Lots of wild dreams last night. I remember waking up several times thinking "Whoa---I dreamed what?" and going into REM sleep between snoozes on the clock radio. Here's a reconstruction of one, based on some notes I scribbled about it in class this morning:
The girl I loved had been mutilated years before, at a very young age, because she was very beautiful and the ritual was an avenue towards her marrying well in the future, just as footbinding was at first done to only the prettiest commoner girls in China, to make them attractive by the standards of the court, for purposes of upward social mobility.
We were very young and very powerless and all I wanted was to heal her but she was to be married to someone much older and more powerful and there was nothing we could do. A sense of helplessness, futility, inevitability, and finality really pervaded the dream.
At the very end of the dream, I was to go away. It's not clear in my memory where I was going, or whether I would ever be coming back. In saying goodbye to the girl, I embraced her, very sadly, still wishing I could heal her old wounds, and kissed her once, very tenderly, on the forehead. She looked up into my eyes and someone female standing beside her exclaimed something in surprise. At this moment, the girl in my arms realized I loved her, and that she loved me. But I was going away, and she was to be married, and there was nothing we could do.
The last image I remember of the dream is from the girl and her companion's point of view, watching me walk away. I have long hair and am dressed in loosefitting black clothes. It is not clear whether I am male or female.
It is the androgyny, the gender-neutrality of the person whose point of view was mine for so much of the dream that intrigues me after the fact, writing this. On the one hand, it would be easy to interpret my dreamself as male, in some way heroically in love (maybe even courtly love) with this girl, wanting to help her. Yet my love came as such a surprise, and the fact that the girl was to marry an older man, suggests that perhaps my dreamself was female in a heterosexually oriented society. Of course, there could be other reasons why our love was so shocking to a bystander, but since I woke up with the guestion of gender on my mind, it is what captured my imagination.