September 6, 2006

Dreams of No Dreams

My dreams stink. I pine for long nights of dark sleep and to wake with a fresh mind to start the day. Instead, I fall asleep and become any number of different personas who commit heinous acts all night and wake up in shock. I can't even call them nightmares because in my dreams I'm totally jazzed about ruining everything and everyone around me. I am often aware when dreaming that the situation doesn't represent reality and make a decision to go ahead and beat someone up or burn down a building because I know there are no repercussions. But in waking the full weight of my "actions" crushes me into tiny shards of guilt.

People say that in dreams you are unfettered. That the person in your dreams is still you, but without the social restrictions that govern us in waking. I really hope this isn't true. But in case it is, I thank my parents for giving me a sense of social responsibility and ethical roadmap otherwise I might have turned out like those things who run wild in my head at night. It's a disturbing thought.

I used to have real nightmares when I was a teenager. Terrifying dreams that I would wake from gasping. Later when I worked 8 hours a day in an office my dreams were boring but safe. I would dream that I was filing or answering phones all night than wake up and have to do it all again. It was annoying, but I would trade it any day for the stock of dreams I have now. Now I'm rarely Hollywood at night. I'm a maurading villain, soulless steward, sometimes even a really vicious animal but one thing holds true throughout each of these dreams - I'm despicable.

Luckily, no one really knows where dreams come from or what they mean. I'm scared to ever have a reliable method to interpret night visions lest I discover that I'm a terrible person at the core. My sister Annie was interested in the interpretation of dreams a few years ago and kept asking me to tell her my dreams so she could dissect them. I lied and told her that I couldn't remember my dreams because I didn't want her to worry about me.

Now that I've totally freaked everyone out, would someone please remind me that I'm not accountable for my dreams and that they don't mean anything because I can't get rid of the feeling that they do. It's no wonder I stay up all night watching VH1's Best Of rather than toddle off happily to bed. Should I circle my bed with garlic? Holy water? Thomas Kinkade snowglobes? Anything to stop these dreams!


compulsive writer said...

I guess you're probably not accountable for your dreams unless you practice something I do on occasion that I only just recently learned is an actual dream therapy technique:

If you semi wake up while still dreaming it is possible to go back to sleep and go back into your dream and manipulate the outcome.

I just do it for fun--but usually not too much fun. But I hear it can be quite healing if you're resolving issues.

my stove doesn't work . . . said...

Hmm, maybe you could think about something nice and pleasant before you go to sleep and try to dream about that. I often fall asleep thinking about afternoon naps in a hammock between palm trees on a Hawaiian beach. It's great!

Catherine said...

I try to conn my girls into going to bed with the myth of thinking about what they want to dream. Usually I tell them to close their eyes and imagine themselves butterflies or birds flying over a garden. The girls report that their dream prep never pays off.

For me, I can absolutely say, the tenor of your pre-sleep thoughts does clearly translate into dreamscapes. Happy, betrayed, worried, sexy, smart, funny, etc.

You must be really mean at the end of the day. Do you get grouchy when you're tired? I bet if you go to bed while you still like the world that you'll have happy dreams. Try it and see.

The Woman said...

Go with the garlic, darling. It works miracles on despicable types who are being punished in their dreams for not commenting regularly enough on their mothers' websites.

Suzie Petunia said...

I wish I had dreamless sleep, too. I remember my bad dreams every single night. I envy the people who say they never remember what they dream. So I beat them up and burn their homes down in my dreams... you know... just to get back.

Seriously though - I hope you find something that works.

Lindsay said...

Funny you should mention weird dreams...According to what I dreamt last night, it is the 1960s and we're all living in a dark, chaotic world of social unrest at the height of the civil rights movement, and suddenly I'm responsible for making sure that two little black girls and their white half sister aren't kidnapped while they sleep over at my house. Weird.

Sarah said...

Shameless promotion of your blog there, mom! But I left you a few juicy comments so relax!

Suzie, you are hilarious! I love that you get revenge on people in your sleep. That sounds totally healthy.

Lindsey, I'm probably the person in your dream coming to kidnap those poor little girls. Good luck defending yourself against me - I'm a beast.

Thanks everyone for the good tips - I'm going to try going to bed with happy thoughts of unicorns and butterflys. Of course, it may also be helpful to discover what my hidden issues are!