This dream is related to this entry in my dream journal.
The ideas both of travelling and of the North of Italy are about the only dream images that stand out for me very easily. I believe I took the ideas from the Charles Dickens novel Little Dorrit, which I'm currently reading. The book begins with a group of travelers who are in quarantine in Marseilles. They get out of quarantine, head back to England, and go their separate ways. But through the course of the book, they all seem to weave their ways back into each others' lives.
One of the characters is John Baptist Cavalletto, a man from Italy. So I obviously took Italy to be "North of Italy" in my dream. I'm not sure why. And I probably distorted "Cavalletto" into "Svetlana," though, again, I don't know why.
I think the idea of travelling struck me because I think a lot about travelling. I also never took much time to travel during my life. I basically left college when I was twenty, moved to New York City, spent a few years there, then moved around a little bit, but not much, in the United States, doing nature work. After that I moved back to New York and continued doing nature work. But I ended up getting involved in an office job and stagnating in New York from about 2006 through 2011.
But the way I speak about travelling in the dream seems to me to signify my own personal travelling, my own personal search for some place or situation that will accept me. I don't feel accepted right now. Part of that may be my own problem. Maybe I don't accept my situations well enough for them to accept me. Or maybe I don't accept myself well enough for myself to be accepted in my life situations. But there's also a possibility that I am still looking for a situation in life that's right for me. And I think this is what travelling means in my dream.
Of course, I'm not really travelling, I'm only talking about it! And either my talk is so boring that the person I'm talking to goes into the bathroom to avoid my talking, or else my attitude is so inconsiderate that I talk a person all the way into the bathroom without even noticing that the person is trying, in spite of my talking, to take care of something else. Interesting how I want to be accepted, but how I'm so tactless that I'll talk someone all the way into the bathroom. What?
The person sitting outside the bathroom is the Isabella Rossellini character from the film Blue Velvet. In Blue Velvet, the character is named Dorothy Vallens. I think part of the reason the Dorothy Vallens character appeared in my dream is because I was listening to a little bit of Ritchie Valens over the past couple days, including the song "Donna." It may have occurred to me at some point that if Ritchie Valens had married the Donna of the song, her name would have been Donna Valens, very close to the Dorothy Vallens of Blue Velvet.
But the Rossellini character's name is Svetlana in my dream. I'm really not sure what that means. But Svetlana keeps the same kind of panicked character that Dorothy Vallens has in Blue Velvet. Obviously, that kind of panicked attitude is what I was looking to express, as well.
I think that I am supposed to identify with Svetlana in the dream. I come to dinner with a woman. Svetlana is also at dinner with a woman. Neither the woman I'm with nor the woman Svetlana is with make themselves very visible. And the things that I say personally, even though I'm not directing them at all to Svetlana, can get Svetlana in trouble. All of this points to the idea that I'm identified with Svetlana, or that she's some other part of my personality.
I'm apparently talking about travel as an opportunity to search out places that will accept me for who I am. But when I talk about travel, this other aspect of myself warns me off from talking about it, because it will apparently stop me from performing my job as well as I could.
This is the part of me, then, that kind of drives me to keep my head down all the time, keep myself working all the time, until I'm so overworked that I'm a nervous wreck and that I do things like explode on the job and walk out of perfectly decent situations. It has to do with an emotional imbalance, I know. I can't balance working life with an emotional life outside of work. I tend to bring all my emotions into all my spheres of life. I can't separate anything. That in itself can be exhausting.
But I do this because I don't know any other way to act. And I guess the goal of my life -- right now -- is to find the way to balance those different aspects of my life. I really don't even know how to start. I really don't even know if I have a clear idea about things.
I think that's part of the reason a story like Little Dorrit touches me so much. Little Dorrit is a twenty-two-year-old woman who still looks like a little child. She works like crazy to provide for her father, who is stuck in debtor's prison. Little Dorrit still actually lives with her father in the debtor's prison, and only goes out during the day -- even though she can go out whenever she wants -- to perform her job.
But Little Dorrit is, or at least is seen to be, immature in other than physical ways. She doesn't seem to know how to function in the social world, how to recognize even the most basic customs of adult life. This definitely reminds me of myself.
But it also reminds me of something I spoke about in a previous post, where I mentioned a news article about a center here in Denver that helps people under the age of eighteen get over their drug addictions and start a normal life. One of the young men in that article spoke about how just being able to learn the normal aspects of the day-to-day responsibilities of an adult is hard work.
I could identify with the boy on that point. All through my life I've felt like doing just fulfilling normal adult responsibilities was something magic -- something beyond my grasp. I think it's part of the reason I overwork myself at jobs. I'm just trying to be a normal human being, and I don't know how. So I just go double-time on everything I do know how to do. And I end up driving myself into the ground.
The weird thing is, that I believe most people around me would say I'm a fairly responsible person. I'm not sure why people say that about me. I certainly don't feel like I'm very responsible at all.
The manager in my dream comes, strangely enough, from another character in Little Dorrit, a character named Maggy. Maggy is twenty-eight years old. But mentally she's a ten year old. She even insists to people that she's ten years old. She called Little Dorrit her "Little Mother." But she's much bigger and stockier than Little Dorrit -- and she's actually six years older than Little Dorrit!
Of course the Maggy character seems to me like an interesting variation on my fetish theme of the adult baby. But Maggy fits in with this theme running throughout Little Dorrit of little children caring for big babies. When Dickens mentions this, he means undersized children taking care of their younger siblings who, for some reason, are enormous for their age! It again highlights this over-responsibility of Little Dorrit, which is offset by Dorrit's own immaturity in some aspects.
But for some reason, my mental image of Maggy translated itself -- and softened itself, quite a bit! -- into the image of the manager in my dream. I'm not sure what it means. But my instinct is telling me this is the case.
I was pretty interested in the woman behind the espresso machine, as well. I'm not sure who she is or where she comes from. But I liked her. I actually liked all the women in that dream. They were all interesting.
I didn't intend to work so much on this dream.
The only other thing I wanted to mention is that I'm planning on making drawings for some of my dreams. The drawings will probably be crude, but I think I'll get better at them as I get comfortable with them. I would like to make one drawing for each dream journal entry. But I'm not sure how I'll do at that. So I'll aim for at least making two or three a week.
But I think I am going to begin, actually, by going back to some of my more visited dream journal entries, and making drawings for those dreams first. I'm not sure why I decided to do that.
Anyway, as I make drawings for dream journal entries, if the entries are from the past, I'll go ahead and put a little notice in my dreamday journal, so that anybody who wants to see the drawings can take a look at them.