I have always been a dreamer of weird dreams. And by that I don’t mean that I have always had strange aspirations in life. I mean that I have always had crazy dreams–sometimes good crazy, sometimes bad crazy. For awhile, I told my husband about my weird dreams the day after, but after I noticed he’d get that same look on his face every time (you know, the “is it too late to get this thing annulled because she’s crazy?” look), I decided I might want to keep them to myself.
The first time I remember having a really vivid dream, I think I was about 4 years old. In the dream, my brother Jeremy and I were having a picnic by a dark, dirty river. The scenery was reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are. At one point in the dream, an oversize housecat (black cat with white belly and legs) with ridiculously long legs came up and threatened us. I was terrified and hid behind Jeremy, who picked up a paper towel and whacked the cat on the nose with it, killing the vicious beast. (To date, it is the most heroic thing he has done for me.)
And so it has been for many years. Sometimes my dreams are long, convoluted epics, and sometimes they are mere snippets, like in college when I dreamed that a guy on a sand volleyball court was holding me in his arms, and I asked, “Do you think hairy legs are sexy?” to which he replied, “MmmmHMMM!” I know. My brain is messed up. And I never even did drugs.
In the past year, I’ve had a lot of dreams where I get up in the morning and start my day, but then I realize (because of something out of the ordinary happening in the dream) that I am still asleep. So I wake up and try again, only to discover time and time again that I’m still dreaming. Sometimes this repeats ten times before I actually do wake up.
I do have scary dreams from time to time, which wake me up in the night, heart racing and panicked. They usually involve natural disasters (tornadoes especially), gunshots (I was shot in the back in a dream once, and it took me a few minutes to realize that I wasn’t actually paralyzed when I woke up), and animal attacks (could be snakes, could be T-rexes…).
The one dream that is guaranteed to wake me up with anxiety every time is dreaming that I have to pee. Bed wetting was never a problem for me (that I remember), but once when I was 9, I had a dream that I had gotten out of bed and gone to the bathroom. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary–our house was normal, my pajamas were the ones I had fallen asleep in–so I sat down to do my business. I noticed something was amiss when I didn’t hear the pee splashing in the toilet. I woke with a start to discover I had wet the bed. So embarrassing. And here, 25 years later, I still get nervous about bathroom dreams. I get near a bathroom in a dream, and I wake up. Even when I’m awake and really tired, if I sit down on the toilet, I have to tell myself that I’m awake before I can…proceed.
Enough about pee dreams. Where was I going with this?
So last night in my dream, I received an e-mail about a meeting that was actually intended for a friend of mine. The meeting was supposed to take place the next morning, so I decided I would call the friend, even though it was after 10 p.m. Not so strange, you might think–except that I was reading the e-mail off the side of a swan, who kept sticking his head in the way, which made the relaying of the message difficult. After I hung up the phone, I folded the swan’s neck down to his body (much like you would fold a flip phone when you were done) and set him on a table. However, his bill, evidently, got caught in something, and the more he struggled to free himself, the angrier he became. And that anger, of course, was directed at me. I tried to take refuge on my bed, but I had only a pillow as a shield.
You know what? The more I write about this, the less it makes sense. So suffice it to say that I awoke just as this dream swan was lunging for my face, and I believe I actually whimpered aloud several times. It took me a few minutes before I realized that it was highly unlikely that a swan would attack me in my actual bed and that I could calm down and go back to sleep.
I know I could consult some books that will tell me what each little detail of each dream means, but I’m not too sure I want to know what they mean. Mostly, I hope they don’t mean anything. What I would like to know is why I’m only marginally creative at best while awake, but asleep my brain knows no bounds.