A Shell of a Man

I had a dream I was at a wedding. I told the bride’s sister, “The days my sisters got married were the happiest days of my life.” A lady who overheard said, “Oh that’s sooo nice.” And I emphasized, genuinely, that they were.

Then the groom and company put on a dramatic skit. It was about how his new self is dragging the shell of his old self around, and it’s getting heavy. The groom played the stage, and he had a twin, shadowing him as the newlywed couple walked together. Another guy played the role of a spiritual judge who could see the old self, like he was privy to seeing this man’s ghost.

The old self was insecure; an immigrant; struggled in school. The new self (the hitched man) was confident, compassionate, generous. The old self couldn’t give—he only took. He was a parasite.

The two selves were ready to duel. The spiritual judge said, “Stop! You cannot execute your old self, you must integrate him. He will be a part of your lives.”

And that’s when our baby woke up crying. Earlier than 7AM. 6:38 to be exact. Do other parents see time in a new, precise way?

I check the clock when our baby conks out and when she wakes up.

In casual conversation, I’ll round to the quarter or half hour, but I know she conked out at 9:06PM, squawked briefly at 10:45, again at 11:38—possibly teething?—and woke at 6:38AM.

Now, I won’t go in til 7AM.  I have a strict rule.

Later, I got to relay this dream to my husband (on a Skype call). I said, “Do you think getting married is like becoming a new person?”

Do we carry the shell/s of our old selves around? Are we aware that we can’t execute them, we must integrate them, and that partners also marry our shells and layers and accumulated complexities of character?

Winter snow falling is a good metaphor for this; fresh layers falling on gray layers, blending molecularly, inextricably binding to form a new body…

About MommyTheorist

Editor, writer, photographer, and new mom
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5 Responses to A Shell of a Man

  1. midtown mommy says:

    enjoyed this post and the snow metaphor. cute picture too =)

  2. snadius says:

    I think it is safe to say that most individuals either carry the shells of their old selves around–or at least the most prominent aspects, or they go out of their way to hide their old selves and that denial of who they were influences their behavior throughout their lives. Seems that either way, we cannot escape our past. Nor should we; as you said, we should integrate who we were with who we are and want to become.

  3. Well put. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

  4. Anita Tinkerbell says:

    I love this dream. Dreams are so important. Do you keep a dream journal? I email my dreams to myself. :)

    • I am not as disciplined at writing with pen and paper as I used to be…. Is anyone? I’d like to. The encouragement helps. And I love sitting with my hand-written journals on rainy days, visiting with my past selves… The journals get more and more valuable as time goes on. If there were a fire, I’d grab them! I keep them next to my bed — filled ones are all in ZipLoc bags, and current ones have place holders where I left off… Now that there’s blogging (and computers) who needs journals? But if you’ve ever tried to find a digital file and had trouble, you know it can be quite frustrating to have ideas lost in the ether.

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