I have a dream. And I don’t mean a huge, ambitious, over-arching, world peace, pipe, living large kind of dream (although I have those too. A lot of them. And they’re all coming true. Except maybe world peace, but you never know) I mean I have a recurring dream.
*This is a heavy post and has nothing to do with fitness or nutrition. You have been warned.*
I have always had vivid dreams. When I was a kid I woke up from nightmares frequently, sometimes crying or screaming. I had my first orgasm while asleep when I was ten-dreaming I was being sexually assaulted. I still have very vivid dreams, some violent and conflicting, some of them beautiful, joyful or downright funny. Dan says I should write a book out of them, a horror novel. I don’t know why or where they come from, but I see them as a gift. I get to experience so much in my life, awake and asleep. I feel like I get to experience an extreme depth of emotions and events.
But there are a lot of nightmares. When I was in high-school and then all through college I had a recurring scenario in my dreams. The dreams were always different but this scenario was the same – someone had either kidnapped my little brother and sister or were looking for them to kill them and only I could save them because the rest of the family had turned against us. The predatory lead in these dreams ran the gamut, from family members, to the actual devil incarnite (played in my dream by Héctor Elizondo in his Chicago Hope incarnation). During the dreams I would have rushes of adrenalin, and feel panicked and anxious. Once, in my dream I hollowed out the underside of the matress in my bedroom and hid my little sister on top of the boxspring under the matress just minutes before my extended family (holding torches, I might add) stormed the front door of my childhood home looking for her. I woke up in a cold sweat. These dreams suddenly stopped some time after college for the most part – I did have a random one (someone coming to kill my little sister and I) the other night but it was the first in a long time. I don’t know exactly why but I have my own personal suspicions. I believe that when certain situations changed, whatever my subconcious was plagued with resolved itself.
But, in the past 3 years, I have a new recurring dream scenario. One with much less violence – less fight or flight and more embarrassing public tears. I now dream that someone who is or was close to me berates me very specifically – usually my sister, an ex-boyfriend or my current boyfriend. Sometimes all of them. Sometimes my family joins in too or my best friend. When I first moved to Singapore over 2 years ago I had just had a relationship end. I started having a recurring dream about an ex of mine. The first one was I was getting ready for a wedding, my wedding, the ex and I were cuddling, talking about how excited we were for our wedding day. When I showed up at the wedding it turned out to be his and another woman’s. When I walked in he laughed at me, as did she to the tune of “oh my god, a ha ha! You’re so text book, you had to know I didn’t love YOU. No one could love you. Oh, I totally played you. I just wanted to see if it would work. I can’t believe it did. Crista, you really are hilarious?” I turned around without a word and walked out of the ceremony. Another dream, the ex is at my childhood home leaning against the door explaining to me that he never really loved me and it was never meant to be real a relationship, that he’s sorry I believed him and got hurt. I let a few tears slide down and told him I understood and that it was foolish of me to believe (uncharacteristically I might add, in real life I’m a prideful bitch). Other dreams involved other ex-boyfriends, some that had them and my sister laughing at my stupidity and willingness to believe I’m valuable. When Dan and I started dating I had a few similar dreams with him replacing the ex. I woke up gasping once when, in my dream, Dan got mad at me for catching him kissing another girl and left me like that after slamming his fist against the wall. Btw, that’s not the real Dan. That’s evil dream Dan and I know the difference and I know my dreams are not “warning” me about him. In fact it’s not the real anyone, none of my exes or family members did these things or said these things to me.
But what are these dreams about? These seem to me to be the childishly insecure dreams of a teenager scared that their first love will dump them, or that no one will ever want them. While I’ll admit I had those fears when I was young I certainly don’t see myself as some scared insecure girl who needs to be handled gently NOW. I consider myself quite the independent woman. I’ve loved and lost and moved on, I’ve also done the leaving. I’ve always managed to find my pride and my dignity and my ambition. I imagine that one of the reasons I was able to establish a relationship like the one I have now is directly because of my experiences conquering insecurities and finding my self worth not solely in another person (I believe they call that co-dependant no?). Knowing who you are no matter how others treat you is a huge part of growing up and while I’ll never say I’m completely there, I am in a really good place in life. I’m strong and know how to be alone, I know how to take care of myself and in that I have the capacity to share my life with someone else.
Back to the dreams. My guess is there is still something buried deep inside, an insecurity that is masking itself as the men that have come in and out of my life-whatever they represent in dreamland. And it needs to be addressed. Does it have to do with body image and eating disorders? I still work on that every single freaking day, so there’s something that hasn’t clicked so I can move on. Is it that I keep looking to find my identity in activities or achievement and since identity doesn’t rest there I never find what I’m looking for?
Something has changed though. Last night I had a dream. The insecure dream. But my sister was the one telling me I was “fat. no good, untalented. I don’t understand how you can stand yourself”. My sister, my loving baby sister who I adore. She is often in the dreams, nearly always, because she must represent something very important to my existence. But something changed in this dream. Something that never before has happened – I turned over in bed (we were crashing in the bed we used to share as girls. Often I’m in bed with the other person in the dream-symbolic?? I always think being in bed means vulnerability) and said, quietly but with some resentment “I’m not any fatter then you are, I don’t know what you’re getting at”
1. my sister is the furthest thing from fat in real life, and in real life she’d never put me down in anyway nor would I her.
2. but in my dream this is the first time I fought back, even a little bit. I fought back. Something has changed….
Or perhaps I need to stop eating right before I go to sleep. Sigh. Probs not going to happen 🙂
What are your thoughts on dreams? Do you take them seriously or think they mean something? Or do you dream at all?