One recent morning I awoke from a stranger letting me ugly cry into his shoulder.
I wouldn’t exactly call it a dream because, well, it was more of a nightmare. Fleeting, yet terribly haunting moments of a brown-eyed boy I used to call mine pranced in my thoughts. I lay in bed trying to piece it all together– a nightmare, yes, but what did it all mean?
Later that day I got to thinking, (so Carrie Bradshaw-esque, I know) what really is a dream? Figments of your imagination would be the easy way out of this question, perhaps. Or maybe it was just a way for life to say, “Ha! You thought you were in the clear, didn’t you?” But even so, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to it. If there was truth to it.
I think it’s safe to say there’s a little truth to anything we dream about. And there’s more truth within the realistic ones– the ones where your deepest hopes and fears are picked from your brain and sewn together in episodes while you sleep, a most vulnerable time. It all just sneaks up on you when you think about it.
I like to believe my dreams are presented by a tiny ‘Me’ who lives in my mind. You have one, too. She’s the part of you that knows what makes you tick. She’s the one that taps her BFF Subconscious on the shoulder and lets ’em know what exactly you’ll be thinking of that night, all without any of your consent. But she’s also the one with the meaning, the reasoning, the truth.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll search high and low for the Meaning of it all.
As if Meaning is the Post-It note you need to slap on to your dream and tuck away in the “Don’t Even Go There” section of your mind (since you’ll need that reminder). Because Meaning is the reason you say, for anything that happens your life, “Oh. Well, that’s why. It all makes sense now.”
I couldn’t make much sense of this nightmare because my search for its Meaning had been completely fogged. As if my little ‘Me’ was taunting me into going back on something easy, something I grew up wholeheartedly believing in because I wasn’t ready for the truth: the old myth that proposes whomever you meet in your dreams is wishing to see you, too.
While I know now that the myth holds potential to be (only somewhat) true, I realized a long time ago that it’s no use to hang on to pretty words that people preach just for the mere reason that they can. It was time to put away the version of me who grew up with dream books strewn across her floor with dog-eared pages. I found that even though it’s tough and I like to poke at things for the sake of knowing now, letting things be has allowed for more happiness in life.
So maybe that’s the trick to pave the path to clearer Meaning. Maybe I need to stop doing the work and let Meaning come to me. And when Meaning finally does decide to show up, I can thank it for giving me the piece of mind I thought I needed. And that will be that.
When you falsify meaning– because it’s the one you want, not the one you need to hear– things get messy, don’t they? Dream on, dreamer but do not dwell on finding the meaning of it all yourself.
“Why aren’t we afraid of dreams? They are literally creepy riddles we have to solve given to us by a chunk of magic meat in our head.” — Krista Doyle