White People and Jesus

The title of this post suggests that I’m about to go off on a racist or religious rant. Spoiler alert: I’m not.

In this instance, “White People and Jesus” actually refers to a strange yet compelling dream I had a few days ago. In the dream, my big sister and I were lesbians. No, not together. That would suggest way more subconscious trauma than I would ever unpack on the internet. Think Tegan and Sara: sisters, lesbians, Canadians. Got it?

Ok so my sister and I were artists and we had this great big work studio where we built mixed media sculptures and installations. In the dream I was working on three pieces. The first was a piece of wood about the size of a door, and I painted it with black matte paint using a small rollerbrush. Then I hammered in short nails all around the edge of the door and made patterns across the door by tying neon coloured string to the nails.

The second piece was a trench coat that I was painting black using the same small rollerbrush that I used for the door. I was running out of paint at this point and I remember feeling stressed about what else I could put on the jacket to make it cool. As I was painting it, a guy wearing a long black coat (think Neo from The Matrix, but scrawnier with bad skin and long hair) came by and told me, “That’s a sexy jacket.” In the dream I wanted to kiss him.

The third piece was also constructed out of a door. This one was covered in a heavy canvas. Across the door I hung bunting made from small square glass panels and square neon green flags. I arranged the bunting in two triangular shapes – each pointing towards the centre of the door. I remember it being really difficult to hang the lower triangle. And I remember naming the piece, “White People and Jesus.”

What does that mean? I have no idea. Feel free to brainstorm at your leisure.

What happened next was a lady walked into the studio and started exclaiming over the pieces I was working on. She wanted to be my agent and set up a show for me. Then she suddenly asked, “Wait! Are you the same girl who writes as Ibis in the blog Ibis and Spoonbill?” I told her I was and she began gushing, “You are an incredible writer! I love everything you write!” In the dream, I was excited and indescribably happy. But also anxious because I didn’t know how to tell this lady that she couldn’t be my agent because I was going back to school in a few weeks and I wouldn’t have time to be an artist or a writer anymore. And it made me sad and second-guess my decision to become a student again.

And then I woke up.

(Brief aside, I got my Mo on and applied to grad schools and that’s actually happening now! But that deserves a whole post of it’s own. Stay tuned.)

If you’re the kind of person who ascribes meaning to dreams, it’s not too hard to figure out what this dream would be telling me. It’s telling me: “Ibis, you are a bubble head! You don’t want to get your Masters in City Planning or any other graduate studies! You want to create! You want to write! Turn back! Turn back!”

If my subconscious was a real person, I like to imagine her as a concerned best friend. She knows me better than anyone, she shares my tendency to overanalyze all the things all the time, and she is worried about me. She loves me and wants me to be happy. I would take my subconscious out for a nice glass of wine and I would tell her not to worry about me. I am a complex individual with more than one passion in life. I would ask her to trust me to make the right decisions for my life. And as the night went on and we got closer to the bottom of the wine bottle, I would confess my fears. Maybe grad school is a mistake! Maybe  what I should really do with the money I’ve aggressively saved for the past year to support myself through graduate studies is find a cabin in the woods, hide out for a year (a la Bon Iver) and dedicate myself to writing. Bad poetry might become beautiful free verse. Rambling blog posts might become sophisticated prose. Half-formed ideas might become a draft of a novel. But then, spilling wine all over the table as I pour the last of the bottle into our glasses, I would remind my subconscious of one of our favourite quotes from our undergrad. While filling out course evaluation forms at the end of a semester, someone sitting in front of us said, “I hate this question – I increased my knowledge of the subject matter during this course. Like, no. Strongly disagree! I got dumber!” And no one else overheard him but we busted a gut laughing. After all, sometimes nothing is funnier than the truth. No education is ever wasted. My decision to apply to grad schools was well-informed and driven by another one of my passions in life. I would say to my subconscious, I appreciate your concern because I know it comes from a good place, but please be excited for me. Your doubts and fears are really dragging me down.

And finally, as I tip the last mouthful of cab sauv into my mouth, I would tell my subconscious: if all else fails, living overseas for a couple of years should give me plenty of new writing material!


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