Search Bunsnip.com

bunsnip (at) gmail (dot com)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Past comes back to haunt

I dreamed last night that I received a surprise visit from someone I haven't seen in a very long time. This someone was a friend of mine in high school. A nice girl whom I genuinely liked, but really only as a casual friend -- maybe one step up from a school-only acquaintance. We'd hang out together after school once in awhile, and we shared a hotel room during one or two of our annual school band tours in California. And I really did like her; but I never really valued the friendship the same way she did.

The problem was that she really didn't have very many friends. I may have been it, in fact. And this created an imbalance in our relationship because she needed me more than I needed her. (I believe the ultimate cause of all failed relationships is an imbalance or lack of reciprocity.)

I've always been a rather independent and introverted sort of person, and so while I have enjoyed close relationships with various friends at different times in my life, at the end of the day my best friend has always been myself. In general, I don't feel like I need others to be happy, and I don't like feeling that other people need me to be happy. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy the company or companionship of others, and that those relationships can't give me happiness. They can and do. But at the end of the day, I am and always will be the only person I need.

So, feeling somewhat drowned by this friend's increasing neediness, I began to slowly extricate myself from the friendship, until eventually I just dropped out of her life altogether. I was invited to her mission farewell party, gave some thought to going, but for one reason or another decided not to go, and I never saw her or talked to her again after that.

I felt bad about how I handled that whole thing for a long time, and I still do sometimes, even though I'm not sure I would go back and do things differently if I could. But I haven't really thought about her for a long time until I had that dream last night. Why did she suddenly pop up in my head? What does it mean? Maybe nothing. Though I think dreams can have meaning sometimes, I don't think they always do.

I suppose it doesn't really matter either way. Life weaves in and out of different chapters, and just because the chapters end doesn't mean we can't peek back through them sometimes. Sometimes we can even reopen them again, for better or for worse (for an example of "worse", check out my relationship saga with Specialized).

As for this chapter, I think I'm going to put it safely back on the shelf for now.


 Subscribe to Bunsnip

14 comments:

Trovan said...

I agree with you 100% on that reciprocity thing. At least with the good things. With bad things, not so much. :-)

I don really agree that you are the only person you need. You probably feel that way, and a lot of times it really seems that way. But if you were truly alone for a length of time, I am willing to bet you would feel the need to be in contact with others. "No man is an island", or something like that. I'm actually an archipelago.

Trovan said...

I agree with you 100% on that reciprocity thing. At least with the good things. With bad things, not so much. :-)

I don really agree that you are the only person you need. You probably feel that way, and a lot of times it really seems that way. But if you were truly alone for a length of time, I am willing to bet you would feel the need to be in contact with others. "No man is an island", or something like that. I'm actually an archipelago.

Loralee Choate said...

I would give my left boob to be my own best friend. (And my left boob cost a pretty penny, believe you me.)

I also know that neediness on the part of end of the relationship can destroy a friendship.

I am not sure what the dream means. I think it is probably just a manifestation about your slight guilt. But what do I know? Hell, a few weeks ago I dreamed I was a bucket of wheat so it is obviously not my best subject. :S

Sov said...

Some friends are transitory. This is a sad fact of life, but it's true. People grow apart. I had a friend when I was younger that lived next door to me. We were the same age, had the same interests, and spent all out time together. Later in life, we simply grew apart. Our ideals changed, and we stopped speaking. I haven't seen or heard from him in almost ten years. Last year, I got the opportunity to re-open a dialog with him. I decided against it. We no longer have anything in common. The past is a chapter that's already been read. Sometimes you have to turn the page and read on.

Dreams don't mean anything. This person popped into your head simply because some random neuron fired, that's all. It's interesting to think about though.

Claire said...

Sov and I have long had different opinions regarding the veracity and import of dreams, but that's because he lives with his feet firmly planted on the granite of Planet Skeptic, while I flutter through the airy clouds of Planet "Sure, why not?" So my take is more in line with Loralee's...dreams can be powerful things, if only as tools for introspection and blog-generation.

However, yes, some friends are transitory...but you can't get away from yourself, so it's important to be friends with you. The past is indeed a chapter that's already been read, but you never know until you've read on if it was a vignette or foreshadowing.

I can empathize with the tendency toward self-sufficiency; although I am, God help us all, a "people person," when the lights go out and the kettle goes cold, it's me, myself and I blowing out the candles and tying the rope to the shotgun pointed at the door. Other people have, over the course of my life, proven distressingly essential, if only for vetting purposes ("Should I wear this?" "No, you should burn it."). Which is not to say that people are valuable only in direct proportion to their usefulness to your needs, because there are certain detectable (albeit intangible) benefits to be had from close relationships; rather, I think you can be an island and make it just fine as long as you have a dock, a heliport, and maybe one of those moonpool things so that your henchmen can make deliveries via submarine.

Sov said...

Dreams are nothing more than your brain chugging along without any new stimuli. When you're awake, you have vision and sound and hearing and olfactory and tactile senses to provide your brain with information, which it catalogs according to experience and knowledge. When you're asleep, the brain no longer has this new information, so it dredges up old stuff contained within itself to provide perspective. That's why most dreams tend to be weird or outrageous in some way... there are no specific rules.

What dreams are NOT are some mystical portal to greater understanding, or subconscious desires to possess your mother, or any of that other nonsense. They may give you ideas or entertainment, but mostly they're just pointless excursions into your own mind. They're your brain on station keeping.

