Something is happening deep inside me, something unexpected and strange and fantastic. I’m not sure if I can describe in any sort of way that will make sense, but here goes.
Last night I had a dream. I was in a railway station, crossing the platform to the exit, when I came upon a woman and her pet goose. As I accidentally stepped between the woman and the goose, the goose nipped at my pants. Surprised, I yelped and flapped my hands.
Here’s the strange part: I haven’t flapped my hands since I was very young. From watching old home movies, I know that I flapped as a toddler and preschooler. I’m not sure when I lost my flap but my best guess is very early in elementary school.
Here’s the unexpected part: I’ve never consciously stimmed in a dream. I didn’t realize the lack of stimming in my dreams until I woke up this morning and was overpowered by the memory of my dream flapping.
Which brings me to the fantastic part: In the dream, in that moment when I flapped, I was flooded with the sensation of being connected to my original self.
I don’t think there are words to describe that last part properly. It felt like a wormhole to the past opened up and for the briefest moment I was able to experience my self as a very young child. Not imagine or remember, but actually experience it.
It was unlike anything I have ever felt, imagined, or experienced as an adult. I can’t even say that I clearly remembering feeling that way as a child.
Perhaps it has nothing to do with childhood. Perhaps the concept of original self transcends age and hinges instead on access.
I don’t know and I don’t really care. I have to give it a name so I can tell you about it, but in my mind, it doesn’t need a name. It is a state of being, as clear as any I’ve ever experienced.
It felt like untainted joy and freedom. It felt infinite. It felt like I was connected to the absolute most original version of my existence.
I can’t explain how I know that, but I do.
And it was so strongly tied to that flap–that startled, instinctive response provoked by the angry little dream goose.
But it was a dream, right? Dreams trick us into thinking all sorts of strange things.
But dreams also tap into our subconscious in ways that we can’t access when our waking defenses are active.
All morning I’ve been thinking about why this happened. Why now?
What I’d like to think is this: I’m slowly rediscovering my original self.
Part of that rediscovery is tuning in to my urge to stim and setting it free. Too many years of reflexively quieting my body, of squeezing my stims down to their least noticeable versions, has disconnected me from myself in an essential way.
Slowly, slowly, the stims of my childhood are coming back. Last night as I was waiting for the pasta to cook, I found myself twirling in the kitchen and instead of stopping, I let myself enjoy it. I kicked out my foot and make a full spin to the right, then kicked out my other foot and twirled to the left. I did it again and again and soon I found myself laughing out loud.
Twirling around in the kitchen feels good. It feels right.
As I unlearn my habit of minimizing my stims, I feel like I’m reintegrating parts of myself that have been disconnected for a very long time.
And I find myself wondering if acceptance comes not from learning to accept but from unlearning a lifetime of rejecting.