Feminist Gunnery Class
Dreamed 1977/5/27 by Wayan
I'm in San Diego. Here to help my ex-girlfriend Kay through an abortion. Only each time she has an appointment at the women's clinic, she gets in a towering rage and fights with me. Over and over, always timed to miss her appointments. Now it's too late; she'll have to have the baby.
Here I am.
Last night's dream, Dad Smashes Copcar, warned I'd smash either my car's front end or MY head, if I stay around Kay. So I fled for the day, hide for hours in Balboa Park, forcing myself to face the messages in my current flood of dreams. Write pages about Kay's awful family and their pressures. Any way to avoid pushing her buttons? Well, I conclude... not really.
Come back to Kay's at sunset, and nervously start, right as I step through the low archway...
...and crack my head open.
Just to make sure I recognize that my body means it. Leave her or die.
As I fall asleep in pain, my unconscious combines two songs: horrified to find myself silently singing
And in the end you lose controlIt blends Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven plus a line from Pink Floyd's Animals. The meaning's clear. Kay's being dragged down by her rage and paranoia. And I can't rescue her.
Our shadow's taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
DRAGGED DOWN BY THE STONE.
I'm back in Balboa Park, in a big hall half-open to the sky. It's a feminist gunnery class--we how to shoot handguns in self defense. I'm a man, the only one, but I don't feel out of place, nor does anyone object to my being in the class.
The gun has Mattel-like [toy] bullets, so there's a reaction when you shoot. The first few times feel okay, but not perfectly confident. Run out of bullets and go on practicing with an empty gun. We all advance a few steps and fire at the wall, several times. My few steps take me closer to the wall than most, since I'm taller; I nearly reach it. I still have trouble firing & not letting the gun wiggle off to the side as I squeeze the trigger, which is stiff.
But my final sequence is different. I try thinking of myself as a Wild West gunfighter. Slink toward the wall with hands out at my sides, quickly pull out the gun and fire, fast but smooth, and slink back. And suddenly no shakiness, no resistance of the trigger, no wobble. Suddenly my aim is true.
NOTE NEXT MORNING
My day in depth! Learning self-defense in the form of dreamwork in Balboa Park. Timid, guilty analysis justifying self-defense; just practice, like gunnery with toy bullets. But once I accept I have a right to defend myself for real, that it's life & death, my aim'll be true.
LOOKING BACK YEARS LATER
My dreams warned me over and over. But Kay was brilliant: her feminist talk clouded the fact she was a batterer (a few weeks earlier, she broke my nose and then denied it.) She guilted me into another year of driving her around with her (and the eventual baby) in a van. Worst year of my life. She raged on; I felt unsafe leaving the baby alone with her. Eventually she was forced to arrange an in-family adoption. Once the baby was safe from her, I left--emaciated, shaking, and shitting blood. Took years to heal.
I wish I'd acted on the dream's advice: "You have the same right as every woman does: to protect yourself. Just go." But I didn't.
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