This space serves as a place of healing and wonder, redeeming the cast-out witches, queens and goddesses in you, the modern woman.
This month, NY-based “therapist for creatives” Melissa Daum, LMFT, has set up her couch for Free People. In her work, Melissa draws from ancient symbols, Greek mythology, fairy tales, and alchemy to shed light on modern-day conundrums. This realm of feminine magic and symbolism is easily overlooked, on a cultural level and in turn, within ourselves. In an effort to better identify and explain some of this magic, Melissa wants to field questions from YOU! Feel free to share with her your deepest secrets, strangest dreams, most absurd single behavior. This space serves as a place of healing and wonder, redeeming the cast-out witches, queens and goddesses in you, the modern woman.
SEND YOUR QUESTIONS/DREAMS/SECRETS to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be addressing YOUR thoughts, so please don’t be shy!
This week’s question comes from J:
I had a dream that I was preparing to walk in a fashion show. During the dream, my friends and I were rehearsing the catwalk and I was ordering them to get in position. The show was Halloween-themed, and the outfits were shiny and glamorous. The room was really small, and I instructed the assistants to move the chairs from the back room to the front room so the attendees had a better view.
During the show, I was screaming and ordering everyone to hurry up. It seems like I was the one organizing the show. Once I was about to walk in my last outfit my dream switched to another dream in which I was with my cousin in the middle of a parking garage that overlooked a lake. I insisted to my cousin to propose to me but he was afraid (weird, because I don’t want him to propose me in real life — yuck). Afterward, my mom was next to me telling me to stop insisting. (I believe he had a ring but don’t remember.)
He was sitting in a shopping cart while I continued to insist him on getting on one knee.
Is it raining cats and dogs? This dream is plentiful with motifs of catlike femininity and reflective surfaces, in contrast with you barking orders and an overall sense of urgency. In the opening scene of your dream, you’re preparing to walk the catwalk in a fashion show, a Halloween-themed fashion show no less, with shiny, glamorous outfits. This portion feels like the realm of cats, and cats have long been intertwined with witches, sorcery, and the dark feminine. Maybe the cats would stray if you didn’t order them to get “in position.” There’s a conflict here as you want to have order over the cats, yet you are also one of them. The problem is that unlike a dog, a cat is not driven to please her master, only herself, and if you’ve ever known a cat she even seems to delight in putting her self-serving nature on display.
This dream conveys tension between being seen and being behind the scene (seen). You’re the model and director simultaneously, seer and seen. While you want to be viewed as a shimmering, glamorous cat, you’re also anxious about controlling this more seductive side and you want to make sure the audience can see it clearly (making sure the attendees had a good view).
Just as you ordered your assistants to move the chairs from the back room to the front, and you were about to walk your catwalk from the back of the runway to the front, the dream switched gears and took you to the middle of a garage. What in the world is that about! It’s uncanny how this dream is speaking spatially, among its other motifs. There you are in the middle of the garage, pressuring your cousin to propose to you. I’d want to ask you about where in you’re life you’re wanting to boss people around, or is this dream compensating for a potentially trapped voice that longs to make demands?
The parking garage overlooked a lake. To “overlook” in dream-speak could signify a “looking over” or a review of sorts, and lakes are reflective bodies of calm water. My hunch is this is an extension of the shimmering costume from the first half, perhaps another reference to a feminine dimension. Again we see a masculine/feminine juxtaposition, or an attempt to hold the tension between action and reflection. Your male cousin, the only actual male in the dream, was afraid. Might he signify a split off part of your own masculine dimension? Barking dogs are often afraid too. Perhaps you’re awakening to emerging developments in your masculine and feminine sides — the masculine characterized by agency, voice, and action and the feminine by reflection, depth, and sensuality — and understandably scared to wed these opposites together.
Melissa is a therapist in private practice in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her work is grounded in psychoanalysis and Jungian theory. For several years Melissa was a therapist at an eating disorder day hospital program in Manhattan and she continues to work with men and women struggling with eating and body image issues. Illustrations are by Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist and designer, Erica Prince. Through drawing, sculpture, installation, relational projects, functional housewares and more, Erica’s work presents opportunities for speculation and exploration of potentialities. Her works have been featured in T: New York Times Style Magazine, Vice, Artsy, NPR, Wallpaper and Canadian Art.
Erica and Melissa were college roommates at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and have continued to collaborate, inspire, and encourage one another. From Sex and the City Psychoanalysis Club to ladies terrarium nights, experimental performance art projects, and regular dates to discuss research projects, life, love, and book ideas.