The English language is a funny thing. There are so many words in our language with dual meaning. My last post was titled “Dreams.” I spoke of “dreams” in terms of long-term, tangible goals. Today, I want to write about actual dreams — as in those bizarre events that happen when you’re asleep.
Or is that just me?
I need to give some background on this post and why it matters to me to write about this subject. I have always had an active imagination. As a child, I was day-dreamy. Blissfully unaware of the world and much of what was happening around me, I constructed a world all my own, and I resided in that world. It’s probably just another sign of my poor coping skills, but until I still exist in a world that is half-in, half-out.
Part of the reason for my ongoing delusion that everything is not what it seems, is because of my very vivid, very lucid dreams. My dreams are generally pleasant; though often filled with unknown places and unknown people. However, I am usually quite content, even happy. There are many dreams I awake from that I wish I could return to. Sometimes my brain is generous and allows me to revisit places I’ve been before. Mostly, it insists I see new places and encounter new people. I suppose it’s not a bad thing — I crave the sensation of new experiences. I love the challenge of something unknown. I guess my dream brain knows me better than my waking brain. Or at the very least — my dream brain understands what my waking brain doesn’t.
I, rarely, have what are classified as “nightmares,” but when I do, they are terrifying. I think this is because very little scares me (Really. Even with all my anxiety and weirdness I’m rarely fearful). Many things in my dreams awaken my senses. Many things put me on high alert. Very little truly frightens me. When they happen, my nightmares and intense and overwhelming. I wake in a panic and it takes me hours to calm down enough to go back to sleep. My brain is a strange place. While I’m not afraid of much, it knows just what buttons to push to get a reaction. Many of my nightmares involved being trapped in some way — a deep part of me is ferociously independent, and my soul is free. I hate feeling caged. I hate feeling bound. I long for space to stretch my body and my mind.
Lately, though, my strange little brain has upped the ante. After almost 30 years of life as it is in our world, I have accepted that many things about me are peculiar. I have accepted that I am not like and do not think like most people. I still live in pseudo-delusional state between this world and the world of my dreams; which is truly a culmination of many things. Real experiences, books I’ve read, characters I’ve grown to love, movies I’ve seen, friends and faces from many years past. It’s strange what my dreams generate — and often hard to walk away from.
What sparked me to write about this topic is the curious sensation I’ve been experiencing as of late; my dreams now connect with one another. It’s like living an alternative life while I’m asleep. I’m still me — I still look like me, sound like me, am odd like me — yet I exist in a place that seems familiar, yet unknown. While I almost always lucid dream (and no, I don’t try. It just happens — another sign of my peculiarity, I suppose), I can’t say I’ve ever had a conscious experience when I realized my dreams were connected.
That changed last week. I had a nightmare — a creepy one, too, I was on a field trip with my class (I dream of my students often) when a student of mine stumbled on a strange old book. Being the child he is, he opened it. Inside were photographs that I can only describe as — unexplainable. Think of every weird photo you’ve ever seen, related to paranormal activity or otherwise. Perhaps a trick of the light; perhaps a glitch in the camera; perhaps something beyond our realm of existence. Then, the book started to speak. Not English. Not any language I recognize. It was like when you play a record backward. It sounded demonic. It sounded macabre. It filled my whole head with a deep, deafening roar. I slammed the book shut. I pulled the child away. He said to me, “The book — it said to keep flipping. It told me to keep turning.”
I woke up. I didn’t go back to sleep that night. The next night, I had another dream. Not a nightmare this time. It was pleasant. I was with my husband and some old friends. We were purusing what I can only describe as thrift store. Full of old abandoned odds and ends, I wasn’t sure what we were looking for, so I just took in my surroundings. My husband had something in his hand, and he approached the counter. I walked up behind him. The clerk said to me: “I have a book on hold for you.” I accepted that this was probably the case (even though dream me couldn’t remember putting a book on hold) but I agreed, and out of the case the clerk pulls the same book from my nightmare the night before.
I woke up, and it clicked. The book had been lingering in my dreams for weeks. I hadn’t gotten a good look at it before the nightmare. I remember my dreams and I remember them well. They are hard to forget. Suddenly memories of other dreams flooded my thoughts — I had seen it on a table in a previous adventure, in the backpack of a traveler when I dreamed I was hiking, on a shelf in the library of an old house I once visited. I couldn’t shake it. I still can’t shake it.
As strange a place as my mind can be, I am currently perplexed by this book. My dreams have never tangibly connected in such a manner before. It gives me the strange sensation that I’m living two lives — one here, in the real world — and one there, in my dream world. It’s haunting. Maddening, even. How do I defeat an enemy that isn’t real? How can I begin to decipher what this damn book means? Why does it keep showing up? What does dream me know that waking me needs to see?
I chose to write a post on this topic because in many ways, it helps me process what I’ve seen — asleep or otherwise. But mostly — I wonder if anyone else can relate. Are there others that have interconnected dreams? Others who are at war with themselves?
Once again — I’m left wondering.