By Dolores J. Nurss

Volume III: Responsibility

Chapter 26




I dreamed of Cyran with a head bandage in the big tent.  E chewed me out, but surprised me by scolding me for putting Kief in charge, not for killing him.

And so I have to ask again, on another level, who is Kief, in my psychology?  Among other things, the beautiful seduction of not caring whether I live or die?  Pollyanna gone bad, embracing and even celebrating whatever comes, no matter how horrific?  There was a time when I accepted the negative projections heaped onto me, to the point where I thought suicide would be the only good deed that I could accomplish, and called myself a coward for not following through with what I saw as duty.  And the Deirdre side of myself, the side extravagantly devoted to duty, for a little while put him in charge!  I had to kill the glorification of self-destruction in order to get on with my life.

Yet we do need a little Kief, under tight control, in case a situation comes up that really does require sacrifice.  But it’s only valid when we do care, very much, what happens to us, yet care about something greater even more.

In a different dream, set at a different place and time in the Charadoc, orders went out to not give me a gun because I could improvise so well–a nightmare in my early teens.  Fear of battle didn’t make it a nightmare, though I felt a healthy dose of that.  Self loathing at being so able to improvise weapons did, and at the horrible aftermath of such crude means.

At the time, waking-life circumstances forced me into violent company that I did not want, and I had no defense against them except my tongue.  The survival-skills that I learned at that time, the art of making people too crushingly ashamed to hurt me too much, while walking a tightrope just short of goading them into violence against me, could have utterly destroyed my life later, among more peaceable people, if my dreams had not made me ashamed.  For my natural inclination would otherwise have turned to pride, to win against those bigger and stronger than me, and that would have reinforced the habit, as I’ve seen in many a victim-bully since.  (I define a victim-bully as someone traumatized in the past, who forever believes her or himself a victim, so that therefore anything that he or she does, no matter how cruel, to get her/his way, feels like self-defense and/or survival.)

I wrote General Aliso’s bits, as usual tracking her through my dreams by implication rather than by direct witness.  Only one person could have given certain orders.  Only one officer had access to fine mansions where she could tap into the servant’s network, and only one had reason to keep its existence a secret from the rest of the military so that it might continue unimpeded for so long.

          I dreamed about sleeping in the cold, underground parking-lot, as described, with gunfire booming in the background. I did get up and climb into a man’s bed in that dream, hoping that he wouldn’t take it the wrong way.  In the morning, awake, I got needle and thread and repaired the holes in my blanket.  Funny, how a dream will let in a waking-body sensation if it needs it for a message, but leave out all manner of sensations that don’t fit the story.

          Who or what did I need to get into bed with?  That which could keep me warm when my heart wanted to freeze over, go numb, not feel anything anymore, not do anything anymore, just give up all the striving against chronic pain and weariness.  A desire tempted me, to not merely accept my disabilities, but to have no other identity except as a receiver of care.  On the other hand, I didn’t want seduced by this warmth of purpose, I didn’t want it to overwhelm me,  because that could lead to self-loathing over an unalterable situation: I might let my inability to help others to the full extent desired make life itself unbearable, and death seem like the only virtue possible.  I wanted warmed enough to keep on hoping, keep on trying, finding small ways to give within my capacity, even when symbolically parked for good (living in a parking-garage) as my health problems disintegrated my old life and little deaths surrounded me, of all my possibilities, one by one.

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