After writing my last post, one thing that struck me was just how early in my transition the 'evening meal' dream had popped into my imagination.
At the end of 2008 most people in my life still did not know that I considered myself female. My parents and my partner knew, and that was about it. I was still hoping that, despite very negative first reactions, the full horror of losing everyone from my life could be averted. That somehow my parents and M--- would embrace this new version of me, and find the rediscovery rewarding. If asked then what I most wanted, I would have said, 'To keep the people I love'.
I shouldn't have been imagining anything different, certainly not a future without them, a future in which I was a fully-formed woman with friends who had accepted me. And yet my subconscious mind had ignored my conscious desires, and had forged ahead; it had set up this mature and highly realistic vision of a new life in a new setting, in which I knew people of substance, and was apparently unassailable.
Looking back, I think the 'evening meal' dream had a hugely supportive effect. I must have hugged it to me. It got me through a bleak winter in which I had to stand alone, whirled naked by events, beseiged by questions and all the guilt and pressure that was being loaded onto me. It offered a warm, candlelit future in which I was not only materially secure - certainly independent enough to gently push away an even more affluent life with the Derek in the dream - but emotionally secure, and obviously in good health, with at least one close and trusted friend. It may be a dream about keeping my independence intact, but I also think it's about being wanted and sought after, and not rejected.
There were other elements of this dream, or perhaps they were separate dreams about the same future.
In one, I am walking through the churchyard in my imaginary village, and encounter a teenage girl silently crying. Without a second's thought, I stop, sit beside her, and ask what is wrong - something I could not possibly do in real life at that time, because she'd have seen me as a slightly odd middle-aged bloke. But in the dream it's woman to woman. It all comes out. I succeed in comforting her, and I walk her home past my house, and I tell her that she can drop in for a chat any time. And she does; and we become firm friends; I get to know her parents and family; and it turns out that she had been unhappy for years past, and that I have turned her life round. And this wins me the respect of the other young people in the village, who feel they have found an understanding ally. And not just the young people: everyone gets to know about my good deed, and sees me as a person they can confide in.
What's all this about? I'd guess that it's a reaction to being distrusted and put at arm's length. Perhaps I wanted to comfort M--- in much the same way, and mend our fracturing relationship. Perhaps I wanted to be well-regarded, and not someone from whom people had withdrawn in confusion, bewilderment or disgust.
The third dream is about my 'daytime job'. It seems that somehow I have become attached to the main newspaper in Barnstaple. (I haven't a clue how that would happen, or how one would really work for a newspaper) I cover community events for all of north Cornwall and north Devon, including civic and military occasions. And occasionally other types of story, where especial tact and diplomacy are needed. I drive around in a distinctive car (this dream was pre-Fiona, but Fiona is the car in recent versions!), and I'm well-known. The dream has had me charming the whiskers off angry farmers, and scaring myself to death taking part in helicopter rides offshore, but usually it's about a big summer event in sunny Bude, where a festival is being held. In the dream, I'm not only reporting it; I'm involved in the running of this festival, which includes live performances in a packed seafront arena (I hasten to say that this arena doesn't exist in real life!); and I have to be centre-stage from time to time to make announcements, and introduce the next big act. And at the climax of the dream, I am persuaded by an anxious management to stand in for a famous singer who can't come. And of course I sing my heart out, staggering everyone with the power of my voice.
This seems easier to analyse. Like any teenager, I fancied myself as a performing megastar, and this is the eventual and long-delayed chance for fame and success. Sheer showing-off.
But I also think there are deeper things here. I really do have an ambition to sing well, in operatic roles, and to do it in a strong and authentic female voice. That is not an absurd impossibility. I'm sure that with training I could be a credible contralto, even if I am far too old to embark on any kind of career. This is on the back-burner in real life. As for the acclaim, well, I'm not at all hungry for it, even if being well-known for some definite talent might be very pleasant in some respects. A moment of delighted applause for a one-off, unrehearsed performance is one thing; commitment to the rigours of an ongoing career is quite another. So how come I have a dream devoted to finding unexpected singing success?
In her comment, Shirley Anne speculated about whether the 'evening meal' dream might be an indicator of my current approach to relationships. I don't think so, because it pre-dated eveything; although it's still a relevant dream that may yet become true. It involves a potentially awkward situation, a challenge, that has to be faced up to. So does the 'singing star' dream. Except that instead of refusing to stand in, I have leapt onto the stage and delivered the performance of a lifetime.
I think this is all a metaphor for my future life. I think I should be getting ready for some big moment of opportunity. Clearly my subconscious is already prepared and waiting.