Alligators in my Dreams

Celebration, Florida

With my hands tied I cannot speak about what I have been processing lately (my childhood, it always goes back to my childhood). I would love to share about my one friend (my texting buddy) who is struggling and I am dying to write about that really off-guard moment (with family), which triggered a pain that took me all the way back to Mr. Eide (our next door neighbor) and my five-year-old-girl alligator dreams. I had so many freaking alligator-in-the-backyard-pond dreams that I began to refer to them as if they were my very own middle-of-the-night television series. Even when I would run into my mom’s room screaming, I would sob, heave, sniff and sob some more, “Mom, I had that same one two nights ago and it still scared me!” I would shake and shiver uncontrollably until she calmed me down and then I would spend the rest of the night sleeping in her bed until I had so many dreams that my mom and step-dad began making me a bed on the floor. Today I am not ready to get into it. Be advised, however, that anything I write now is totally being controlled by my alligator pain [wink wink].


It is probably not so crazy that as I write I still am feeling those crazy alligator knots. The knots come from five year old aligator-dream me, nine year old me and most definitely fifteen year old me night-terror me. Yes, when I was fifteen I had the craziest night terror ever. My parents found me standing in my closet with my pink blanket covering my head. They were afraid to come into my room because my screams were so loud and shrill. As they tried to wake me I screamed, “The Titanic! It is going to get me! I am in a little boat! HELP! HELP! H-E-L-P M-E! The Titanic is going to get me! HELP!” Yes, I really was standing in the closet with a pink blanket over my head and yes, that is really what I was screaming. And no, the knots did not leave after that. I believe I carried those knots all the way to twenty-one year old me. And when I was twenty-one and on a Mormon Mission, the powerlessness became so suffocatingly huge that were I to survive, those knots had to begin untying themselves and so they did. Ah yes, life likes to remind us that we are human and so on occasion, like now, something brings the knots into view and I am reminded that I still have some work to do. Damn Knots! And why does everything we do have to go back to something that happened to us when we were children? Why?


Sadly one of the things that happens when these knots show up is that I feel powerless. When I feel powerless I always experience writing paralysis. Stupid writing paralysis! Yet as I think and not write, I think about how cool the past five years has been and how happy I am that I opened this internet door again. I would not be so bold as to call myself the Little Engine that Could, but more I would call myself The Little Website That Has A Goal To Write Every Single Day and is Not Quite Meeting Her Quota.

Thank God there are no alligators here.

Alligators in the Pond
Guys’ Weekend: Kevin & Easy E


Guys’ Weekend


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12 thoughts on “Alligators in my Dreams

  1. I’m sorry to hear you are haunted by alligators. Personally, my sleep is regularly interrupted by the needs of my 15-yr-old dog. Perhaps that sleep deprivation is one of the reasons I can relate so much to your writing!? 🙂

    I too had pause when I read of Dooce’s news. I still check in on her blog pretty regularly. I loved reading about her marathon journey as well as the updates on the dogs and girls. She is pretty dang funny too, but at times she visits the opposite extreme as she bravely shares her struggles with depression. It’s just sad news to hear of their split (just separation at this point, right?). My parents divorced after 29 years and it was not easy for me to process at times. I had never thought how it would be to be an adult and see your parents go through that. A cousin of mine is really struggling with it in her own life.

    The Internet is sort of amazing how it can convey a sense of belonging. I feel sad for someone I have never met. I can sense her emotions and struggles, miles away, via a keyboard. Wow.

  2. Andrea, thankfully I don’t really remember my current “scary” dreams, buts Dave says I do scream out in my sleep. And sleep deprivation really comes from me staying up way too late and then getting up early with the kids. He he he about your dog too.

    I didn’t know the news either until the news was shared with me. It is so strange because so many people I know are currently going through this same thing. I cross my fingers that everyone who has to go through divorce comes out on the other end alive, you know what I mean?

  3. The old bugaboo, Divorce. I have so many conflicting opinions on divorce that it’s hard to know exactly how to think of it. In any case, however, if a person is feeling emotional pain, I wish them quick and easy release of it, (although that hardly ever happens).

  4. Wow. The alligators/knots sorry was so engaging that when I got down to the pic of the alligator in the pond, I actually felt a moment of panic. Nicely done! Though I’m sorry you suffered (suffer). I was a highly traumatized, anxious/depressive kid and so it’s never easy to bear witness to others’ similar experiences. I’m thankful for your illustrious, non-sensational writing that doesn’t trigger bad feelings but soothes the ones lying beneath the surface with a salve of recognition and solidarity.

    Yikes! Didn’t mean to get all poetic there…heh.

    The Heather bit caught me off guard but you write beautifully about that as well. This, particularly, struck a nerve: “I am also sad for all of my friends who are experiencing this pain privately and alone. Please please know you are not alone. We have your back. We feel your pain, frustration and unbearable heartache.”

