My dreams have been vivid and powerful lately.
No big surprise since there’s been a good amount of upheaval in my life, where I had to make some important decisions. I don’t know whether dreams come from God/the Universe/my Higher Power or are just relicts of my subconscious working out my problems for me. But I have learned that when I wake up shaking from a dream, I should pay attention.
My job has been a sticking point for me over the past year. In today’s job market, I am aware I’m not the only one that is underpaid, overworked, and undervalued. But the issues with my employment had gone deeper. I wasn’t doing what I love, I was strapped to a computer the majority of my day, I felt the products we produced were mediocre at best, I wasn’t using any of my expertise—a 22 year old could do my job, however, I’m 34 with two graduate degrees under my belt— and the working environment was extremely toxic. To add insult to injury, I’m unable buy a house or adopt a child because I don’t make enough money.
Meeting My Deer
Over a month ago a friend suggested I quit my job. I’ve never left a job without having another one already lined up before in my life. Who does that? Who just up and quits? Plus, how would not having a job solve my problems? It sounded irresponsible. But something stuck in my head.
This was the emotional landscape that brought on the following dream. Again, I can’t say whether it was a sign or just the creation of random neural firings during a REM cycle. Please feel free to judge for yourself.
I was with my boss and another coworker packing up equipment and supplies needed for a conference we were attending together. We had received a large brown suitcase that everything was going to fit into. After we packed the bag, my boss handed me a box that I was supposed to take as carry-on luggage. It was a narrow cardboard box that was bulging in the middle, and felt warm and squishy. I also noticed a stain at the bottom, and asked what was inside. She nonchalantly mentioned she had gone hunting a few days before and was bringing a special treat for a friend of hers at the conference.
I opened the box and peeked, inside was a tiny fawn! It was bleeding around the nose, it’s eyes were glassy, and it’s breathing was shallow. But it was alive. I looked up shocked and said to my boss, “It’s still alive! Why are you bringing this?” She looked at me annoyed and mentioned that her friend enjoys meat best when it’s freshly killed. She confused my look of horror with concern, and assured me she had checked with the airline and knows that it’ll be alright for me to bring it onto the airplane.
Fear washed over me. I knew my boss was a cutthroat professional, but I hadn’t realized how brutal and unfeeling she was. Terrified, I help her and my coworker pack the luggage into the trunk of the car. I had kept the cardboard box open to help the fawn get some fresh air. As I put that box into the trunk, the fawn escaped! I watched it hobble away on legs that hadn’t yet learned how to walk and were cramped from being in a box for several days. My boss barked at me to catch it and put it back in the box. I followed her orders; the fawn hadn’t gotten very far. Something inside me died as I caught it and stuffed it back into the box. Once everything was in the car, she tapped it shut so the fawn couldn’t escape again.
She drove to the airport. When we arrived, my boss and coworker got out of the car, grabbed their carry-on, and instructed me to park the car and take the rest of the luggage with me to be checked. It seemed simple enough until I realized I didn’t know where parking was. Airport security started to yell that I needed to keep moving. I drove around and around the airport trying to find the parking lot. I finally stopped and asked an airport employee to help me. She said she would come with me to find parking.
Once we found an open spot, I realized how far it was. By then, I had only 15 minutes to get all of the luggage to the airport, through security, and board the plane myself. I started crying in the car. She patted my head and asked what was wrong. I felt like I could never win, and even if I did win, I wasn’t sure if what I’d be winning would be worth it all. My tears were hot with anger, frustration, bitterness, and something deeper. Something that I had never felt before. Maybe it was rage, but it seemed sadder than that. More hopeless.
An Emotional Escape
I told the woman that I didn’t think I’d make the plane on time. And then in desperation, I confessed to her about the fawn. I told her that I didn’t know what to do. She looked at me with her kind brown eyes, smiled, and gently said, “You know, you don’t have to get on that plane. Not if you don’t want to.”
For a heartbeat I just stared at her. And then smiled myself. I could feel my heart race at the prospect of this decision. She’s right! And I decided right then and there, I wasn’t gonna get on that fucking plane! I knew I’d be missing out on the professional advantages of going to the conference and working beside someone like my boss. But I just couldn’t get on that plane! I got out the car and hugged the woman. I opened the trunk and let the fawn out the box. And walked away from it all. I left the car, the luggage, and the airport. Just me and the fawn. I didn’t know where we were going, but deep inside I was certain the unknown was a safer, healthier place.
Since this dream I’ve actually left my job. No, I didn’t quit; instead I gave notice. After all, notice is what responsible adults do. I know it sounds crazy, but I realized I have a higher responsibility. A responsibility to God. If I had gotten on that plane, I would’ve lost myself forever. And continuing at a job that compromised who I am and my purpose in this world would’ve done the same thing.
After I made my decision to leave my job, I looked up what a fawn or deer meant in dreams and found an article that describes, deer as “the soul” and “the core self.” It comforted me to know that I wasn’t far off base. But it shook me as to how close I came from losing Me.
Do you have a plane you shouldn’t be getting on? Or a dream that helped you make a life decision? Please share below, I’d love to hear it.
Feature image @ Martin Unrue
About the Author
Ta-Shana Taylor is a a blogger, pet mommy, and scientist living in South Florida. She has BS in Geology from Northeastern University and a MS in Geosciences from University of Arizona and another MS in Teaching from Pace University. You can follow her musings on the world on Twitter.