Was It All Just A Dream?

24 Jan

This post is coming to you at 9:45am on a Saturday. The reason it is being written this early on a day that I can FINALLY sleep in is because it’s inspiration is still so fresh & vivid in my mind. I just woke up, about 10 minutes ago from one of the most awful nightmares I have had in recent memory. Literally my silk Eiffel Tower printed pjs are still slicked to my body with sweat & I can feel my heart still racing.

It was one of those powerfully gripping dreams. Where you actually somehow think it’s happening in real life, so when you do finally open your eyes you spend a few seconds groggily confused at the sight of your bedroom. Yup, those dreams are rough. And you just want to tell someone. You want to run downstairs & tell your mom, like you’re a scared little 5-year-old, so she can hug you & tell you that it was just a dream. But my roommate, Jen, is currently on vacation & I’m all alone here in the apartment.

So why not tell it to all of you?

First off, I am someone who truly believes in the importance of dream analysis. I think it is very important to explain & understand why we imagine up these sort of pictures after we close are sleeping eyes. Do I believe that crows in dreams mean you’re going to die? No. But I do believe that your dreams, especially nightmares, is your sub-conscious trying to tell you something. 

All my childhood, I was haunted by this re-occurring dream, & it’s crazy that even now I can picture it all so clearly: I am trapped in what appears to be a large boiler room in the basement of a building. It’s dark & musty & I can hear the hum of machinery all around me. I am standing on a sort of door mat, & there’s a locked door behind me. There is a sort of path in front of me, leading around the machinery. However, I am paralyzed by fear. I can’t move forward. I feel so sick to my stomach & begin crying & panicking so much that I wake up & cry to my mom about the dream.

I haven’t had this dream in over a decade now, but as a child my strange sleep habits didn’t stop there. No, all throughout my adolescence I was an avid sleep-walker (something hereditary that my dad used to do). My dad’s worst episode was him opening the window in his attic bedroom & trying to walk on the roof. My worst episode was me somehow managing to walk down all 13 stairs & sit on the foot of the couch before I began screaming at the top of my lungs.

What a pleasant family tree!

Another amusing/terrifying thing I’ve done all my life (still do to this very day) is sleep-talk. My roommate in college, Lila, would actually write down all the crazy things I’d say & we’d laugh about them later. However, this is a very far cry from my childhood, where my mom said she would often go into my room late at night to drop off my laundry & I would sit straight up in bed, look her in the eyes & ramble off in a made-up language. But she said it was a coherent language, not just mumbled words or sounds. Yes, I was the poster-child for a creepy kid in a horror movie, essentially. 

Pair this long history of sleep maladies with my extremely creative mind & you get one HECK of a dream. I usually dream every single night & typically always remember them. Most make no sense & are with people I haven’t thought about in a while. I notice when I eat different food or drink a lot my dreams are crazier, but that’s just science.

(Kids, this is your brain on DREAMS!)

However, I notice that whenever I do have a nightmare it’s about something quite rational. It’s about that little problem or flaw I have been sweeping under the rug of denial for far too long. Then there I am, sitting up in bed trying to catch my breath, facing the problem head on. 

Last night my dream would not have been considered a nightmare by many people but to me it definitely was. Myself & about 10 other people (random classmates, random co-workers, random old friends & people I have never seen before) were all staying in this big house. However, as each day went by, I began to notice something shift.

All day people were slightly rude to me. They changed topics whenever I walked by, they avoided me & later on in the dream, were directly just plain mean to me. I soon realized to my horror that everyone of these people flat out hated me. And as the dream progressed they became meaner & meaner about it. The eventually all ganged up on me & insulted me to my face saying they didn’t want me there & I should leave. I, at first, tried to ask why they all felt this way about me, but I soon turned on this idea & then took on a lone wolf persona. These events finally exploaded with me calling them each out on being a coward for following the crowd when I did nothing to them. Then they physically pushed me out of the house all while laughing & insulting me.

I woke up angry (at these people in real life! Laughable), upset & paranoid (OMG do they actually feel this way about me?!).

