Saturday, July 14, 2007
The Cleanest Cut

I've been dreaming heavily again. I know a few of the people who read this blog don't go in for the dream-as-cosmic-hint theory, and I suppose I don't either. But I do think that when the brain gets caught talking to itself, especially when you catch a snippet of something that seems relevant, it can be useful -- or at least interesting -- to consider what it might mean.

This morning I had a dream in which I was asleep and dreaming. In my dream I woke up from the dream-dream with the absolute conviction that I no longer needed my right foot and would be better off without it. And still in the groggy half-dreaming state within my real dream, I grabbed a knife that happened to be sitting next to my bed and cleaved my foot cleanly away. It was like cutting through hard cheese. It didn't bleed; it didn't hurt. I remember seeing the cross-section of meat and bone, and I remember its weight in my hand. And no sooner had I made the chop, I realized that cutting my foot off was actually a pretty stupid thing to do. I still used it a lot, and whatever had convinced me that it was no longer useful had failed to take into account that in any case it helped more than it hurt. I had barely finished cutting when intense regret set in. I wanted nothing but to put it back the way it was.

So I was faced with a dilemma. I tried to put my foot back in place with the help of a tightly-wound bandage, and had a wander around an unfamiliar city (yes, walking on my severed foot, with a minimum of difficulty) while debating whether I should call my mother and tell her that I'd cut off my foot and probably needed some medical attention. But I was uninsured, you see, and getting my foot reattached would probably be awfully expensive -- especially since I'd cut it off intentionally and all. And I thought maybe I should just wait and see if it would heal itself.

And then I woke up in real life. I spent a few minutes wiggling my toes with relief.

Cutting things away has become a major theme in recent months, and it's intensified in the last few weeks. I'm getting rid of so much. Everything has come into question: possessions, attitudes, relationships, habits -- there's less of "me" now than at any point in my adult life so far. Some of these things have meant a lot to me in the past. Some of them I'd never have thought I'd consider cutting off. All of it has been part of my life and my identity over the past few years. All of it has been part of me.

Am I going to cut too enthusiastically and regret it afterwards?
4:30 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
|