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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Snake In My Veins

I felt pain in my lower legs. I didn't know why, and it was minor, but it was there. I sat down, near the window, looking out to the yard. I squeezed my legs, and very warm water was oozing out, at a steady rate. I would squeeze and it just kept coming. Then, it seemed dry and I would go to the other leg, and had to do the same. As soon as I drained that leg, the other one was full again. I went back and had to squeeze that one. It seemed like an endless merry-go-round. Then as I drained that one again. a very long, rod-like soft pipe was there. I'd never seen it before, but I pulled on it. It started to come out, but the more I pulled, the more it just kept coming. It seemed there was no end to it. 
I kept pulling it out. It was long, coarse, and seemingly endless. I pulled and it just kept coming, but it never seemed to end. Finally, I got to the end, It determined it would have to come completely out. At that end, it was a snakes head. The long pipe was a snake. Now, the head was trying to bite me. It didn't want to come all the way out, and it was going to fight me for it. The snake had a small head, not really dangerous like you would imagine a snake to be. I grabbed it by the neck, so it couldn't bite me, but it kept trying. It was very close. Very very close. I could almost feel its teeth on the skin of my hands. I called out to the others in the room to get me a knife. I wanted to just cut its head off. To kill it. Put it to sleep, once and for all. Those people couldn't--or wouldn't--get me a knife.
We continued to fight, to struggle against each other, but now, my grip was tighter, and its head was bigger. It was a lot more dangerous now. It was fighting harder. 
And that is where the dream ended. Yes, it was just a dream. Did it mean something? Of course it did. Do I know what that is? I have some ideas, but you can never really be sure what the ultimate meaning is. I can guess, and I am guessing.
The real fight is now in the waking hours. I rarely remember my dreams, or if I do, the details are very foggy. This is the exception to that scenario. I was meant to remember this one.
I've never actually been bitten by a snake. But somehow, I know what it feels like. In my dreams, I know what it is going to feel like. It's internal. It's metaphorical. But it feels real. Like I've been bitten before and I know what that feels like, in real terms.  Inside, that part of me I am trying to get out, that snakes head,  is that devilish and devious side, and reminds me of my father. He was that way almost his entire life. Many of my most troubling of traits look a lot like the ones that took my father down over time. I have been better than that, mostly, in my life, but I know the roots of what I could be still reside in my body, and likely in the blood that flows through my veins.  It's in my blood, in my veins, and as I try to fight with it, it tries to attack me. It has a home and it doesn't want to be evicted. It is not easy to send it on its way. It will resist and bite me, and there will be pain to try and exorcise it. For all I know, my father felt the same way. For all I know, we all feel that way.
 When we have parts of ourselves we want purged, we know they resist and want to remain. It's almost like they belong, or feel they belong. They are virtually an organ that belongs with all the vital organs, like a heart, a lung, a kidney, a brain. Our DNA, or the parts of ourselves that we inherit, that don't help us, but hurt us, are very difficult to remove. They have incubated and lived within us since day one.
As sleep approaches each night, I expect there might be another dream. So far, there has not been.  Who knows? Dreams come and they aren't predictable. Daylight reality is somewhat predictable. The snake has to go. I have to find a way to make that happen, when I have the control to do what it takes to make that happen. I suppose the dream was telling me that. 
 When you've got a snake in your veins, nobody can help you. Even if they want to. Only you can help you. You have to kill the devil inside you, or it cannot be killed. Maybe it just cant be killed. But if it can, it has to be you that does it, or it is never really dead. It is just dormant for whatever reason. Nobody can hand you the knife to cut its head off. Only you can do it, and its a solitary battle only you can win.
 I woke up before I could cut the head off the snake. I take that as a sign it is still there, and there is more work to be done to find a way to kill that part of me. That presumes that it needs killing. Maybe I die if it dies. Maybe it gives me life, and I need it, even though it can be very destructive and disruptive to my overall well being. I don't know. It's just a guess. Like most things in life, its all a guess as to what is best, or not best, for your own well being.
Part of me feels like I want it out, but part of me knows I am the person I am because its there. That is the internal turmoil we all feel about the things that shape our core which we inherited from our parents, and to some extent, their parents, and to some extent, many generations down the line that have formed the end product that is us.


What is that devil inside me, that snake in my veins?

I've always been fiery, even very hot tempered when I was younger. In those days, I was borderline out of control. Destructive to a point I might even have been dangerous if I hadn't been able to control it when it got really intense. Luckily, I was able to stay on the right side of that line. As I aged, I gradually have been able to keep it in check. But surely, it is still embedded in my blood and being. No doubt about that. The dream reflects that. 


Jeff Bridges...in Seabiscuit, plays Charles Howard, the owner of that horse. He asks the question, "son, what are you so mad at?"
I've watched and played that scene many times over since it came out. In many ways, I have been Red Pollard in that scene. The character Toby McGuire plays. The out of control angry man, who can't really explain to others why he is so angry to the point he does stupid things that can't be explained later on, when the anger hasn't even dissipated much.

Everyone reaches that bridge in life that Toby McGuire's character does at the end of the scene. The one where you cant understand why you do the things you do and you don't feel like you can go back to the other side and exist as you wish to be. Because that snake bites you back when you try to be that "better person".


Searching So Long

As my life goes on I believe
Somehow something's changed
Something deep inside
Ooh a part of me

There's a strange new light in my eyes
Things I've never known
Changing my life
Changing me

I've been searchin'
So long
To find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning

Now I see myself as I am
Feeling very free
Life is everything
Ooh it's meant to be
When my days have come to an end
I will understand
What I left behind
Part of me
I've been searching
So long
To find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning

Searching
For an answer
To the question,
"who am I?"
Maybe it's true
It's only natural
Good things
In life
Take a long time



 
At that point, as Chicago talks about in the song, you want an answer to the question of life,

"Who Am I"

"You have a gift. You have a gift." That is what Red Pollard's father says near the end of the clip. It implies that the gifts he has received come with the other parts that don't feel at all like gifts.

I have gifts. Many of those come from the DNA of both my parents, but mostly my father. Gifts come with price tags. We all pay for the gifts we have by accepting the bad parts that came with that.

Maybe the devil can't be purged. Maybe the snakes head cannot be cut. Maybe cutting the snakes head will change my core, in ways I don't want changed. Will I lose the gifts I have that come if only attached to the parts I don't like?
Who am I? Who is anybody?
I don't know.
Only in dreams do we ever really face the snake and attempt to take it on. Even in dreams, where the impossible can become possible, it is near impossible to kill your demons.
The snake is still in my veins. Of that much I am sure. There will be another dream, and I will confront the demon snake again. I have no idea how that will go.
We are who we are, who we were born to be, no matter how much we wish we could do something about that. To some extent we can, but in many ways, we cannot. We can only hope to make the effort and hope for the best. 
We are all Searching for the answer, and I think we always will be. Good things, in life, take a long time, as the song ends with. 
And that also ends the blog, somewhat incomplete. As is life most of the time. 


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