First off, I managed to get roughly 14 hours of sleep last night. How that’s possible in the life of a PhD student, I have no idea, but I did it. And after waking up with the sun, a good workout, and actually accomplishing tasks before 10 AM, I’m starting to feel like more than just a shadow of my old self again.
Okay, enough self-congratulating.
The interesting stuff happened while I was asleep last night. And no, I don’t just mean the entertaining SnapChats and texts that I had waiting for me this morning (thought trust me, those are always fun). What I mean is that I had some crazy dreams last night.
Do you ever have a recurring dream? One that always shakes you and you can’t seem to figure out exactly why? I have a couple recurring dreams that like to surface occasionally, usually linked to a particular family member. My sister and I have discussed this before, and she experiences the same thing from time to time.
The recurring dream I had last night involved me packing up and running away with two friends (the number and identity of those friends always seems to change).We were being pursued, and there were some moments of pure terror. We traveled from place to place, even scaling the outside of a hotel at one point (forget the fact that I could never attempt this Spiderman feat in real life). I still can’t remember who or what we were running from. Strangely, it always involves hiding out with the same family (a mother who is a nurse and two daughters) who purchase us a coffee pot late at night (because obviously I need coffee in the morning before we continue our epic journey). We stay the night at their house. I do not recognize this family.
Somehow, this recurring dream melded into a new, slightly more understandable one. You could call this one a nightmare (a la the Jezebel article about dream studies in men and women this week - although, I do not feel “incepted by the patriarchy”…). I won’t describe this one in detail because most of the characters are very much NOT anonymous. The general theme though was one of me operating in a situation full of fear, and ultimately chasing after somebody while still in the grips of that fear. I woke up with my heart pounding.
Normally, I push bad dreams away upon waking, and luckily the threads of the storyline seem to slip away quickly. I’ve had a couple of friends, though, that like to thoroughly recount their dreams upon waking up, and sometimes my curiosity gets the better of me. I hopped online this morning and researched dream dictionaries, reading about various themes that seemed central to my nightmares last night. The results were certainly interesting.
Our subconscious is a funny thing. I wonder what about our brain chemistry ingrains emotions from our waking life so deeply that our sleeping brains feel the need to play them out in dreams? And the creativity . . . If I could figure out how to funnel that into my writing, I’d have already published ten books.
I’m not going to sit here and psychoanalyze myself for you all on a Saturday morning. I’m trying to focus more on the 14 hours of sleep I got last night and the beautiful day ahead of me. I will just leave you with the following moment in which Dumbledore discovers Harry returning night after night to look into the Mirror of Erised:
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
That sounds a whole lot more profound than I meant it to, but it’s nice to think that the experience of gazing within ourselves at our dreams is a universal one, even if we don’t talk to each other about it very often.
Have a beautiful Saturday!