The Disturbing Animal Neglect Dream

The Disturbing Animal Neglect Dream

I’ve had this dream at least three times and Googled it to see who else has dreamt the same thing…looks like I’m not alone (which is comforting).

For anyone who is not familiar, it’s sickening and horrifying, worse than a falling dream…here’s how it goes: 

In the midst of a busy day, I suddenly remember that I am supposed to be caring for a dog, and it’s been X number of days since I last fed the dog. The dream has different degrees of vividness…most recently, I remember seeing a cage with a blanket over it, somewhere in my house. I walk past it and the weight of the guilt hits me — it’s so quiet, and in horror I think the dog is dead by now, and it’s all my fault. I had placed a blanket over the cage to keep the dog from barking or something like that. Anyway, I lift the blanket, hating myself, and see that the dog is shriveled and barely alive. I open the cage and hastily grab the empty water bowl and fill it, and I give the dog food, too…the dog is weak but it goes to drink. I watch the dog drink and wonder if it’s going to drink too much and die from water bloat…so I think to grab my phone and check what to do…

Then I wake up and realize it was a dream, and I am SO RELIEVED that the whole thing didn’t actually happen.

The truth is, I don’t even have a pet. I haven’t had one in ten years. I can’t remember ever forgetting to take care of a pet. So I figured the dream must mean something else. 

I checked a few websites, and they seemed to concur that the dream “indicates feelings of not living up to one’s responsibilities, or feeling that one is failing in an area of life one considers very important.” Also:

“In a dream to feed is to give what you’re feeding energy and value.  On a subconscious level, the dream dog may be symbolizing the animalistic side of you. Perhaps you have not yet acknowledged the existence of an instinctive, disinhibited, animal side of your self and perhaps this part of you is feeling neglected and under nourished – like your dog in your dream.”

I kept thinking about what part of myself I am neglecting. According to someone on Quora, the dream could be a reflection of stress–stress because you feel you have too many responsibilities to handle properly:

“In real life, do you fail sometimes to finish an important task and does this make you feel scared? Or do you never fail, because you do the craziest things to live up to expectations?”

I am SUPER critical of myself, and often feel that I’m never doing enough. I also get distracted easily…I try to do things that are working for others that might not be the best thing for me…and I get distracted because I think I can do everything and do it super fast.

**Deep breaths** 

We recently had an issue with the website and a bunch of stuff to fix ASAP and it was a holiday nonetheless…I had just gotten out of the shower and rushed to my computer and didn’t get dressed ’til the problem was fixed. I was sitting in a towel for two hours. Ah, the life of an entrepreneur.

I think that people with many skills often have similar challenges — there are so many things you can do, and you do them well…but what do you focus on? Can you find the work that is fulfilling and allows you to sleep at night without a fear that you have neglected some part of yourself, without stress that you are not doing enough?

For 2021, one of my goals is to focus. Focus on what is really important to me, and stop trying to do everything just because someone else seems to be doing it. When I started this website in 2014, I thought I was just going to teach English to native Arabic speakers. That’s it. We had an app and a book out, and this blog would just support all that. Then I started doing editing/proofreading for Arab clients, just on a case-by-case basis…I enjoy it, so I keep doing it. I also did a tattoo video that got a lot of traction…pretty soon people started paying to have us translate their next Arabic tattoo. I had NO IDEA there was so much interest in Arabic tattoos…go figure. And I love doing these — it’s fulfilling, I love that non-Arabic speakers are getting Arabic tattoos…spreading the language love 😉

About a year ago we started selling Arabic merch on our site. People also book private English lessons (virtual, of course). In 2020 I made it a goal to be more active on Youtube — and it has been a blast. I posted videos about my trip to Cuba, English writing/grammar, Arabic words, my trip to Lake Tahoe…this year we already have a couple of really cool interviews in the pipeline — a chat with an expat working abroad, an interview with a Saudi woman who is recently divorced — on her 6-year marriage, infidelity, and him taking a second wife….and an interview with a bisexual Saudi man on restrictions/cultural norms in the Gulf. He asked that we use an alias for the interview, and that we also change his voice for the final edit (so you have an idea already of how taboo these things are…). Exciting stuff, and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

I’m still in the research process–seeing what works, what doesn’t, and trying to get better all the time. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, and think I’m going in the wrong direction, so I take a step back and try something else. 

What grounds me is reading your messages and comments, and just realizing how incredibly LUCKY I am to have made it this far. I mean, 30K Youtube Subscribers? And over 1k people following @Lahjaty on instagram?! And all the hits that my Eye Rash allergy story keeps getting?! I had NO IDEA that so many people would benefit from me sharing my story/photos (and I do NOT come from a background where it was okay to be vulnerable…)! 

I am so so humbled and grateful for all of you. Thank you.

Here’s hoping that we can be even better in 2021. Here’s to the new year, and our new digs in Houston(!)

Love you guys so much <3 

If you have suggestions, comments, or questions, talk to us here! And..add me on Medium here !

-Shannon 

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