I keep having dreams in which somebody dies. A different person every time, sometimes strangers, sometimes friends or family members, but always seemingly permanent and real. Dreams are so interesting in that way. Most people think of nighttime dreaming a space and time for the subconscious to speak to us, but am i the only one that has strictly negative conversations?
My subconscious only ever works off my fears, bringing to life the thoughts i tucked away during the day, and who tucks away good thoughts? One time, in high school i dreamt my graduating class was eaten by a monster. A terrible squid like creature that we were predetermined to already be sacrificed to. So everyone said good byes to family at prefab docks and drifted towards the creature, accepting their fate. This already sounds like stereotypical anxiety about teenage to adult transitioning, yet the whole dream i spent more time worrying about my twin brother, Micah. Where was he? Why can’t we share a boat? Am i not meant to leave the world as I entered it, with Micah by my side?
So was the dream about the transition or about my relationship with my brother? Of course it could be many things, and conversations with the subconscious can be just as multilayered as our awake conversations.
I wonder when the world decided that aspirations and dreams were the same. Aspirations, the goals we make while awake, are our conscious conversations with ourselves that we sometimes chalk up to implausible. In my life those are the positive dreams. These thoughts live in my optimism and are intentionally placed there by me. How can both be called dreams?
And then you have to consider ‘Day Dreaming.’ This, i believe to be the time when you have the most successful conversations with the subconscious. When you stare at the chalk board and your eyes glaze over and you’re transported to a place both by your choosing and of that of your underlying mind, what is actual awake dreaming. I use to day dream in middle school about having a boyfriend and it just being ok, that everyone looked at me like a normal individual with normal inclinations and everything was fine. I believe this stems from both me in my conscious optimism and the fear that laces my nightmares. One day i would make those aspirations reality, overcoming my own self-made anxieties.
One time, i believe my subconscious woke me. I can actually recall several times dreams made me sit straight up in bed or open my eyes in shock. This time, however, i felt that my nightmare was real.
I had gone running that afternoon in the hot Mississippi summer, on the empty country roads my parents lived on. I took our dog, Ringo, on my run because he usually followed me anyways. The heat became so unbearable, at some point we both stopped without communication, and sat on a higher portion of the road over looking a corn field. I remember thinking how lucky i was to be there, the sky was blue and gorgeously reflected in Ringo’s dark loving eyes. Perfect, even in the heat of the Sun.
That night i slept in my parents bed, they were gone somewhere for the evening. I dreamt all night that i could not find Ringo. I searched for him in my minds longest, darkest passageways, always stopping short of finding him. That is until i sat straight up in bed, seemingly with the full knowledge of where he was. I walked straight from their bed, out the front door, straight to the small road in front of the house. There was Ringo, lying stiff in the grass.
Many religions will tell you that God speaks through our dreams. While there undoubtedly may be encouragement there, i believe our dreams are our therapy to ourselves, to listen to what our minds have figured out in the background and lay it out on the table in front.
I knew Ringo struggled through our run. It was so hot, heat stroke for animals his size would not be unheard of. My fears about him, i carried with me to bed, and when i woke those fears were confirmed.
Embrace your conversations with yourself, day or night, you may have something to say.