Thursday, November 21, 2013

Flight of Fancy

WARNING: This post includes explicit discussion of mutant powers. If you are offended by that kind of thing, please don't read.


Last night I dreamed I was flying. At first, it was wonderful. I soared through clouds, the wind in my hair, not a care in the world. Then suddenly I realized I was flying over campus, and before I knew it I was inside the Wilk, floating over the food court. At first people were pointing at me and laughing, but then they got scared and ran. The masses rushed away in a frenzied panic, as if I were some gunman trying to shoot them down. I tried to call out to them, to explain that I'm really not a bad person, that I'm a Mormon just like them, but I had no voice. No matter how hard I tried, no words came out. I woke up with a muffled yell (hopefully the roommates didn't hear), drenched in sweat. Also: I was levitating a foot above the bed.

I wasn't going to get into detail about my powers on this blog. I know talking about mutant powers makes people uncomfortable, and I'm really not out to offend anyone. But I don't think I can go on forever referring vaguely to my "powers"--actually, just a single power, as far as I know--and ultimately, isn't that what this blog is about? Being absolutely honest? So if it offends you, I'm sorry, I really am, and you're welcome to stop reading. But I don't know how else I can be authentic.

I have a vivid memory of the first time I flew. It was the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. I grew half a foot that summer, my voice got deeper, and hair started showing up in places where it hadn't been before (I was a late bloomer). I was helping my mom put away groceries, reaching up to the high shelves because by that point I was taller than her. I was stretching to get a box of ramen packages onto the very top shelf. Even with me on tiptoes, it was just barely out of reach. And then, suddenly, it wasn't. My mom screamed my name. Before I could even turn around, she had closed the distance between us, wrapped her arms around my waist, and pulled me back to the linoleum floor. She held me tight and did not let go for a good ten minutes. She just sobbed into my shoulder, saying over and over, "Please, not my son. Not my baby." I didn't even fully understand what had happened at the time--not only was I a late bloomer, but I was also naive. I didn't know anything about mutants. But I knew that whatever had happened, it was wrong. I was wrong. I had done something to hurt my mom, the person I loved most in the world. I felt a deep and overwhelming sense of shame.

I felt that same shame this morning when I woke up above my bed. But this wasn't my first rodeo--I knew what to do. I immediately willed myself back down onto the bed and took several deep breaths. "It's not your fault," I reminded myself. "You aren't responsible for what your subconscious makes you do while you sleep." This is why all through college I have paid the extra rent to have a single room. The other guys in my apartment have no idea that once or twice a month I wake up in the air. I'll have to post here sometime about the close calls (and beyond-close calls) I had on my mission.

So this morning I calmed myself down, got back under the covers, and did my best to go back to sleep. But as I lay there in the dark reliving the dream over and over in my head, I couldn't help but remember that first part of the dream--how good it felt to fly free, unfettered by the chains of gravity. Subconscious or not, in that moment I wanted to fly, more than anything else I've ever wanted. Maybe I really should feel ashamed.

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