My husband woke up this morning in a somewhat bad mood; and blamed me for it. Having gone to sleep much earlier than he did I am not sure what I could have possibly done. I went to sleep thinking he was a little frustrated with me, but not so much that he was angry about it. As I got ready for my day I found out that my husband’s feelings toward me this morning all revolved around a dream that he had. Those minutes, those seconds that he dreamt last night change the very perception he awoke with. And I could understand.
Dreams have multiple connotations in our worlds. On one hand, dreams represent that elusive belief that what we truly want, what we truly want to gain, is ours for the asking; if only we ask enough times. On the other hand it is that sometimes lucid movie reel that flows through our minds when we are at our most defenseless. There are those that believe that those movie reels are nothing more than a prediction of the future, a defined and deep categorization of the emotions that we can not express, or worse the result of some spicy food we ate the night before.
Studies revolve around the likelihood of our believing those dreams, or have deep enough emotions that those dreams are remembered the next day. Studies revolve around the number of times we dream, what causes us to dream, and if a man dreams more than a woman. People are fascinated about dreams that slowly pass through our conscience and sub-conscience when the world is quiet and vulnerable. There are books, there are experts who will help us translate dreams into a language that our miserable little brains can only understand when we are doing nothing but sleeping. There are websites dedicated to a single, flashing entity in our dreams that can predict what is going to happen, what are greatest fears are, and what exactly is slowly destroying us behind the veils of our day.
Personally I have mixed feelings about dreams, but based on my mental history I am sure everyone can understand that I would also be perfectly happy never to have another one. I have dreamt of simple things like not being able to find my shoes, losing my shoes at the circus or at a gathering, and waking up the next morning to horrific news that would change my life. I am sure there are those out there that would jump on this dream and tell me that losing my shoes represents losing my way when something so bad happens. Or maybe they would say the losing of the shoes represents the loss of something very important to me; although how shoes are the representation of my importance I will never understand. And the truth is if I were to have that dream or even a similar dream tonight about losing my shoes, my shirt, or even my favorite teddy bear I would honestly grab my children and find a safe room to live in for the foreseeable future. I would grab them and run as fast and as far as I could. Because while I can sit here and hope that my dreams can’t foretell things that might never happen, I believe in the depth of my soul that it isn’t a chance I will ever be able to take.
I dreamt once that my husband showed up at a garden party I was attending with another woman, and announced he was done with me. I have never attended a garden party in my life, in fact, I don’t like parties in general and only attend one on the threat of dire consequences. And my husband has never shown a tendency to be that mean, frustrating and upsetting absolutely, but he isn’t the type to shove something in my face like that. And during the dream I didn’t recognize anyone that was surrounding me? Again, I imagine someone, somewhere could take that dream and run with all the alterations or visions they see within the simple picture I gave. But the truth is despite its strangeness, and even to a degree how wrong it was, the feelings that accompanied the dream were difficult to say the least.
I was bad at my husband that next morning, despite the fact I had never been to a garden party and seen him with someone new. I found myself upset at the man simply because my subconscious felt that this was a possibility and my subconscious wanted me to suffer. It wasn’t his fault, he hadn’t done anything to predicate this dream; he was completely innocent. But in my heart and in my head, I was angry at him like the whole dream had been real. It wasn’t fair, but it took me hours to get away from the depression and yes, fear that the dream created.
The truth is dreams have such incredible power over who and what we are. Even when we know that they are not real they change our minds and focus our attention on the improbabilities. And when those dreams follow recognizable paths they are scarier, and more upsetting than reality ever could be. They have power because our mind has such incredible power over all that we are and all that we believe. Everything from the scratching of an itch, to jumping off the bridge, is completely controlled by our brain.
I find it scary that my brain works without my knowledge. Even understanding that my brain is moving air in and out of my lungs every moment of every day, without my awareness is slightly nerve wrecking. The idea that my brain is smarter than I am, even when my knowledge is stored within its very portals can be off-putting. Do I imagine a computer controlling me, or a separate person, sort of like an alien being. Do I tell my brain what to do, or does my brain tell me? Where do I begin and where does the brain end? Where is the comfort that my brain and I are working in tandem, together toward a common goal? Where is the belief that my brain won’t go all matrix with a simple colored pill?
The brain in all its fascination, can also be the scariest thing on this planet. We don’t understand great, gaping, portions of our brain. We don’t understand where thoughts come from, how they are formed, and why they are delivered. We don’t know how it processes sound waves, just that it does. We don’t know the details, we don’t the whys. And when we don’t know why, we can’t predict when. When we don’t know why, we can’t understand the counter effects, the medicine, the antidotes. We can’t make the nightmares go away, even if we pretty them up and call them dreams. They are a part of the landscape of our mind, and nothing that we do, nothing that we try to do will burn them away.
My dreams are never nice; although I believe that I only remember those dreams that leave a stain on my day or my heart. The heartbreaking, scary, and dark dreams are the ones I remember because they are the ones that most destroy my own sense of safety. I can’t tell you the last time I dreamed something beautiful, deep at night in the silence of sleep. I can’t tell you the last time I woke up smiling and laughing because some dream I felt brought me to that ability. I can however, tell you about the night darkness, the running, the screams, and the pleading for something kinder and nicer. I can remember the amazing amounts of dirty, callous, and most times destructive images that can stay with me long after the sun rises. I don’t like the word dreams for these images; because all the beauty that dreams should hold can never be found deep in my night.