“You are the architect of your dreams.” An interesting quote. True? I’ve pondered it. Perhaps more than the average person. Certainly more than my husband who claims he doesn’t dream. I dream A LOT, and I like to recount them immediately upon waking. I find dreams incredibly interesting. In the best of times, my husband listens to me, making eye contact, but clearly dreaming he was anywhere else. More likely than not, I get a nod or an “mmm-hmm” while he scrolls through his iPad. “But it felt so real!” I tell him, like that makes a lick of difference in the morning’s cold reality.
Some dreams are clearly an extension of where our heads are at during the day. Who hasn’t dreamed of a stressful situation at work, yummy food while on a diet, or an intimate encounter with a coworker that makes you feel a bit queasy in the bright light of day? But why do I still (35 years later) dream I’m at school and have forgotten my locker combination? It wasn’t a worry for me then, why am I thinking about it now? I’ll dream I’m smoking a cigarette, a habit I gave up 25 years ago. It tastes wonderful in my dream, but I hate myself for doing it. In more recent years, the national news leaked into my subconscious when I dreamed I was back in middle school and hiding from an active shooter.
And what is up with those recurring dreams? One of mine involves running in anti-gravity boots. Well, I don’t actually appear to be wearing boots, but each stride I take lifts me off the ground and moves me forward about 10 feet. In slo-mo, of course.
When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time playing with the neighbor kids about four houses down. Over the course of several years I would occasionally dream that I was alone in their backyard. In a place where, in real life there was a tree, in my dream there was a hollow in the ground and a dragon/dinosaur was curled up like a dog sleeping there. He would wake up as I turned to run and then he would chase me in slow motion as I ran toward home. I would fall down on the sidewalk in front of our house, EVERY time. In the same place. He never caught me, but I never made it home either.
I’ve also got it in spades in the weird dream category. Sometimes I’m at work, but it’s not where I work. Sometimes when I’m talking to someone, they will turn into someone else in the middle of our conversation. I dream I’m looking for a bathroom, but all I can find is a community bathroom. There are no stalls and all the toilets are just hanging out in the middle of a big huge room. When there are stalls, the walls are too short or there aren’t doors. Sometimes all the toilets are clogged and full. Once I dreamed I was standing outside and the ground just dropped out from under me and I fell 100 feet or so. Although it wasn’t just me, it was a world event with fires, and sirens and evacuations. I could have used a good pair of anti-gravity boots then.
My dad died unexpectedly. And for a period of time afterwards, I dreamed about bumping into him. I would pass him on the street or see him standing in line in Wendy’s (actually that mirrored a real life experience when I was sure I saw him). And once I dreamed he had been in South America. “Why didn’t you tell us?” I would ask him. He never seemed to have a good explanation.
I longed to dream of my Mom when she left us, but I didn’t for a long time. Then one night I dreamed I was standing in front of the house next door to the house I grew up in, and my Mom came out of our house. She didn’t say anything, just hugged me for a really long time. I can’t believe how much better I felt in the morning. I know that is an experience I will have again someday when I see her. But for now, seven years after her passing, she just kinda shows up in my dreams here and there. They are never about her. In fact, we don’t really interact. It’s like she has a cameo in my life. I’ll be having a conversation in a kitchen and she’ll be cooking something. Or I’ll be driving somewhere in my car and she is one of my passengers. And sometimes I’m just looking for a reasonably clean toilet in a private area to take care of business and she is there helping me look. For now, I’ll take it.