I had a dream last night that left me uneasy and stressed. I couldn't figure out what exactly about it bothered me until I spoke it out loud to another person. In the dream, I was studying abroad with several other students. Six of us were in a car driving to or from a wedding, I don't recall. The driver declared that she was drunk just as we passed an unmarked police car. She panicked and I took the wheel from the back seat. I could hardly reach, much less see, but I maneuvered the car until we were pulled over, as expected. Everyone hopped out of the car and I was left sitting in the backseat, although I expected to be fingered as the driver, since, technically, I was driving. I suppose it protected me from prosecution because it was clear I wasn't the "driver," yet I felt responsible for the safety of the passengers and protecting the driver from trouble.
When the officer questioned us, I kept my mouth shut. The rest of the group said more than enough. He decided not to charge the driver, but he did take me aside. He questioned why I hadn't said anything. I was put on the spot and scared. I said that, in my experience, it's best to speak only when spoken to when talking in terms of authorities. I think I've grown to believe that involving myself on the behalf of others will do me harm.
I think I've lived a lot of my life feeling responsible for fixing the errors of others. To a large degree, it's what lawyers do. It's why we are needed. Just like the nice girl who made an error in judgment to drive a car when she was impaired, many of these people are not horrible people, but when put in a position of fighting for themselves, they forget that I meant to be helping. And maybe, while meaning to be helping, I'm doing no one any good anyway. Maybe I'm simply allowing others to get away with making a mess of things and having someone to charge with the cleanup. Maybe this world is just a little to hard for the likes of me. It's very unnerving to feel like a victim, to feel like I've suffered "trauma." Yet that's what they call it when I speak to therapists, psychiatrists, and social workers. I am warned not to subject myself to too much, lest I re-traumatize myself.
So I've made the choice to seek softer avenues. It still makes me feel weak and I still feel responsible for so much that I have no control over. It has been, without a doubt, an overriding theme in my downfall. On the other hand, I'm taking back some control by removing myself from scenarios like those I've walked away from and those that mirror my dream. Here's hoping for more soothing dreams tonight and less trauma moving forward.