I awoke startled from a dream of being at the bottom of a large cylindrical tower with circled rooms on every level.

There were large hanging buttresses that were reminiscent of bat wings.

I was looking up at them and saw a huge snake quickly descending from the top with the intention to eat me.

I heard a voice say “you’d better get yourself back in and covered.” I jumped into one of the rooms/holes and was trying to pull the fleshy feeling flap down in front of me as I startled awake.

I got up and went to the bathroom. Settling back into bed I couldn't fall back asleep. A series of sensations and emotions were passing through me.

I know I put my sleep protection up last night, so maybe these were mine?

Feeling them one at a time and letting them move through. Trying to be still. Knowing my wife is probably awake and not wanting to disturb or reject her while trying to take care of the chaos inside.

The alarm.

And then the dog.

Trying to make it a happy morning greeting, but not feeling my normal sense of humor.

Petting the dog to try to appease him so he will give me a little time.

Trying to listen well, respond well, with chaos brewing in my chest.

I turn away from the dog and he decided to nip the middle of my back.

I’m done.

I push him away forcefully and angrily push myself out of bed and into the bathroom to start my day.

After I am in the bathroom, I consider my wife. I can’t remember if I pushed her away while trying to get away from the situation.

Getting dressed, she asks, “Is this your anger?

It is now,” I reply.

Wrong answer.

I try to explain that I put up my protection and spent a long time this morning trying to clear/process whatever this is without complete success.

But, mostly, I just need to get away.

To walk with the dog, briskly, toward the trees.

A rabbit is too close to the sidewalk and we come up on it fast.

I catch the leash in time to yank him back but the force and direction of the surge spin him behind me and he crashes into the stone wall on the opposite side of the path. He shakes it off easily it seems. Still excited about the rabbit.

Cedar trees line the path.

They are so comforting to me.

I rest my forehead on branch for just a moment, feeling the relief of just being a person with a tree.

The rest of the walk is busy with people for this early in the morning.

When I finally force myself to smile at them, I get mixed responses.

I notice a young woman dressed in a beautiful dress. She is voluptuous (as my wife would say) and seems uncomfortable exposing herself in the outfit. I smile at her but she is not looking at me.

The man I walk by every morning pretends he doesn’t see me.

The kids waiting for the bus move away from the dog, no longer enjoying his appeal.

The bikers are many, with “on your left”s every 50 or so feet.

A blond-haired woman in all white running clothes jogs past. She beams a smile and her beauty feels like a shield of joy around her, affecting me.

I want that.

To feel more like the beautiful woman, less like the self conscious one.

Right now I just feel angry.

Fire in my chest, with my eyes sometimes crying to try to put it out.

But, there’s something else too.

A sense of power deep in my gut.

Like I have the strength to overcome.

I accept.

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