    What an epidemic divorce has become. So commonplace but so uniquely painful for those going through it and those around them affected by it. I feel the shock, disruption and unbearable sadness deeply for my friends who have and will experience it. It did surprise me that I felt it for an absolute stranger (as you know). The Internet is funny that way, isn’t it? I no longer read her regularly but word spreads fast and I was instantly concerned for their entire family. I guess that just speaks to her ability to capture people’s attention. She’s in for quite a bumpy, long ride. Thank goodness she’s surrounded by love & support from many directions.

  5. Sara, me too and I am sure you could guess that I felt similarly. I also feel sad/bad for anyone in pain and sadly, there seems to be a lot of people in pain out there! Thank you for your words!

  6. Nino, Thank you for your thoughts! As always, I love them! It makes me happy in this very strange way that you can relate to me and my history. I am just sorry your childhood was trauma-filled. That sucks! Do not apologize! You are an artist in every sense of the word so I love that you got all poetic.

    I felt like I needed to say something about Heather. I have no idea what people think anymore. My guess is that most folks do not even know that I knew her. That being said, because of the emails I received, because some folks actually do remember I knew Dooce and because Heather is choosing to share this particular pain publicly, I wanted to be very clear. No one’s pain is easy. My heart breaks for Heather and her family. I have lived through divorces and it is a rough pain to experience. Not only am I sorry for Heather’s suffering, there is also love and a shared solidarity from those who knew her long ago. I hope she knows that.

    Divorce is an extremely difficult road to travel. And after traveling that road, some of my friends even say that divorce was the best thing that ever happened to them. Every person’s road is different and I have learned to step back, respect it and travel my own road. As a child of divorce, I must say that nothing about my parents splitting up has ever been easy, even today. And even though it has not been easy, I can also say I am grateful.

    Most of my friends do not blog and are very private about their pain. I want them to also know, “We love you! Dave and I have your back!”

  7. Dreams-nightmares-suck. That’s all I will say on that subject.

    I have 3 that I read here nd there(dooce being one). All 3 are getting divorced or have already divorced. It seems so strannge. It’s like watchingg the last episode of a cancelled show you really liked. Nothing will be the same.

  8. Sue, nothing will be the same. Maybe it will be even better. I like to look at change as an opportunity. My hopes for Heather (dooce) and others going through divorce is that they will come out the other side even better than before. As a child of divorce I know it is rough and I am sad for those who have to go through it.

  9. Your site is fascinating but I have to tell you–I only found it because a few months ago someone tuned me to Dooce (and I’d never heard f er either!). I’m actually not a big blog reader at all, I hardly ever read any blogs at all. However, I’ve found myself completely fascinaed by dooce, by her ‘voice’ and the way she sees the world. So I slowly started to make my way through her entries, all the way from the beginning.

    And two things struck me: first, that she was ceazily in love with her husband, so what on earth could have gone so wrong?

    Secondly, she describes you, Beth, as her ‘best friend’… That is how I found you, and your blog, actually, because she links to it. Were you NOT her best friend? This makes me pause to consider how much of what she wrote on her sire from day one was exagerated, maybe heightend b her depression and mania or her need to speed up her site. And if not, if you truly were her ‘best friend’ (though that is certainly not how you describe the relationship here) but have not had anything to do with her–indeed even read her site–for years, what does that say about her?

    All in al, divorce is heartbreaking, no doubt. Especially with kids involved. But in this case one wonders, as others have commented, how much has been contributed by her sudden ascent to crazy Internet fame and the way her life consequently changed.


  10. Maia,

    Thank you for finding me. I am back to blogging after a five year break so having anyone find me is a big bonus. I think it is awesome that you found me through old dooce archives. I really like your insightful comments and appreciate what you had to say. I like your candor and never mind when someone says that they are not a big blog reader. Honestly I am just happy that you read my blog, especially because you do not read blogs much.

    most sincerely, Beth 🙂

  11. Beth, I had to come out of lurking with this post as I am finaly getting a chance to catch up with crazyus. I read your blog back in the beginning and ironically found you all those years ago through dooce too. Back then I was a single communications student, writing my own blog and soaking in the blogging world around me. I was happy when I read that you had returned (can’t remember how….maybe on because I had missed your blog voice. It is true and relatable. I miss blogging regularly but I can’t seem to find my voice these days now that I feel the need to filter my words because they affect more then just me (I am now a wife and a mother). But I find joy in reading your words again, in reading you share your story, one that I had truly kept wondering about and hoping you were ok.

    Admittedly I wondered how your connection to Heather was these days, all these years later. And here I found my explanation without even having to ask. I know I’m a little late to the game with this, but thanks for coming back. Thanks for writing about the tough topics and thanks for sharing that much missed voice.

  12. Andrea, Sweetney (Tracey) has the biggest heart. She is a talent and such a sensitive and skilled writer. I would be delighted if you found me recently through her and I am grateful you found me through Heather (dooce) all those years ago. They are both such talented women.

    Thank you for liking my blog voice and thank you for finding it relatable. It means a lot to me. I understand the need to filter and to protect loved ones. That is one reason I unplugged. My boys were in such vulnerable places and I wanted to be with them and watch them grow.

    You are not late to the game. You never know how life will turn out. It ebbs. It flows and even when I blunder I try to get over it and point my feet forward again. All the best to you and your new family! I hope you keep reading! 🙂

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