Posted by: Marie | November 20, 2009

(188) Showing my face around

Post #188
[Private journal entry written the morning of Sunday, July 19, 2009]

I had a dream last night . . .

My dreams often share a recurrent theme . . . I will go into the garage or the basement or some back room of my house and discover a whole bunch of small animals in cages and terrariums (gerbils, cats, small dogs, fish, frogs, etc.) That is when I remember that I was supposed to be taking care of them.

Native by Martin Chen

Native by Martin Chen

At this point in my dream, either I will be horrified because I had forgotten about them – meaning they have been without food or water or a cleaned cage for days – meaning I will subsequently discover gruesome casualties of my negligence as I scramble to save those that can be saved.

Or, in the other version of my dream, I will feel “on top of things”. I will think to myself, “Oh, I better feed them before I forget.” In this latter version, the animals are in great health and very content.

I have been having these dreams for at least 20 years. I have learned that they reflect how I am caring for myself emotionally. If I’m currently taking care of myself, the dreams are pleasant. If I’m not, the dreams are terrifying and sickening.

Most of the time, my dreams follow the first variation. However, the dream last night followed the second variation. I woke up from the dream with a strong sense of well-being. That is a very good thing, indeed – something worth celebrating.


I have been participating in a group for aspiring bloggers. We all share what we have learned so that we all can become better bloggers.

At the inaugural meeting in March, we were supposed to introduce ourselves to everyone and describe the focus of our blogs. When it came to my turn, I mumbled something about my blog being “a documentary on my experiences in therapy”. I quietly declined to share the name or url address of my blog – I wasn’t sure I could face the group again if I knew they had read my blog . . .

Then, in May, I asked for ideas on how to handle the confusion that comes from having a time lag between the date I write the journal entries and the date I publish them to the blog. I spoke in very generic terms about the subject matter. However, at the end of the meeting, I did briefly mention the url address of my blog and invited any post-meeting feedback they might have – and I warned them the subject matter was “raw” and that they would be “entering my blog at their own risk”.

In June, when I introduced myself to some new members, I was feeling really brave and described the subject matter of my blog as “how I am dealing with the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse”. Whew! I said it, just like that, with only one minor stutter. During that same meeting, the group pulled my blog up on the computer screen and did some critiquing.

Can you believe it? I sat there with the five other attendees (and they all five happened to be men) and reviewed my blog – my words were right there on the screen – with me, and the five men, all together in one room. And, I didn’t die or melt or anything awful like that.

The guys were all very respectful and their feedback was positive and helpful. It was a big moment for me — a healing moment. I doubt they have any idea how much they helped me, unless they happen to read it here. (If so, thanks so much, guys . . .)

So, I’m slowly starting to feel less like I have something to hide. In my own mind, this “affliction” is less shameful. I’m starting to care less about keeping the truth from people – about only and always projecting the “nothing’s wrong here” face to the world. It’s starting to feel possible for me to share what’s going on with me with people in my three-dimensional world.

I remember the first time I pulled together enough courage to expose the tiniest bit of my shame to someone – I had to do it through a written note to my therapist – I couldn’t even speak it out loud. That was only a tad more than 16 months ago. I’ve come a long way, baby!

In fact, I’m feeling so brave that, today, I changed my gravatar to a current close-up photo of myself – someone could recognize me – but that would be okay, I have decided. If it happens, I’ll deal with it.

Quotes 099


  1. You’ve made huge steps. Celebration is in order!

    • Thank you so much, Evan!

      – Marie

  2. This is so beautiful to read, Marie. And your generosity in sharing it gives hope to readers who are at the starting point of their journey. You are doing good work for yourself here, but never underestimate how much hope your progress can give to someone who is finding the courage to start down this long and challenging path.

    • Hi, David –

      Thank you for your generous and supportive words . . . the benefit is two fold for me: I am gaining a better understanding of what happened so I can shift my current experience, and I am finding healing in the sharing.

      I’m just glad that others find reading my story helpful. It makes the effort of maintaining a blog very worthwhile.

      – Marie

  3. I think recurring dreams are important. Mine frequently have many little kids or teens in them that I’m supposed to take care of… somewhat similar to your animals.

    Great that you feel like you don’t need to hide! This is wonderful!

    • Hi, Paul –

      Thank you for the encouraging words!

      Does the outcome of your dreams shift as your mental condition fluctuates?

      – Marie

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