I have been having some intense dreams the past few weeks. They come and go every few months or so, peaking mostly when I’m stressed or annoyed in some persistent way. But last night’s dream was extra vivid. There I was: a young, sultry woman in a black leather lace-up corset with matching leather pants (with an equally impressive lace-up front in place of a zipper). Four inch stiletto heels supported my stance on a slanted hill, positioned in some eerily foggy scenery filled with lightly leafed trees, penetrated only by the subtle glow of a new moon. I had one hand on my hip, candy apple red painted on my pursed lips, a copper glow in my skin, and a long mane of black hair flowing as if in slow motion behind me in the whistling wind. It seemed as if I were awaiting something inevitable, like each ruffled leaf would determine my very next move.
It was all so tragically appealing: the solemn, Gothic appearance of it all, as if my usual order of personality traits were somehow transposed into a fierce rendition of myself as I’d like to be on weaker days. I searched her hands for some sort of whip, and waited for the mouth to open and reveal two freshly sharpened fangs dripping with the sweet flavor of blood. There had to be some sort of siren or vampire in this new character of mine. The outfit was just too commanding to be labeled as everyday casual. But there was no whip, no fangs. Just the strong figure of a woman plotting her next move.
It was intriguing, witnessing this version of me from afar, the former me creeping behind a tree somewhere to avoid meeting eye contact with this woman. She wasn’t me, but she was me; she was all that I’d been to afraid to confront in myself, and I was nervous about even approaching her lest she dispatch me for being so inferior.
She seemed statuesque, as if she’d posed for countless hours for the likes of Da Vinci, perhaps inspiring the cryptic curve of Mona Lisa’s smile. I waited for her to move, captivated by this alluring derivative of myself, and wondered if this would really be the chemical result of a simmered, condensed form of me after all the impurities had been boiled off. I leaned in a bit closer to analyze her features. Maybe this wasn’t really me. Maybe I’d simply hoped that someone like her could resemble me, even if only in a dream. As I peered from behind the trunk of the tree that was guarding my existence, I shifted my weight towards the right so I could get a better look. Same button nose, same brown eyes, same slender frame, although a bit more pronounced that I’m used to. Yes, she looked like me…but was she?
Brown leaves crunched beneath my feet as I balanced myself in my hideout. A rush of fear immediately flooded my veins as the sound of the tearing foliage filled the crisp night air. I closed my eyes as if hiding my vision would make the noise disappear, but it was too late. I could practically hear the noise hit her eardrums as she turned her head in my direction. I squinted my eyes at her, hoping she wouldn’t pinpoint my location as she scanned the trees for the source of the sound. I panicked as she narrowed her line of vision and looked directly at what felt like me. My breath held and my muscles frozen tight, I could hear the quick beats of my heart against my lungs as I tried to cherish the small bits of oxygen remaining in my system.
And then she moved.
The goddess came towards me with easy strides (…was that my walk?), the air pardoning its presence to make way for her passage. She moved slowly, her gaze fixated on her destination as if her eyes could see me through the shadows that were trying their best to shelter me. The earth seemed to regain color under each step of her heels; I soon waited to see if life would sprout from the soil after being impacted by the weight of such a beautiful creature. She came closer, her pace quickening with each yard that brought her closer to me until finally, she arrived.
With a gentle push, she threw off my balance and I found myself toppled awkwardly on my back in a pile of leaves and branches, staring at my own eyes from inches away. She’d swiftly climbed on top of me, and I felt her energy consume me as she came closer. Twinkles glistened in her eyes and her mouth mimicked the Mona Lisa’s as I realized that I was perhaps the very prey she’d been waiting for on that balancing slope of hers.
“Roslyn. I’ve been waiting for you,” she said.
“Who are you?” I asked in more of an exhale than a voice.
She smirked and palmed the left side of my face with a cool hand, angling my face in a way that seemed to catch the moon’s rays of light perfectly. I didn’t know if she was going to spare me or devour me. “Who do you think I am?” she asked, sliding a finger down the curve of my neck. “Or better yet…who would you like me to be?” A shiver shot through me and I shifted in the branches as she pressed herself deeper into my frame. Was she–I–seducing me–myself? I couldn’t quite piece together what was occurring, but I wasn’t exactly fighting to find out either. A twig rubbed its rough surface against my chest and I could feel the stream of blood irrigate my skin.
“I–I don’t know,” I stammered, suddenly unsure of myself. “I don’t know who you are.”
“Au, contraire,” she countered. “You know me very well. Better than you think. You’ve just taken a while to find me.”
She was patient with me as I digested her words, her hands now softly combing through my hair.
“A name… Just, give me a name,” I said, closing my eyes to prevent further penetration.
She leaned in a bit more, her cheek now pressed into mine; her mouth just a kiss away from my ear.
“My name,” she whispered, “is Dominique Rose. And I’m who you’ve been waiting for. You need no one else, Roz. I’m all the love you’ll ever need, and I can be found directly inside of you. But I need you to be ready for me. I can’t come in without your permission.”
She released me from her hold and stood up, placing a hand on her hip and blowing me a kiss with the other. I felt the gesture travel through the wind as a warm tingling sensation spread through my untouched lips. And as quickly as she was gone was as quickly as I drifted into what felt like a coma.
Moments later, I woke up clearheaded. I instantly remembered my dream, as if it had really happened, and sighed at how weak I felt in the presence of my reinforced prototype. I repeated her name in my head and thought about what she’d said to me, entertaining the idea of letting her be my muse. She seemed so strong, calm, cool and confident. I could learn a lot from her, I thought to myself. Marianne Williamson and Nelson Mandela once said in similar words that our greatest fear isn’t that we are inadequate; it is that we are powerful beyond our belief. I’ve spent too much time fearing my own capabilities. It was at that moment that I decided I’d free the true diva within me. I’d been ignoring her for so long.
I got out of my bed and went to the mirror where I noticed a fresh, thin cut on my chest, lightly stained with blood. Placing a hand over the wound, I felt the sturdy thump of what felt like two heartbeats, one echoing strength into the next, and a confident smile crept over my face.
“Nice to meet you, Dominique. Ready when you are.”
Mona Lisa herself would be envious.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”. –Anais Nin