The Dream Weaver

We can learn how to be unbeatable.

We can learn how to be unbeatable.

As the clock ticked down on my marriage, I was a total wreck of a human being.

I faked it well. To friends. To family. To co-workers.

I can fake a lot of things well.

But every single day was shitty. Suffocating. All I wanted was to feel like the person I married wanted me in her life. But that almost never happened anymore. It had been going on so long, I forgot what the old “normal” even felt like.

Sometimes she’d be extra-cold in the morning and I’d stand in my kitchen and cry before driving to work.

Sometimes she’d be extra-cold at night and go to bed without saying goodnight and she’d walk around our bedroom above me—each footstep a kick to the face. Sometimes I’d cry then, too.

It was extra pathetic.

But I like to talk about it because it’s embarrassing and I think it’s important to unload that stuff. I spent so many years not crying that I think I was saving it up for moments just like that. Similarly, I spent so many years wearing masks and hiding things about myself that I think I was saving up these embarrassing stories for moments just like this.

Men aren’t supposed to cry. Not the tough ones anyway.

Maybe I’m not tough.

The Karate Kid wasn’t tough. Daniel was getting his ass handed to him by the Cobra Kai until Mr. Miyagi morphed him into the champion of the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament.

Maybe I can learn The Crane Technique like Daniel.

I’m being obnoxious. But I’m also being serious. I don’t know whether I’m tough. Probably depends on how we define it.

But I’m beginning to believe very strongly that we can be anything we want or need to be.

So if the world needs me to be tough, I will be.

After all, I don’t cry much anymore.

The Wrong Side of the Bed

I felt super-shitty when I woke up this morning. And it’s not because I drank too much for St. Patrick’s Day. (I did not.)

It was because I had a very lucid dream about my ex-wife and she was upset with me.

It felt just like all of those mornings and nights where I was desperate to earn a smile or a hug or some kind of acknowledgement or approval, but never did.

I don’t remember even one detail from the dream. I only know she was upset with me. But more importantly, I cared.

I cared so much.

So, I woke up this morning a total wreck. Just like I was a year ago in the final hours and days of our dying marriage.

Why do I care?

I don’t know why I care. Habit? Programming I haven’t fully purged?

It’s really not important. I got cleaned up and started focusing on my day and I feel fine now.

But the memory of feeling horrible stuck with me. All because my ex-wife, whose approval I could never win, was living in my subconscious.

You’re not good enough!

This is good news.

That I can go from innocently living my life to feeling absolutely horrible because an imaginary version of someone was upset with me.

THAT’s how powerful my mind is.

It can take something that isn’t real and make it real.

I’m not a huge fan of Tony Robbins-like rah-rah speeches about the power of positive thinking. I don’t like corny things.

But I’m right about this.

I must be.

I wish you could have felt it, too. These extraordinarily powerful feelings because of something that didn’t even happen.

It’s good news.

It means I can choose how I feel.

It means I get to decide who I want to be.

It means I can live my dreams.

It means I can make the impossible possible.

And I don’t know much.

But I think it means you can, too.

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42 thoughts on “The Dream Weaver

  1. mel says:

    I’ve never once thought about using the power of my mind like that. I’ve conjured some vivid shit, Matt. That truly and deeply affected me. I’ve never once thought about turning it on myself. Great point, friend. Awesome.

    Like

  2. Have you ever had an “intimate” dream about your ex? they’re awful and (sheepishly) kinda nice at the same time. I can spend a LOT of time analyzing my own subconscious or I can take that same energy and put it towards something more forward focused. I usually decide to dress up a little, Spend more time on my make up and choose fun outings for myself, like lunch or whatever. Like I did today. :-p

    I need to petition WP to create a “love” button. It’s just not enough to like them sometimes.

    Like

  3. v0brien says:

    I’ve had my fair share of good ole fall-to-your-knees crying episodes. Sometimes it’s a necessary release. Truly the mind is powerful. And I like that you’ve given me something else to ponder. I love your words.

    Like

  4. Janelle says:

    You know more than you accept credit for and are more powerful than you realize. Through the years and experiencing the ups and downs in my own life, the only thing I truly control is how I feel. Adjusting my attitude and expectations does have a direct impact on my days. Sometimes it’s a lot harder to let go and choose to be happy.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Yeah. Some days it’s really hard. I’m exceptional at the self pity thing sometimes. Gotta choose it.

