Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hijabi Dreams

I have started dreaming in hijabi. Last night was the second time since Ash Wednesday that I have woken up in the early hours of the morning and realized that in my dream I was wearing the hijab. I have been thinking so much about it, and so often processing my experiences of wearing it, that the hijab has slipped into my not-awake, unconscious self. I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that it felt as though the hijab was becoming a part of me, and this hijabi dream-self I have encountered is more evidence of that growing union.

My dreams are important to me. Like Carl Jung believed, and I agree, dreams provide a shadowy, spiritual glimpse into the unconscious, and they help me understand and be gentle with myself. In the past my dreams have helped me realize deep-seated, authentic worries and desires that may have taken longer for me to identify without a dream demonstration. I suppose there are several ways to interpret the emergence of my hijabi dream-self, and my intuition tells me that some interpretations are going to overlap and perhaps magnify others.

First, I could imagine that my scenario is similar to someone learning a language other than their native tongue. I've heard it said that when a person begins to dream in the language that she is learning, that is a sign that she is approaching fluency in that new tongue. I have never experienced such a dream with respect to language. (I am only fluent in English; however, there have been those dreams in which French or Arabic or Hebrew words fly about, but those dreams were typically encouraged by late-night, pre-bedtime flashcard studying.) Is it possible, though, that I am becoming fluent in hijabi? What does that even look like? Or feel like? It is surely would be interactive, conversational, and free-flowing like language...ah, yes: body language.

Well, fluency of body language is one interpretation, or one part of it. But perhaps to be fair to both sides of psychoanalysis, I should also ask, "What would Freud say?" For him, my dream might have something to do with wish-fulfillment. Do I desire to be an hijabi? Right now, in my conscious state, the answer is 'yes,' but is temporally bounded, 'for Lent.' But maybe beneath my consciousness I have been exploring other, longer-term options. Who knows? My intuition tells me, however, that the more pertinent question might be, 'Do I want to be a good hijabi?'

Which leads me to a third and final perspective on dreams. Perhaps my dreams are my mind's attempt to defragment the events of the day. Lately, however, I fear the events of the past few days have been tinged with a bit of worry. As much as I try to resist operating from a dualistic perspective, somehow the paradigm of black vs. white, good vs. bad, etc. seems to rear its problematic head. Instead of just being, living in the moment with equanimity, and lovingly welcoming the grey areas, I have reverted to a worrisome, perfectionist place that has, no doubt, kept me from living this Lent experience in full abundance.

"Why worry so?" I ask myself. And I feel the response in my gut. I want so much to be in solidarity with my Muslim sisters that I am hyper-sensitive to the mistakes that I might make, mistakes that could offend. Operating in this state of fear-induced paralysis, ironically, is doing my Muslim sisters a disservice because I am not living life to its fullest capacity. And I find myself standing in my own way.

And here is where I must tenderly remind myself that I am human, beautifully fallible, but also perceptive, capable, and brave. Here is where I must grant myself a priori forgiveness for the sake of liberation. And here is a start.

With unshatterable hope for your own flourishing,


1 comment:

  1. As soon as I started to read your post I thought "Wow... in all my years of French learning I never started dreaming in French... and she's just been at this a few weeks." And then you brought in the language thing...

    Your post has me thinking about the way that your hijab wearing discipline is a full bodily commitment that is shifting relationships around you. I'm not sure I've ever let language learning get into my body-- it always stays in my head... and maybe that is what makes the difference

    Blessings as you wrestle with your perfectionism and worry...

    Thanks for making me think.