Yes, today I want to talk about dreams. Not the kind of dreams we have for our future, where we want to go, what we want to accomplish, etc. But the kind of dreams we have in our sleep.
I'm fascinated by dreams. I remember as a teenager, standing in the Borders book store and reading a dream dictionary, looking up various dreams I was having and trying to make sense of them. Even today, when I have a very peculiar dream, I often think about it for days or even weeks. Some dreams have inspired short stories I've written, and recently I have had recurring dreams about living in a flooded post-apocalyptic world. I don't know where that one came from but I immediately wrote it in my Evernote notebook for novel ideas. ;)
In my teens, before I learned how to drive a car, my stress dreams were always the same. I was being chased by some killer, and I would jump in the car and not know how to drive. Once I learned how to drive, this scenario was replaced with getting in the car and finding out it had a manual transmission (a stick-shift as many of us call it in the States). I learned how to drive a manual, and owned two separate manual transmission cars before I moved to NYC, and that dream went away.
A few days ago, I had one of several recurring dreams I associate with stress as an adult. This one always has the basic formula: I need to do something very important, either someone is hurt or I'm late or whatever (sometimes I have no idea WHY I am freaking out in my dream), and I need to pick up the phone and call someone else to fix this problem. But the phone doesn't work, or the numbers change place on the buttons, or I keep messing up the number, or I forget the number… Any one of these things. And it's so frustrating in my dream that I just want to cry and give up. I've had an iPhone since 2008, seven whole years, and only recently my brain switched over to using an iPhone in these particular dreams. Why brain? WHY?
My other stress dream is the reason why I gave up chewing gum, and yet I still have this one all the time. In my dream, I have gum stuck in my teeth and I can't get it out. The more I pull the gum out, the more it multiplies and adheres itself to my back teeth. I scrape and scrape and it just won't come out. I feel like I'm choking and the stress compounds. Ugh. Just typing about it here is giving me the willies.
I think the gum dream is my version of the “hair falling out” dream that lots of people have. I find that truly strange. First, why do so many people have the same stress dream? And the second, why is mine so different? Don't know. Brains are mysterious.
And the final dream I want to talk about is the only one I can interact with. Lots of people tell me that they can interact with their own dreams. They can move things around or speak to people or even fly. The flying dreams are the one dream most people find the most fun or creepy. The only dream I can identify or interact with is “the toilet-seeking dream,” as I call it. I'm somewhere, in a store, my old high school, college, wherever, and I need to find a bathroom. I have to pee so badly! But all the bathrooms are occupied or out of order or just strange in some way. This is usually when my brain says, “Hey, Stephanie. You have to pee. Wake up.” And I wake up and use the bathroom. Lol. I can identify the need in my dream, wake, and act on it. I probably have this dream at least once per night and don't always remember it.
These are my most popular dreams, not including the “I never graduated college dream because I failed that one class I never went to and completely forgot about” (I graduated just fine) and the “I was actually married once before being married now” (Nope… only married the once) and the “I'm being sent back to Michigan to live out my life, and OH GOD PLEASE DON'T SEND ME BACK THERE I LOVE NEW JERSEY!” (That one makes me hyperventilate).
When I write my novels, I like to include a few dreams as well. Sanaa, in the Nogiku Series, has several dreams, most of them stress-related and a few are prophetic as well. I like the idea we see things in everyday life and our brains don't know how to interpret them and so they weave them into our dreams at night. I'm including a few dreams in my upcoming contemporary romance too and they say a lot about what the main character, Isa, is thinking or stressing about.