Every now and then I have dreams that unleash emotions. Most of the time my dreams are vivid images, frequently with a narrative thread that ties them together.
Last night’s dream was very emotional
I was a teacher at an art school. New students were arriving at a place where they received individual orientation and where they were able to get answers to their questions. To arrive at the orientation room, the students had to walk down narrow brick steps into a rustic meeting room. The walls were whitewashed brick. In the center of the room there was a light box to display students’ film slides.
I was showing the students some of my own photographs; photographs with which I was intimately familiar. However as I was showing them, it was as if I was seeing them for the first time. I saw them in the light of a different reality that the one that existed for me at the instant the photograph was snapped. The photographs showed happier times than I remembered. In showing them to the students, I had this sense of loss. Loss of the moments from long ago which my self-made barriers filtered out.
I awoke with such sadness.
Being a sibling of an autistic individual
I am not a person who shirks responsibility. However, I wonder if having an autistic brother and being immersed in that family dynamic, contributed to my lack of full appreciation of the moment. Did my defense mechanisms set up back then deaden my emotions?
There are plenty of mixed emotions for siblings of autistic individuals. I think it is natural to set up barriers to guard against vulnerability. Having a severely handicapped person in a family is not the only trigger for setting up defenses. There are many without autistic siblings, who look back and wish they saw things back then in a clearer light. Perhaps it is the human condition. Many novels and plays have been written about misunderstandings of a moment.
Rose colored glasses?
The general wisdom is, positive attitudes are healthy and make for happier and longer life. What about the person who protected himself against vulnerability in youth and now realizes that he paid a price? Loss is hardly commensurate with happy feelings.
Rose colored glasses are for looking to the future. The past eventually recedes into sepia tones.