      Like

      • Janelle says:

        Oh, I certainly don’t see you as wallowing in self pity and hope I did not imply that you need to snap out of it. I was divorced many years ago and it was AWFUL. Recovery takes time and is not easy. I admire the way you are doing the work and writing it out.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Nor was I suggesting you thought that. :)

          I was merely stating facts. I’m AWESOME at self-pity. I’m trying to be less awesome at it.

          I get a little better every year.

          Like

          • Janelle says:

            I’m so GLAD! Both that I had not offended you AND that I had not complimented your self-pity awesomeness. I do love your blog and am working my way through its archives, month by month. Have a great day, Matt.

            Like

            • Matt says:

              Always amazes me to learn that people go back and check out old stuff.

              Thank you so much for doing that.

              I really appreciate it.

              I will give having a great day my best effort. Please do the same, Janelle.

              Like

  5. j0wns4 says:

    Hugs, approval, smiles, affection, etc. don’t need to be earned where the heart is concerned. They’re freely given… which I’m sure you understand. But sometimes a friendly reminder helps. I’m obviously neither old, nor wise. But that’s where I stand on that. And there’s nothing wrong with being positive; sometimes a positive mindset helps alleviate the negativity, even if it’s only temporary relief. Everyone needs a break at some point. Keep truckin’ on. Here’s to finding unearned hugs. :)

    Like

  6. Vince says:

    “It felt just like all of those mornings and nights where I was desperate to earn a smile or a hug or some kind of acknowledgement or approval, but never did.”

    Man that sucks so bad. I know that feeling. Now that we are done and she’s moving out, it actually feels better not looking for that from her anymore but . I don’t have to ever wonder if things will get better, if she will let down her guard, be sweet to me and make me feel loved and wanted.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Yeah, Vince. You would understand this as well as anyone.

      So much better a year from now. I realize that seems like an eternity. And I’m sorry.

      Like

  7. nights7 says:

    Why do you care? That’s a good question. One I was asking myself after reading an e-mail from my ex this morning. Why am I getting angry? Why does this still effect me? I know he’s going to be like this. I should expect & accept it.

    Knowing and doing are two different things and old habits die hard. She was the primary person in your life for over ten years. It takes some time for the pull of that to dissolve even when we know it’s not something we want in any capacity.
    You know how some lizards can lose their tails when they’re in danger? I wonder if they feel the same way. Maybe they miss their old tail even though they knew it was time to let go of it whether they actually wanted to or not. Eventually they’ll grow a new one but it takes a while. It’s not quite the same, that new tail, but it works and is part of who they are now. There are always signs of the loss but they’re whole and well again.

    Also, I agree that we can choose to be anything we need to be but we can’t always be whatever we want to be. Example, I could not be a gymnast no matter how much I want to be…or tall… or socially intuitive. That’s okay, it’s part of who I am.
    But I can be and do whatever I need to. I know this because I’ve handled the monkey wrenches life (or maybe my bad choices) has thrown my way. How?
    Baby steps, Bill Murray style.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Dr. Leo Marvin-style!

      Nice lizard tail analogy. That was cool.

      Like

      • nights7 says:

        That’s right. You too can go from a panicked mess on the city sidewalk to sailing in a matter of days one baby step at a time.
        I recently decided I was going to introduce my kids to Bill Murray. We started with What About Bob. I had forgotten just how funny that movie is.
        Thanks. One of my kids was really into reptiles for a while. I learned alot about them.

        Like

  8. carsonblue says:

    “Boys don’t cry,” is some of the worst advice I’ve ever received.

    Knee scrapes, stubbed toes, broken fingers… Sure, choke back the tears. It’s part of being an adult regardless of sex.

    But I’d like to have the full range of emotions guilt free when dealing with the death of loved ones and when someone who loved me stops and leaves.

    I don’t believe you should feel embarrassed about crying,Matt. But, I still feel a bit of shame any time it happens also.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I don’t really sit around crying. But I have cried, more than once, during this past year.

      It’s one of those things we don’t like to talk about. And sometimes I like to talk about things that people don’t like to talk about.

      Thank you so much for the note.