You really can’t help asking that question for a moment after a dream like this because it’s so vivid. So instead of holding a grudge against this random assortment of people in my dream, I decided to analyze why I had a dream like this & why it was so upsetting for me.

Already the metaphors & parallels are overwhelming, because the fear of not being liked is quite a rational one for me. It stems from the fear of rejection, something I have always had as long as I can remember. It’s strange though because the people in the dream who said they did not like me are people whose opinions I could not care less about. It wasn’t like it was my mom or bff Courtney telling me I was a terrible person, it was random people. So here is my dream interpretation of that:

People From The Past: Fear of Past Self. It’s funny how life & circumstances drive people away. One minute you have all these great friends & acquaintances, next you just have all these people who you don’t talk to anymore but still get random updates on their life via Facebook. These people in my dream were exes of my friends, so people who I met & hung out with solely based on their direct connection of another person. It’s always awkward when that break-up happens because you want to be loyal to your friend firstly, but if it was a mutual break-up you really have no reason to hate their ex. But at the same time hanging out with them/talking to them would look bad on your part. It’s awkward. 

Why Was This Person In The Dream?: Because I realize I have changed so much over the years. And am worried people are only going to remember me forever based on past actions. Unfortunately this is the case, but usually if you re-connect with someone from high school or whatever in present day, chances are they’re pretty cool now & different. That’s life.

People From The Present: Fear of Present Self. This is a biggie & definitely my main concern. For some reason, as outgoing & friendly as I try to be, I am always worried in the back of my mind that people don’t like me. Not going to lie–I’m a quirky individual & have always found that people either see “the real me” or they don’t. This being said, it’s always overwhelming making new friends. I felt this when I started college, I felt this when I moved to Prague & I am definitely feeling it now with my new job. It’s hard for me to “pitch myself” to others. It’s difficult to be kind without your kindness being misunderstood as fake, or to be funny without your humor being judged. Basically I feel like I am entering this new office where all 100 of my colleagues are already close, having inside jokes & past experiences & I am the odd girl out. I feel anti-social eating lunch alone, but at the same time, I am not the type of person who wants to invite myself along to things & be a third (fifth/seventh/ninth) wheel. Help!

Why Was This Person In The Dream?: I feel like since I have only been in this position for 2 months, a handful of people have come close to even beginning to know ‘The Real Jessi’. I feel like I have a ton of acquaintances, people who you say “Hi” to in the hallways, yup got those for days. But man, screw acquaintances, I really want some friends. People who invite me to things outside of work, who talk to me more than just telling me there’s someone on Line 88 for me. I think this is just something that will come with time, but it’s still a very difficult transition for me. 

Random People Who I Don’t Know: Metaphors for My Ego & Superego. Throughout the dream while I was hurt by the awful things the people from my past & present were saying about me, I was especially baffled by the things the people who I didn’t know were saying! I can remember screaming, “I don’t even KNOW you!”. But these people seemed to know all about me. While you want to be a good friend to those who matter in your life, it also doesn’t hurt to have a favorable reputation those who don’t know you. Therefore I believe that this part of the dream was the Freudian concept of my “ego” or ways of being socially acceptable & “superego” or how the outside world views my way of life. 

Why Was This Person In The Dream?: Because I am always concerned about my reputation. Once you enter into a new network or friends circle, you usually begin with a clean slate. However, word spreads fast when you do something either wrong or right. I think this goes back to a very primitive tribe/pack instinct. We all just want to be accepted into the pack!

So now it has been over an hour since my nightmare ended & you know what, dear readers? I’m feeling a lot better. It’s funny how when we’re kids we have nightmares about monsters, something we know logically do not exist. However, nightmares become trickier as you get older. They become things that are very possible, but at the same time–when you really think about them–really are far-fetched. And no matter how fast your heart is racing when you wake up, you can always take a deep breath & repeat that comforting mantra your mom told you when you were 5-years-old: It was just a dream.

JG 🙂

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