Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Had A Dream. . .Again

I have the talent and, apparently, rare ability to universally remember my dreams. I always remember both having dreamed, and what those dreams entailed. In fact, I can recall in graphic, vivid, technicolor detail many of my dreams that I awoke from twenty years ago. I have talked to many people over the years who can never seem to remember their dreams, and still more who do so only rarely, so perhaps this makes me special?!?! I don't know.

Like most people, I imagine, my dreams involve random pairings and situations, places that weren't actually places, and people who are seemingly themselves one minute and someone else entirely the next. You know what I am talking about. How many times have you struggled to relay to someone your experiences only to find yourself having to say something like "I was at my grandma's house, only it wasn't really her house. . ." etc. In this way, dreams are as fascinating as they are confusing.

And while my dreams are always vivid and ever changing, I have some recurring themes that I have cycled through hundreds of times over the years. And while their situational specifics may differ, their overall messages seem unchanged. Why they replay themselves over and over I cannot say. Perhaps they contain a message that I have yet to actually, truly receive. I like to believe that my dreams are more than just a random firing of neural pathways, that they might be, rather, a way of unconsciously whispering in my own ear.

First, and perhaps most prevalently, I dream that I am in a play, only I somehow do not know any of my lines. In these dreams I often find myself being thrown into a part at the very last minute, or never being given a script in the first place. I spend what little time I have before the performance searching for the script for said production to no avail, and usually wake up before the curtain actually rises. I have this type of dream at least once a week. Now, call me crazy, but I don't need a crystal ball to deduce that I obviously have a deep seated fear of being caught unprepared. For other people, this same fear plays itself out in the form of surprise tests, or pop quizzes, for which they have not studied. For me, it is always performing. And while it may seem silly, at the time this dream is very unsettling and produces a great deal of anxiety. Undeniably, too, the theme of searching is almost universal in most of my dreams.

I also have dreams where I am at my father's house visiting, or while no one else is home. Now, bare in mind that I have not seen or spoken to my father in thirteen years. And while I have no specific desire to share the entire back story, suffice it to say that these dreams are accompanied by feelings of constant dread and impending doom. In them, I know I am not supposed to be there, and am often there due only to the coercion of others. My time is spent constantly worried about being caught, mounting fear of what will happen if I am found, and often involves a great deal of both hiding and running. Now this one is a little bit blurry in terms of obviousness.

While it cannot be denied that my inner child is still quite fearful of being forced into any interaction with my father, I would like to believe that I have gained enough perspective, and the emotional and physical distance in which to feel vastly more comfortable than this, yet it consistently reemerges and plays out in my sleep. It may also be worth noting here that the theme of running away, and being pursued or chased are also major universal themes in many of my daily dreams.

Lately, too, have I had dreams in which I awaken to find myself back in New Mexico. Trapped. Isolated. Caring for my ever more demanding grandparents. This one, I have to say, feels more like post traumatic stress than secret hidden message, but its nearly daily repetition of late is undeniable, and worthy of emotional exploration. I still feel such guilt and resentment about the whole situation. Guilt that I didn't dedicate the rest of my life to their constant care, and resentment that my sizable contribution went essentially unnoticed and forgotten. I guess half of me fights to return there to fulfill a deep need to satisfy some primordial sense of familial obligation, while the other half of me is running toward freedom, away from the emotional tyranny. Somehow I have to find a place to forgive myself for (essentially what ends up feeling like) failing to fix their situation, and forgive them and my family for having expected me to do so in the first place.

Also, since getting Bentley, in almost every dream I have, at some point I realize I no longer have him in my hands, knowing that he is typically with me at all times. I panic. I have neglected to keep an eye on him, and now he is lost. And a huge search mission then mounts and intertwines into whatever the dream's current situation.

I do feel a deep fear of not being responsible enough for caring for my little dog. Like an unfit mother, I fear that he will be taken from me due to abject negligence. And while I know he lives perhaps the most pampered of all chihuahua lives, I fear not providing him with enough love, and comfort, happiness, and affection. Isn't that silly?

Is this just a fear of being irresponsible? Of losing the things and people that I love? Of not being enough? Of failing?

Is it strange to dream essentially the same dreams over and over again?

Are there more, patently obvious, overlapping issues that I am missing here?

Am I just a complete nut job?


gabrielle said...

i feel that i used to have rich, vivid dreams. many MANY times, have i had one where i forgot the lines of a play, or someone tells me TONIGHT, YOU'RE the LEAD! but i've never even seen the script. my most popular plaguing dream is always about being improperly exposed. i have showed up to school with no shirt, or often -- no pants. usually i hide under a desk, but sometimes i try to get other people to take off their clothes too. i'm all 'there's no need for pants today, it's sooo hot!'

lately though, where have my dreams been? i must have sold them to the devil for my glimpses of good times with you in the basement. sigh.

B Kinch said...

Yep, you're special! Our brains aren't really supposed to make memory juice when we're asleep but yours apparently does. You should write a book about it. I have recurring places in my dreams-places I've never been to or maybe don't even exist, but when I remember my dreams, they are always there. And the places fit into a framework. In a dream, I always know where I am on the map of my dreamworld.

adam said...

I almost never remember my dreams. I'm not sure if being able to do so would be a gift or a curse. It would sure be interesting though, to see what my mind is up to when it thinks I'm not looking.

Cheyenne said...

god. i am forever walking through the halls of my high school naked as a jaybird, assuming that if there is enough confidence in my stride, no one will notice my nudity. i will try to shift my binder strategically to conceal what has to be the greatest oversight in my history as a student, but binders aren't much help.

in other recurring high school inferiority complex news, i repeatedly dream that i am using the bathroom somewhere like, the aisle of a bus, or the ubiquitous school hallway. i always seem to be just beyond people's peripheral vision when on the john, but i am acutely aware that they are teetering on the edge of noticing.

i don't know, what can i say? know your lines and stay out of your dad's house, no matter who is luring you in there...