      Like

  9. I try to remind myself when I am telling myself a story about what I think I know. The narrative you create becomes reality, and then you have emotional reactions to it. It’s hard not to create narratives especially if you like to write! It’s amazing how hung up you can get on a tale of your own creation…..I agree old habits do die hard…seeing what your own mind does is enlightening!
    I’m a bit sick today so all my thoughts are running together..another interesting mind phenom!

    Like

  10. thatnavaword says:

    YOu’re a man for admitting to tear, vulnerability and real feelings. To some woman that’s actually more attractive.. but then that’s not the point here is it

    Like

  11. RR says:

    Cry. Dream. You have to. Not to be a more ‘sensitive’ man, but a well-rounded person. One who experiences all. Stretch the emotional and spiritual (in an at peace with yourself way not a religious one) boundaries you and society have set. And, always remember, a soul is a resilient thing ;)

    Like

  12. shecameblue says:

    This is one of many awesome posts, (and I have been reading your thoughts for a while now) I’ve never commented. I must say, you are one of the most gracious bloggers… All of these people comment away and you always seem to reply. Do you know how kind that is? I can barely reply to the one person that reads my silly rants, and here you are putting direct thought into every response. It may not seem like a lot, but it says more about your character then you know.

    I still dream about my ex… Years and years and other exes have passed and those dreams still happen. I wonder if it’s the ones that destroy your soul that rent a space deep in your consciousness.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Ha.

      “I wonder if it’s the ones that destroy your soul that rent a space deep in your consciousness.”

      I think that’s just a coincidence. A funny and well-written one, though.

      I think it’s probably just the ones we loved the most.

      And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

      Thank you so much for reading and saying hi.

      It’s pretty awesome to hear from you, and learn that you’ve been reading. Amazing.

      I really appreciate your time and that you’ve come back more than once. :)

      Like

  13. jadedwildcat says:

    Yeah, once again we’re so alike in this habit and way of thinking.
    So funny because I was just about to go and blog about the dream *I* had last night, which lasted the entire night (even after getting up twice) and was all about my ex. It’s just insane how real the dreams are and how I wake up still thinking that we’re together or that we’re at least in each others’ lives and that I can talk to him, hear his voice at least…
    So horrible the way reality smashes me in the face upon waking and realizing everything is different now, and it takes hours before I can smile or try to get on with my day…

    Damned dreams. =[

    Like

    • Matt says:

      They are very, very powerful things sometimes. It’s really incredible.

      But we can spin that positive. And use it like a tool.

      That’s what she said.

      Like

  14. I am currently working on mastering the power of my own mind as well. It’s still hard because, instinctively (or habitually) I want to retreat to the “dark place” first. But once I started to realize that things truly are what you make of them, I started being able to turn my “mountains” into “molehills”. Good for you, Matt! :)

    Like

  15. Okay, I must have missed something because all of the comments above are thoughtful and insightful, and I’m sitting here going “of course you can turn your thoughts around.”

    So, I guess Kudos are in order that you’ve learned a life lesson! :) I hope that it is one that you remember and use in the future and help enhance your life and make positive things happen!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Not everyone can be as smart as you, Kate. Some of us come along slowwwwwllllllyyyyyy. I’m tortoisey.

      Like

      • Hey, I gave you the kudos!!

        Seriously, I am very happy for you and really do hope that you carry that lesson with you! I’ve worked hard to make sure Mr. T grows up knowing it. Fake it until you make it – it’s a good thing to live by sometimes, cause you paste on that smile and your body doesn’t know it is fake, and your body will release the good feels and then your smile turns from fake to real! Your mind is a very powerful thing!

        Like

  16. JujyCakes says:

    Why is it that your blog post comes at the appropriate time? I had a really tough day yesterday, wrestling with the voices telling me that I’m not good enough. I couldn’t control my crying and all I wanted to do was to crawl into a black hole and disappear.
    I wonder if you keep hearing the bad long enough, do you tend to believe it when you aren’t feeling strong anymore? I’m not feeling I have any fight left in me. I wonder.

    As for your open soul and crying- be proud that you are a sensitive man. My hub reveals his sensitive moments; I love him more for being that man in my life. The next woman in your life will appreciate all these good things in you.

    Big hugs to you.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Law of averages!

      While we’re all special and unique snowflakes, we’re all pretty much the same too.

      I think it’s beautiful.

      I’m so glad you cared.

      And I’m so sorry you were having a bad day.

      Today will be better. Probably a lot better.

      Smile, please. :)

      Like

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