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February 7, 2012

I think last night’s dream was a mixture of the a Law and Order: SVU episode I saw last night and my own anxiety about breastfeeding (although, my anxiety basically stems from the fear of painful, cracked nipples, and is not directed toward other people).


I am in a store. Or maybe a library. It’s a public space with a lot of people, and I work there. Envision a Blockbuster video rental store. There are people milling about, looking through aisles, and there are some cashiers who work behind a very tall desk. I am wandering around the store, talking to customers and putting things away. I notice two people with two children, and immediately recognize them as my own parents (they are not my real, waking-life parents). The children they are with are older–say, 9 and 11 or so–and the younger one keeps tugging at the mother’s shirt. After she finishes talking to me, the mother slips out of all of her clothes and lies down in a corner with her fully-clothed 9-year-old to nurse her. The 11-year-old brother keeps a lookout to make sure nothing bad happens to them. The dad (played by John Boy Walton, who was on SVU last night as a murderer with syphilis) strips down, too, and sits with his legs crossed facing the wall, with his back touching the mother. Skin-to-skin contact is exceedingly important in breastfeeding, they tell me, and he is giving the mother moral support by being naked with her. I am astonished. I haven’t seen these people (supposedly my parents) in years, and here they are, naked and breastfeeding their 4th grader in public.

At first I don’t know what to do. Obviously, people see them and go to the cash register to complain. I’m torn because they are my parents, but I fully recognize their behavior is weird and inappropriate for the store.  I try to reason with them but the dad grows angry quickly, blaming society and people like me for all the problems in the world. They are just trying to feed their child the way nature intended! I retaliate and yell back about how they never did that with me, and my “dad” replied, “I know, and I regret it every day. That’s where we went wrong.” My mother, silent and naked all this time, looks up from her position on the floor and nods.

“It was after you went away that we realized we needed to change the way we parent. We didn’t want them growing up like you.”

I know I should probably be really hurt and sad, but I’m just really pissed off now, because I’m pretty sure I’m FINE. So, I tell them that in so many words. They cry some more, put on their clothes, and leave. I’m happy to see them go.


I’m at my friend Lisa’s birthday party when I notice something is strange about her ears. They look all red and swollen. I ask her what the problem might be, and she told me about her rare and serious condition in which any contact with cold weather makes her body parts fall off. She had to have her ears reattached the other day because of it. I’m shocked! All our lives she’d been going out in cold weather–why now? She was just as surprised, and stated calmly that there was only a 9% survival rate. Eventually, she tells me, all her body parts would crumble, leaving her dead.

I realize then that the birthday party is really a funeral for the living. It is her way of saying goodbye to all her friends. I ask her, “Why don’t you just move to someplace tropical so that you’ll never be cold?” Apparently this hadn’t dawned on her, any of her friends, or her parents. “I guess…it just seems so hard.”

“Well, it seems better than dying! With the added bonus of warm weather being a requirement. You’d have a prescription to be in the sunshine for the rest of your life. Sounds kind of great to me.”

She sighs. It seems like she kind of likes having an incurable illness. So, I give up and decide to just enjoy the party.




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