she had changed into me. I figured the only way I could get into the cage was to climb over the top. It was difficult and scary to do this. There were shelves to put my feet on, but I wasn’t confident in their ability to hold me. I quickly and roughly jumped to the floor of the cage. There, amidst all the wood shavings and animal droppings were the contents of my makeup bag. I collected my things, and was able to reach up and undo a catch from the inside that opened a door to get out of the cage.
Coming out, I wanted nothing more than to shampoo the cage debris out of my hair. I was hesitant to do so, because my black hair had been beautifully straightened, and I didn’t have the tools or ability to return it to that state. I began to admire myself in the mirror. I believed I looked fierce, big and beautiful. Then the woman with whom I had traded places came in to show me where all the hair products were. We seemed to be in a cluttered attic room. She then got some grits started for me. I went into the other room, looking around the clutter, wondering how I could make things better. I remembered the grits on the griddle and I quickly went in and turned them. They had been slightly burned, but would do, except for a patch of batter that had never gotten moistened. The woman came back and congratulated me on the grits, but we both saw that dry area and knew it shouldn’t be that way.
- Significant life event: Taking meds to help aid me in becoming pregnant
- Personal concerns/issues: Feeling desparate to change my life. Thought about what another person would do in my place, to see if I could harness that motivation to change.
- Associations: The small animals on display in glass cages could be the portions of my life I wish to free? Becoming someone else seems related to my waking thoughts of what another person would do with my life. The hair concerns could just be ingrained from my profession. It seems significant, my troubles with the grits. It was like they would do, they might even be good, but there was an untouched area. I think that could be symbolic of my life, realizing there is a lack somewhere.
- Pen Name: Alaing
Dr. Holloway's Comments:
Identifying Characteristics: Caged animals often represent neglected aspects of the personality. A “new self” implies the timely capacity to bring new potentials to bear on a problem or issue.
This dream contrasts the constructed aspects of life with the more essential elements. The caged guinea pigs may represent life experiments; the trials and errors by which you have achieved some advantages and a measure of security. Ironically, the life we construct can also have aspects of a cage – but only if we fail to keep our flexibility. We all tend to rely on our “big guns,” the things we know well and feel good about, and sometimes forget the original self in it’s power, beauty and richness. The dream suggests that it may be easier to get out of your cage than it was to get into it, but perhaps what you are clinging to and trying to save is not as essential to your happiness as you may believe. In order to make the changes you’re hoping for, it will require some sorting and clearing of your mind. Since the debris in your hair is a remnant of the cage, this suggests that some limiting thoughts may still be in conflict with what you want to create, and the way you would like to feel. If the cooking grits represent the alchemy of change, then you’ll need to focus on this more generously, and allow yourself to include your deepest unspoken feelings in the recipe for change.