I had a nightmare the other day. In this nightmare, I awoke from a deep afternoon nap and found our house completely destroyed, our beloved dogs helplessly beaten, and a message on the wall that said: I will make sure that you will never be happy. My boyfriend searched every room for the intruder. "It's happening because I'm happy!" I sobbed, "Maybe... Maybe if I show that I'm unhappy, they'll leave us alone."
I actually believed that this was the only way that I could protect life, as I knew it, from being taken away from me.
And then I woke up for real.
The house was fine. My boyfriend was fine. The dogs were fine. But my existential core was slapped so hard that I found myself crying.
This might sound strange, but I realized that I'm not quite accustomed to things being, well, good in my life. My upbringing was sort of steeped in chaos, so I've been predisposed to thinking that something is always bound to go wrong. I have a twisted relationship with anxiety. I can't tell you how often I've been preoccupied with what might happen instead of enjoying what is happening.
It's no wonder that adjusting to my move has been somewhat of a process. Things have been so good that I can't believe that it's real. Surely, the rug will be pulled out from under me? In fact, come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if the intruder in my dream was merely a representation my own self. I am reminded of a scene in Sex and the City: The Movie where Carrie asks Charlotte: "What makes you think something bad is gonna happen?" And Charlotte replies: "Because! Nobody gets everything they want! Look at you, look at Miranda. You're good people and you two both got shafted! I'm so happy and... Something bad is gonna happen."
Of course, I had to have a therapy session with a friend on the phone about this and I couldn't think of who better to call than my friend Amandine. She has had the proverbial rug pulled out from under her before and that's one of the reasons why we bonded so well.
"Your life changed so drastically overnight," she said, with her charming French accent, "We were both working so hard and struggling and being stressed. And now you live in this beautiful place with someone who loves you. Don't think about New York. Nothing changed; it's the same. Enjoy your life. You really should enjoy your life."
Here's the thing: Even if you live in the most perfect of conditions, in order to fully enjoy it, you have to exorcise all of the insecurities, judgments, anxieties, traumas, and other psychological roadblocks that you've let inform your identity. Like anything else, it's a process. The relationship that you have with yourself is an ever-evolving one. Don't forget to take opportunities to get to know who you really are on the inside, beyond what've you been through. Sometimes a nightmare might just be a wake-up call.