The dream was emotionally detailed to the point where my dream-self wondered how my newly salvaged and loving relationship with my ex could possibly be real, which of course it wasn’t. The dream involved a family trip to Mexico in which he and I held hands and walked along the beach. My mom exchanged jokes with him, and we all laughed together in the sun. Later on in the dream, I lay awake in bed in a huge quiet house, trying to muster the strength to pretty myself up and find him in his bedroom to profess my love and demand snuggles. I worried my new short hair would make me seem distant and unfamiliar to him and he’d turn me away, but eventually I found the strength to put on a short royal blue dress despite my hatred of jewel tones (honestly, I think this is the same dress Lace wore in episode 2 of The Bachelor on the group date) and head to his room to complete my mission. I eagerly bounded down the stairs, nervous but exhilarated by all the possibilities that rested on this interaction, when I ran into his mom. She wore an ethereal white gauzy nightgown and hugged me warmly, assuring me all was forgotten and I was forgiven. I then ran into one of his sisters who was certainly surprised to see me, but also kind and forgiving. Then the dream ended. I never got to ask for a second shot, because I think even my dream self knew that wasn’t something that could or should ever happen.
I’m judging myself because while he was my first love, and we went through a lot of growing pains together, we just weren’t a good match. I’m not going to speak like a starlet with an infamous Hollywood breakup and preach to you that he’s a great guy and I only wish him the best. Some days I’m certainly in that mindset, and other days I’m not. While I know he shouldn’t be my boyfriend, I do get irritated with him when his current girlfriend and I can get along great at a party, and he can’t seem to put the past aside to be civil. My skin crawls when all I receive from him at social events is a light pat on the shoulder and a condescending, “It’s good to see you.” No shit! Because we were best friends for years before we even dated! And then I judge myself for that! Why do I care? My life is full of friends and people who love me without the sticky torrid past.
I find myself truly embarrassed even posting this online, because a vast majority of you readers will know exactly whom I’m talking about. But I’m choosing to post because I don’t think I’m alone here. I think our subconscious likes to shake things up and remind us of how far we’ve come, especially when our conscious selves don’t always see that. As in, I’m not taking this dream as me wanting to get back together with an old flame. I’m taking this dream as a reminder that I’m not the same girl today that I was in that relationship. I’m taking it as a message that I am forgiven for the mistakes that I made in the chaos of my first real relationship, and that it’s okay that I made them in the first place. I’m confused by it, but not blowing this dream up to be more than it is. I’m not a clairvoyant. I didn’t see the future. I saw some parallel universe where I was okay with all of it. Sometimes I still feel ashamed for the times when I went out of my way to hurt him, or when I put pressure on him to fix every situation. Who was I to demand that a 22-year old boy make me happy? Who was I to make him pick up my anxious 4 a.m. phone calls, a temper tantrum looming on the horizon if he didn’t answer? I don’t know if it’s simply maturity or my low dose of Lexapro, but looking back at these behaviors is laughable now.
It’s kind of liberating when you see your “type” changing. My first love was a brawny, beautiful, dramatic, artistic type. He looked great in a suit, but preferred Birkenstocks and a Hanes tee to real clothes. Romantic gestures came naturally to him, and he had an ability to make you smile like a moron wondering how you possibly got to be the girl that gets songs written about her. My type now? I like wiry guys who know how to write code and take logical steps like the simple act of asking Siri what the weather is before getting dressed for work or going to Google when they need an answer. I like guys who stumble over their words or laugh nervously around me, who tell me I’m beautiful in a way that no playwright or poet has ever written before.
So, I had a detailed romantic dream about my ex, and through the sea of judgment, I’m trying to take a lesson from it or something. Anyway, grown-upping is hard.