Fear And Escape, Part 1
For a while now I've been having dreams about being left behind and escaping something. Usually, I'm in a huge, foreign city and the city is going off the grid, Armageddon-style, power and mass transit are shutting down, and chaos is ensuing. And I'm alone and panicked.
I've been thinking, "what the hell does this mean?". I'm no dream reader. If I took this to my shrink maybe we'd go up a ramp or two into my past and dig something out that correlates. But really, what am I fleeing, why is everything blowing up - and why am I alone?
But the truth is, I've been fleeing my whole life.
Imagine growing up with omni-present government oppression and living in fear from the time you're born. Always looking around, over your shoulder, around the corner and being told to never trust anyone. That was Poland, circa 1970's. Communism had its nasty tentacles not only in our daily lives in Poland but also on our psyches. I've not lived in Poland since 1979, but the ideologically induced tentacles on my psyche have stretched into the far present.
Communism meant you did not know who was your friend, who was watching you and would turn on you and turn you in, for anything. You could end up in jail, your career forever affected, your rations cut. Or worse. The smallest things, like looking "too happy", could be construed to mean that "something" was going on behind the scenes, that you were conducting illegal and Western-like practices or business and you were going against the proletariat and all the "joys" of living it equally provided to you and your fellow Poles. Everyone was supposed to be equal. Equally f*****. No exceptions. Except for the ruling party, of course, who drove around in Mercedes limos and pretty much enjoyed the Western-style level of living they were "protecting" us from. It was the biggest bunch of hypocritical and idealogical BS to ever come off the pages of a book, Karl Marx's book! This is the only time I will swear in THIS book. Communism makes me mad to this day. This ideology destroyed the life and family I knew.
But we fled, we fled communism in September of 1979. We escaped Poland on a ferry boat to Sweden, just before martial law was declared and the borders were closed as Solidarity made its official appearance at the end of 1979 in Poland. It was close. I was ten. I never saw some of my family members and friends again, never went back to my school or to my home in our small Baltic coast home town of Sopot. Life as I knew it "exploded" like a burning city, watched from the safety of a life raft, drifting off into the unknown distance of the open sea.