over 8 years ago
Strong-arming Ladies, Kayaking the River of Life, and the sad Polar Bear

I dreamed that I was enjoying the benefits of my new job. I was working in my studio, which was a part of a collective of cool shops and businesses sort of like where Laughing Buddha is located. Dan was there, in and out, as well as some good friends and even my Mom.
My friend Ben Larrew showed up, looking for mushroom chocolates. He arrived in my studio as I was taking a moment to pee in the little water closet that was in my room. Almost simultaneously, a woman arrived who was a client of mine. As Ben and I discussed more private matters, she tried to push her way into the bathroom. I had to speak to her rather harshly to get her attention. She was with a friend who was equally pushy and I was instantly irritated with the pair.
Ben had come looking for chocolates and I wanted to give them to him, but I realized that I had an appointment with this woman to uphold, and I didn't want to keep her waiting. I didn't want to ask her to leave, so I grabbed the chocolates and Ben and excused myself for a moment. We stepped out in the hall to do the exchange. He excitedly made his purchase but the whole while, he was trying to seduce me. He wanted me to pause what I was doing to take a moment to look into his eyes. I told him that I couldn't because our magnetism was so strong, I didn't want to be dragged back into his gravitational pull. He tried really hard, even trying to kiss me as we hugged goodbye. His attentions were flattering and magical. It felt really good and the temptation was strong. But this made me angry. I was tired of being pushed around by people or goaded into doing something I didn't want to do. I said goodbye and went back into my studio.
The two women had taken to decorating for me. I could not have been more angry. They were putting a sort of frosty film over the windows (which had an amazing view of the city, perched on the edge of an impossible gorge), claiming that it would help keep the heat in in the winter time. This made me mad because it messed up my view and the temperature was just fine for me. I yelled at them to take it down. They were obstinate and righteous. They wanted to talk tattoos, and seemed to know everything about them. They were trying to tell me how to do my job and that's when I lost it. I stepped out of my normal character and really let them have it. I grabbed them by the backs of their arms and dragged them out into the hall, scolding them like children. It felt really good to take the upper hand and not let them get away with treating me like that. It felt good to take control and put my foot down and call the shots. I booted them right out.
I lost a little of what happened right after that, but then I remember a neighbor of mine (Esteban from the studio - but younger, and less strange) was asking if I wanted to go kayaking with him. I thought that sounded like a fine idea. He guided me in how to prepare. I changed my clothes and added some water-proof garb. With all the equipment, I felt really confident and strong. We put-in right behind the building, which was perched next to a roaring river. I was in the front of the double kayak. We dropped right in and the current swept us away. I didn't know where we were supposed to catch the river's many bends and turns, but I just sort of steered intuitively, letting the natural flow of the river sweep me along. It was amazingly swift and fast-paced and steep. Sometimes the river would drop down like a waterfall, or more like a water slide. It was scary, but I felt safe because I had the right equipment and Esteban was there with me. I liked his energy too. He didn't try and tell me where to go or how to proceed. He had confidence in me, which only gave me more confidence. Finally we got to an are where the river leveled out and wasn't so swift any more. It looked like the Seattle downtown waterfront. We hopped out of the boat and somehow returned to the Queen Hotel studio building, several thousand feet above sea-level.
Back at the studio, I was wanting to change my clothes. There were some new building-mates now, coming and going. I hadn't had a chance to meet them all, but I took note that Kelly from Sock Monster had a studio across from mine. I don't remember who, but someone told me that she really respected me and wanted to be just like me. It was flattering, but I also felt the responsibility to let her know that I was just as unsure about my life as anyone and regardless of seeming to have my shit together, I was still ironing out the kinks.
While I was standing there, someone told me a story of some polar bears that had tried to save their friend from being sucked down into the center of the earth. As the story was being told, I watched the scene play out as if I was a camera, filming it for television. I zoomed down to sea-level again, but this time it was an ice-age and I was at the mouth of an immense glacier. There were three bears at the edge of the glacier, two live and one who was frozen into a massive block of ice. The one who was frozen was about to be swept in a current, down under the ice field and into a whirl-pool that would take him to the center of the earth. The other bears were trying desperately to save him, but the ice under their own feet began to crumble and give way and they had to run full speed to save themselves. I flew along with them as they ran with everything they had, back toward what was now Seattle's waterfront, but was then a huge ice-sheet. I felt really sorry for the other bear, but I knew there was nothing that could have been done.
When the story was done being told, I was back in my studio building, chatting with my neighbors again. My mom was there and we started discussing business, but then I woke up.

I love the imagery of the river. I've just quit my day-job to pursue tattooing full-time. It's scary as hell, but I have to let myself navigate the unknown bends and drops with intuition. If I can just allow myself to be carried along by it, I'll find it's not so scary. Even though it looks strong and overwhelming, I have the proper tools to be effective and safe. I have prepared, now I just need to enjoy the ride.
I also enjoy the imagery of having to strong-arm those ladies. I'm usually really passive and polite but that can be annoying too because then other people push me into situations that aren't comfortable or helpful to me. I need to have the strength to take the upper hand when and if I need to. It felt good in the dream. I think I'll be able to conjure that when facing situations that require my strength.

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