Shame on the night/ for what I’ve done, and things I’ve seen/ for giving me the strangest dreams/ but you never ever tell me what they mean, and oh!/ shame on the night…
– Ronnie James Dio (from the song ‘Shame on the Night’)
Dreams define who we are…
But the irony is, we never ADMIT that they do! Most people hold the memory of their dreams close to the chest, sharing them with no one. We almost never talk about them or reveal their contents, not even to our closest friends.
But still they haunt us, plaguing not only our nights but our waking hours as well. Dreams bring our fears to life, and tap into our most cherished fantasies. They are a blessing, for they bring us relief from the curse that is Living…
And yet they’re also a curse unto themselves, in that they confront us with the very things from which we seek relief. Dreams are spawned by terrors of which we dare not even speak, lest through having been given utterance they be brought to unholy life.
I… hate dreams.
And I also LOVE them, because they’ve defined my world since before I was old enough to understand the difference between Reality and Fantasy.
Dreams differ from person to person. According to my sleep specialist (poor, overworked bastard) your average person is a ‘passive dreamer’. In other words, to most people a dream is like a movie. You are a spectator watching a play, and nothing more.
But some people – not very many – are ‘cognitive dreamers’. Cognitive dreamers can make decisions, speak, and act during a dream, oftentimes even altering their outcomes.
That’s me. Always has been.
The problem with being a ‘cognitive dreamer’ is this: It’s a psychological problem. ‘Cognitive dreaming’ means that one’s brain is still mostly awake it’s SUPPOSED to be resting!
This… is bad. Very, VERY bad!
It’s especially troubling to me, because oftentimes my humdrum day segue-ways directly into a dream. So my mind actually creates memories of interactions with friends, co-workers, and family members that aren’t real. That’s embarrassing. Sometimes I’ll try to continue a conversation with someone, only to have them look at me in confusion… because that conversation never actually happened.
What REALLY disturbs me are my recurring nightmares. When I was a little, maybe four or five, I lived in an apartment building that was barely a hundred yards from the Atlantic Ocean. I fell asleep to the sound of the breakers crashing onto the sandy shore, night after night…
Picturesque, huh? One would like to think so, anyway.
To this day (and I’m in my forties) I suffer from the same nightmare that I did back then: The ocean rising above its borders, and flooding my home. And with the flooding comes the SHARKS, who chase me from room to room eagerly seeking my bloody demise.
Another recurring nightmare that plagues me is this one: I’m looking in a mirror, and I see something in the mirror that I KNOW isn’t real. Am I going crazy, I wonder? Or is the mirror actually an occultic doorway into worlds that I don’t understand, and probably don’t WANT to?!
Trust me, those two nightmares are only the tip of the iceberg…
At the end of the day, I have to believe that God wired my brain the way He did for a reason. I resent the perpetual insomnia, for sure, and the crazy dreams. But what if my brain was ‘normal’…? Would I still be a writer? An artist? Or would I just be another drone, dutifully contributing to society but having nothing UNIQUE to offer it?
I’ll never know the answer to that question, at least in this life, because I’m ME and not someone else… so my maudlin night terrors will continue to define my reality, as they always have. I’ll never get a glimpse of the ‘other side’, because I was never hard-wired to SEE the other side.
Maybe that’s okay… or maybe it ain’t. Either way, I have no frame of reference.
But I DO trust that God knows what He’s doing. If my head’s a jumbled mess (and it is), then it’s that way for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is…
And you know what?
I don’t HAVE to! ‘Nuff said…