These Dreams, They Haunt Me

My dreams startle me awake almost nightly. Not since the Discovery Channel sharks swam around my seven year-old mind has my subconscious haunted me in such vivid and inexplicable ways. The dreams, they come filled with death, with fear, with anger. I’m never the aggressor, not even always the victim, sometimes a passerby of crime, sometimes an investigator, sometimes the falsely accused. They wake me and I lie there, I toss there. My heightened sense of devastation pours out of my subconscious, filling my body and the room, keeping me suspended in disturbed wonderment.

I dream that my eyebrows have become rivals to the Sherwood Forest and I panic. I cannot have Robin Hood’s stomping grounds stamped on my face. I wake up and paw my face in the dark. The forest has disappeared but the memory of irrational fear remains.

I dream that my brother has gone missing, disappeared on a family seaside vacation, not dead for fourteen years. I dream that my family spends years, decades scouring the planet, searching for him, for what happened to him, for relief from the pain. I dream that my dad sits at the kitchen table in the house where I grew up, sobbing. I know it is a dream even as it passes, but when I wake up I wonder which parts are true.

I dream things that I swear I will remember, things that bring me to running sweats and tossing through the night, afraid of my own inner eyelids. Yet when the day finally comes, the only thing that remains is the fear of myself.

In an interview in the August 2011 issue of The Sun Magazine, Marc Ian Barasch says that healing dreams are those with heightened sensory details—jewel tones, vast spaces, complex plots, proverbial voices. He says,
“A healing dream often requires some kind of action[…] We don’t want to sequester these dreams in an ivory tower and look at them as objects of interest. We need to reenact them somehow: draw them, dance them, tell them. When we do this, we make our outer lives more consonant with the inner life of the soul. If you believe that dreams are in service to growth, then you will want to do something—even something small—in response.”
I can’t help but think there is something dying in me. Something in need of cutting off, investigating and excising, plucking out, killing off. I have a shortlist of what these things might be, things that reach deep into my identity. Things whose potential end challenges my self-definition more than I’ve ever been willing to deliberate. 

What will I become if I listen to these dreams?
Who will live in my body and tell my story?
What dreams will wake me if I listen?


This post is part of The Creative Collective, a blogging project with writers and artists of many sorts. Today's theme is "What we might become if..." To read their work, go here. If you are interested in joining The Creative Collective, let me know.


Kate said...

You were right. I'm scared.

megan e b jones said...

Coming from someone who only remembers a totally of maybe 3-5 dreams in the history of her sleeping life... I wonder if that guy is right --about the growth part. What questions are helpful to ask about dreams? (This is blowing my mind, fyi.)

For your sake, I hope this all sparks some wild introspection (which we all need, dream-life aside).

Also, speaking of, I love when things (life things/living things/etc.) are wild probably more than most people... but how freaky is too freaky?

Rebecca Guevara said...

I've had dreams something like that, too. I know why I do, and I know they will never go away entirely, but they are now fewer.