local wolves classics
+ BY CELESTE SCOTT + BANNER + ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU
In the dream I’m standing in an open field and a zippered bag falls from the sky. As I approach the bag, now on the ground, I can hear a bird flapping around inside, begging to get out. I go to unzip the bag and the bird claws at my hand. But I don’t mind. I just want to set the bird free. I unzip the bag completely and the bird flies out. An owl. I’m so happy to see the owl that I don’t even notice the huge gashes on my hand, left from the its claws. Maybe you’re not into reading into dreams. But I am. In fact, I read into everything—horoscopes made by Twitter accounts, multiple green lights in a row, fortunes from Panda Express fortune cookies. There’s something deeply poignant about the things that say with words and symbols what I already feel in my heart to be true. So, when I had this dream about the owl that clawed so viciously at my loving hands, of course I analyzed the shit out of it. For me the dream very obviously represented the way I selflessly love people who have hurt me. Often I am so bent on setting people free from their own shadows that I don’t realize the ways in which they—intentionally or otherwise—cause me harm in the process. I was amazed to find after a simple Google search that to see an owl in a dream is often interpreted as revealing something within the subconscious. Though the owl in my dream, was the thing doing me harm, it revealed to me just how much I tend to let people walk all over me. I inevitably find myself playing Savior for people who have time and again proven that they don’t deserve my saving. Many a time have my hands been clawed at while digging a person I love out of the mud. Of course, I am always happy to do it. Most
of the time simply because no one else will do the dirty work of loving these people as well as I have. So often, I don’t even recognize, in the muck of it, just how much damage is being done to myself. I don’t notice the gashes their claws leave in my skin—though they may be dripping with blood. Even if I do notice, I pretend not to. Or I tell myself, This is why God made you strong. In reality, I don’t think that’s true. I’ve experienced pain in my life that has made me wise beyond my years. I keep my head held high and my chest puffed up, because I am too ashamed to let that pain weigh my shoulders down. But that doesn’t mean the pain doesn’t exist still. It’s simply wedged between the crevices of my existence—between the creases in my cheeks made by forced smiles and the nook between my neck and my shoulder where many a friend have cried. The matured my pain has birthed does not negate the pain itself. It only makes space for me to hold more heartbreak inside of me. Which is why I end up lugging more than my share. Yet, I am learning what it truly means to love oneself, and its not at all what I’d previously thought. In fact, I wrote a piece around the same time last year on the topic of “Self-Love” and it is quite interesting to see just how my thoughts have evolved. I think I used to view Self-Love as a waiting game. Something to keep me busy, while I waited for someone else to come and take the burden from me. In the piece I wrote about buying myself flowers as a form and symbol of self-love, in the hopes that one day someone would follow my example. That someone would love me as much as I’d loved myself. And while I think I was on the right track, a year more of heartbreak and loss has brought me a bit closer to the actual mark.