Today’s Girls With Sole post is taken from a chapter of my book,
Finish Line Feeling.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”
~Henry David Thoreau
Dreaming at night is one of my favorite things to do. I love the crazy movies my subconscious mind reels out while I’m recharging for the next day. Since I don’t watch a lot of TV, my dreams serve as late-night entertainment, without all the mindless snacking. It’s multi-tasking at its best.
Most of my dreams tend to blend into one another, and as cool as they might be at the time, I still can’t remember them when I’m awake. There are only two dreams I have had which go beyond just being memorable- one o which, I’m not sure was even a dream.
The first of which is a dream from my childhood, and although it probably wouldn’t faze anyone else, I will never forget how realistic and horrifying it felt to me, deep inside my heart.
In the dream I was lost in the mountains in Germany. It felt as though I was really there, and the fear of never finding my family again gripped me and took over my body like an illness. I kept hiking higher and higher, searching the unfriendly and peasant-looking people that inhabited the villages below. I searched each stranger’s face for my mom, but none of them belonged to her. The day was beautiful and full of crisp mountain air, warm sun, and the bluest of skies, yet somehow the villagers were drab and gray.
Near the top of the mountain, I reached a meadow with tall green grass and beautiful little yellow flowers growing in clusters everywhere. There were women in German dirndls scattered about, but their heads were all facing down as they picked the yellow flowers and placed them in their aprons, skirts, and baskets.
Because the women were bent over, I couldn’t see their faces, yet somehow I clearly spotted my mom among them all. I was positive it was her, and overcome with happiness to have found her, I ran toward her screaming, “Mom! Mom!”
When I reached her, she wouldn’t look up at me, so I placed my hand on her shoulder and said, “Mom?”
She snapped her neck in my direction in a grotesque bird-like manner, and I could see that it was her, but she was monstrous-looking, dark and frightening. She growled at me in an inhuman voice that chilled me as she spit, “I’m not your mother.”
I don’t scare easily…but I must say that dream scared the crap out of me and I will never forget it. You don’t have to be a professional dream analyst or a therapist to determine where the dream stems from. It’s obviously rooted in my past experiences of foster care, adoption, and sexual abuse during childhood. But where the dream came from wasn’t what scared me…it was the the way it made me feel even after I was awake that bothered me the most about it. A frightening chill came over me and lingered like a ghost breathing down my neck.
The second dream I will never forget is the one that I’m not sure is even a dream. Let me preface this one with the fact that although I was raised Catholic, I’m not at all someone who would be considered devoutly religious. In fact, it seemed to me that all the years of parochial education and church homilies may have been wasted on me. Whatever joyfulness in my heart, or peaceful strength they were supposed to invoke, try as I may, I never felt it.
But when I go for a long run, to me, that is quite spiritual in nature. Running is meditative, brings joy to my heart, and makes me feel like a better person. All the things that I think you’re supposed to feel in church, but I never have.
That being said, I truly believe that Mary came into my room one night and paid me a visit.
On the night that Mary was in my room, I remember that I wasn’t dreaming anything at all. It was a peaceful and dreamless sleep until I was suddenly startled out of it. It was the type of thing where you wake up with eyes as wide as saucers, and an awful (and loud) snort reverberates through your nose and throat. (Which is probably why you remember it happening!)
I was fully awake and when my eyes opened, I saw Mary standing next to my bed, holding one arm outstretched before her, pointing in a forward direction. She was so beautiful, with a luminous face and soft, long, brown hair. Her blue and cream- colored robes hung all around her and I could see that she was telling me to go forward, and then she was gone.
At that time, I had been worried about starting Girls With Sole. There were a lot of people who doubted that the organization, or my attempts to start it, would be successful. Negativity regarding the entire organization, including its structure, mission, and approach, was cast upon me by people I knew very well, as well as those I didn’t know – and hadn’t asked for their opinions in the first place.
I kept telling myself that if Girls With Sole didn’t work out, it couldn’t hurt to at least help a few kids along the way, and then I could let it fizzle out on its own. There was no harm in trying, and inside my heart, I wanted to follow my plan and my dream – but I was letting the negative voices creep in, causing me to question if I was doing the right thing.
Mary, being the smart and strong woman that she is, came to tell me that I must move forward. I don’t think she cared what religion I did or did not practice, or if I went to church. I think she came to me as a woman who had to believe in herself, and who had to know she was right even when everyone said she was wrong. She wanted me to know that I was going in the right direction and that I should keep moving forward.
In our short existence, Girls With Sole has succeeded faster and helped more girls than anyone could have believed. Quite often, events and circumstances that have contributed to irs success seemingly fell into place as if it were on a path or course of its own, which no one could impede upon even if they tried. I am often reminded while I’m out running….that Mary is pointing the way.
Dream on, my friends!