Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dream On

"Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious." -Sigmund Freud

I dream a lot.  People constantly tell me I have weird dreams, but I am convinced that their dreams are likely just as weird and they just don't remember them.  My dreams range from lucid and plausible to completely bizarre, as I'm sure yours do.  But no matter what's going on in my subconscious or yours, we are usually lost in the moment.

I've heard about a way to find out if you're dreaming, to harness your subconscious and control it throughout the rest of your dream.  You must find (or manifest, I suppose) a light switch and flip it.  If the light doesn't go on, you're dreaming.  (Or you need to change the light bulb.  Come to think of it, this advice could really send someone into an Inception-type dilemma if his light bulb is actually burnt out in waking life...)

Recurring dreams or nightmares are pretty common, I think.  Personally, I have three dream themes that plague me quite frequently.  First of all, there are the alligator dreams.  Ever since my grandparents lived on an alligator-infested lagoon in Hilton Head, these vicious swamp-dwellers have been my biggest fear.  And going to a lake-side school in Florida didn't help my paranoia.  Alligators turn my dreams into nightmares at least once a month, give or take.  Scary stuff.  Then we have the nightmare that I forget all my lines in "Kiss Me, Kate," the musical in which I had a leading role senior year of high school.  It's always the same thing: I'm waiting in the wings to go on stage and my mind goes completely blank.  I can't remember one single line!  I look around frantically for a script, but not one appears, so I'm forced to walk on stage and completely humiliate myself and ruin the show.  According to my mom, these dreams never go away.  She still has dreams about forgetting her lines in high school shows.  That gives me a lot to look forward to.  Finally, I have dreams that something goes horribly wrong while I'm babysitting.  Most recently, 6 year old Ellie was driving her two sisters and myself around in her mother's Suburban while the baby I forgot to bring along was at home in who knows what kind of peril.  A few nights later she was smoking a cigarette.  Having responsibility for four children on a regular basis seems to have taken a toll on me.  I can only imagine how my nights will go when I have my own kids.  Oh wait, I won't have time to dream.  I'll be up all night.

To my mom, every single dream is "the dream of unpreparedness."  I can understand how the forgetting-my-lines thing means I might be unprepared, but she seriously says it about every dream.  So I go elsewhere for my dream interpretation.  Dream Moods is a website where one can search or look through a list of terms to find out what his or her dream means.  I commonly look up last night's dreams, and let me tell you, you'd be surprised how often they make perfect sense.  I once dealt with having the same nightmare every night for a couple weeks.  As soon as I looked it up and found out what it meant, I stopped having it.

I really do agree with Freud, I think dreams most certainly mean something.  But, as he said, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

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