Last night I had a very weird, hellish dream in which I was stuck in a classroom with two of the biggest bullies from my highschool.
They weren’t the only bullies by far, but they were the ones who hurt me the most when I was a kid. It was a pretty horrible school, where everyone — even some of the teachers — joined in the bullying.
The dream felt like being taken back there, only in a college setting.
After being humiliated by a very mean girl, I put my head down on my desk and was very sad. Putting my head down was actually part of the game we were playing in class. Those who didn’t answer questions right had to put their heads down, so they weren’t chosen again.
My teacher noticed that I was upset and I was surprised when she came to me, put her head down next to mine, and expressed sympathy and concern. It was bizarre to me. In real life, no teacher ever cared about me or that I was being bullied. Perhaps if they had, perhaps if just one person had showed me any kindness, my life would have been vastly different.
The professor in my dream said a few very peculiar things. She told me she had been watching me a long time (as in all my life — very strange) and that I had a great laugh. She spoke like a family member, like someone who loved me (though she actually looked nothing like me). When I complained miserably about the bullies, she told me I could change things, which was — again — bizarre.
I suddenly realized I was dreaming and pulled myself out for fear it would become a nightmare.
There are many cultures in which people believe their ancestors watch over them from a spirit world, providing comfort and guidance. Even Catholics believe this.
I have never believed in anything like this — I mean, how boring would it be to sit around watching your
ancestors descendants all the time? But after I woke up, I had the exact feeling that an ancestor, who’d been watching me all my miserable life, felt sorry for me and wanted me to know I was not alone.
The exact feeling.
I am still baffled that she told me I could change things. I think she meant that in a larger sense, as in I could have an impact on people, I could change the world.
I’m a dot in the grand scheme of things. I don’t matter, not even to the other dots. I already learned a long time ago that no one cares about people like me. People like me don’t even get to be human.
One thing I always loved about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was the message behind it, that message being that even the smallest person can make a difference.
In real life, it’s not like that. In real life, smaller, physically weaker people are oppressed and bullied. We live in a society that mocks and belittles women for not being as physically powerful as men — as if physical power were the only thing a person’s worth should be determined by. (Here’s a hint: a person’s worth is not determined by physical strength.) In fact, it’s so awful, women aren’t even allowed to have power fantasies in fiction. We live in a world where it’s feasible that a tiny hobbit can save an entire world, but not a feminine woman (because women have to be masculine to be worth something, apparently). And god help her if she’s a woman of color, because that’s given as even more inconceivable.
So do I live in a world where I can change things? No. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t believe I do. In fact, there’s an entire system in place to make sure I don’t change things. And it extends into the literary world.