Sra said...

I feel somewhere in the middle on the dreams having meaning thing. For one thing, like Sov I am also pretty grounded on Planet Skeptic. Ian thinks I am the Scully to his Mulder, and in many ways he's right.

I guess I'm a skeptic in that I'm not going to believe in something just because it would be cool if it were true. I need evidence. But I'm also not going to say that a fantastical notion couldn't be true, even absent of evidence. As they say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. (I hate when religious folk use this saying as faith confirmation, but it is a good saying anyway.) And besides, all you have to do is take a physics class to see that some pretty weird shit actually happens in the world.

So for dreams, I agree with Sov that they are neurons firing, but I feel like a completely clinical description of them makes us seem too much like computers. We are computers, in a way, but we are also more complicated than that. I'm not going to call the difference a "soul", because I'm not even sure if we have souls, but their is something that gives us personality and identity. If that something is a part of science we don't yet understand (as it probably is), then cool, maybe dreams don't ever have meaning.

But what does it even mean to have meaning? Maybe a dream has meaning to us because it brings us clarity about something we've had going on through our subconscious. Why not? Why can't random neuron firings reveal things about what's deep in our minds? I'm not saying that they do, I'm just saying that they could. And even if they don't, maybe it's the interpretation that provides the meaning rather than the meaning being there to begin with.

I hope some of this rambling makes sense.

Sra said...

Shit, I used the wrong form of there/their/they're. I hope nobody noticed and thought less of me. Even grammar nazis are imperfect.

Sra said...

Oh, and as for islands and boobs:

I think I'd probably keep my boob and then rely on other people to make me happy. But that's just because I'm vain.

On the islands, Ian and I were looking in a book about the islands of some see that starts with an A but whose name I can't remember, except it's not Aleutian. Okay, so anyway, there was a picture of a small island with one home built on it, and we supposed whoever owned the home owned the whole island. It was beautiful, and Ian said "How great would it be to live there?" But in his own words. And I said, "Oh man, that's too secluded, I need to be able to move into the land!" But in my own words. And I guess that's when I realized that I might need something other than myself after all. Even if that something is just the lonely impersonality of a big city with anonymous people living their lives around me.

Sra said...

Shit now I used the wrong form of see/sea. Sumbitch!

Sra said...

Shit now I used the wrong form of see/sea. Sumbitch!

Sra said...

I feel somewhere in the middle on the dreams having meaning thing. For one thing, like Sov I am also pretty grounded on Planet Skeptic. Ian thinks I am the Scully to his Mulder, and in many ways he's right.

I guess I'm a skeptic in that I'm not going to believe in something just because it would be cool if it were true. I need evidence. But I'm also not going to say that a fantastical notion couldn't be true, even absent of evidence. As they say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. (I hate when religious folk use this saying as faith confirmation, but it is a good saying anyway.) And besides, all you have to do is take a physics class to see that some pretty weird shit actually happens in the world.

So for dreams, I agree with Sov that they are neurons firing, but I feel like a completely clinical description of them makes us seem too much like computers. We are computers, in a way, but we are also more complicated than that. I'm not going to call the difference a "soul", because I'm not even sure if we have souls, but their is something that gives us personality and identity. If that something is a part of science we don't yet understand (as it probably is), then cool, maybe dreams don't ever have meaning.

But what does it even mean to have meaning? Maybe a dream has meaning to us because it brings us clarity about something we've had going on through our subconscious. Why not? Why can't random neuron firings reveal things about what's deep in our minds? I'm not saying that they do, I'm just saying that they could. And even if they don't, maybe it's the interpretation that provides the meaning rather than the meaning being there to begin with.

I hope some of this rambling makes sense.

Sov said...

Dreams are nothing more than your brain chugging along without any new stimuli. When you're awake, you have vision and sound and hearing and olfactory and tactile senses to provide your brain with information, which it catalogs according to experience and knowledge. When you're asleep, the brain no longer has this new information, so it dredges up old stuff contained within itself to provide perspective. That's why most dreams tend to be weird or outrageous in some way... there are no specific rules.

What dreams are NOT are some mystical portal to greater understanding, or subconscious desires to possess your mother, or any of that other nonsense. They may give you ideas or entertainment, but mostly they're just pointless excursions into your own mind. They're your brain on station keeping.

Claire said...

Sov and I have long had different opinions regarding the veracity and import of dreams, but that's because he lives with his feet firmly planted on the granite of Planet Skeptic, while I flutter through the airy clouds of Planet "Sure, why not?" So my take is more in line with Loralee's...dreams can be powerful things, if only as tools for introspection and blog-generation.

However, yes, some friends are transitory...but you can't get away from yourself, so it's important to be friends with you. The past is indeed a chapter that's already been read, but you never know until you've read on if it was a vignette or foreshadowing.

I can empathize with the tendency toward self-sufficiency; although I am, God help us all, a "people person," when the lights go out and the kettle goes cold, it's me, myself and I blowing out the candles and tying the rope to the shotgun pointed at the door. Other people have, over the course of my life, proven distressingly essential, if only for vetting purposes ("Should I wear this?" "No, you should burn it."). Which is not to say that people are valuable only in direct proportion to their usefulness to your needs, because there are certain detectable (albeit intangible) benefits to be had from close relationships; rather, I think you can be an island and make it just fine as long as you have a dock, a heliport, and maybe one of those moonpool things so that your henchmen can make deliveries via submarine.

Post a Comment