Internal Interpretations

The other day I was clicking through some daily prompts on The Daily Post and I came across this one. It piqued my interest, so I thought I’d take part.


Do you remember a recent dream you had? Or an older one that stayed vivid in your mind? Today, you’re your own Freud: Tell us the dream, then interpret it for us! Feel free to be as serious or humorous as you see fit, or to invent a dream if you can’t remember a real one.

This prompt caught my eye because I dream a lot. I don’t know if it’s because of a sleep disorder, or if I just have a super-overactive mind, or what the reason could be, but I seem to spend an inordinate amount of the nighttime hours in REM sleep, just dreaming away. If I’m woken up in a shocking way – such as an annoying, blaring alarm clock – I tend to forget those dreams pretty much immediately, but if given the chance to wake up naturally I’ve found that I can remember so much detail that it makes me wonder if I got any deep sleep at all. I’ve grabbed notebooks and scribbled down my dreams only to find my hand starts to cramp up before I can finish.

And most of those dreams, while extremely detailed and vivid, are so odd and random that I couldn’t even begin to interpret them. For example, there’s this one recurring dream that I had multiple times throughout my last two college years. In it my husband (who was, of course, my boyfriend at the time) and I are moving through this huge building. Each floor of the building was something completely different; one floor was an enormous mall, another floor was a sprawling park. And there were no stairs; in order to move between floors we had to find a ladder or something else to climb in order to reach a trap door in the ceiling. We would steadily move upward, until eventually we would come to this one floor that was like an entire town – houses, trees, roads, the whole works – and in this town a war was going on. Everyone my age that I had ever known – schoolmates, college friends, etc – were there, but no kids and no older folks, and everyone had huge, sci-fi-style guns. My ex-boyfriend was always the one to meet us at the trap door and shove guns into our hands, begging us to help out. Everyone would be camped out behind bushes, cars, houses, and everyone would be shooting off into the distance but I could never see what it was they were all fighting. The remainder of the dream would be hubby and I trying to make our way through all the gunfire, trying to stay alive while searching through the next trap door. I had that dream more than a dozen times, and each time it was super-vivid – like, I could remember the clothes people were wearing, and which stores we ran past on the mall level – but I couldn’t even begin to tell you what it was all about. I mean, you tell me: what the hell could any of that mean?

But I have had dreams that I could pretty much interpret instantaneously. For instance, there’s another recurring dream that I’ve had for years. It’s not always exactly the same, but it’s always very, very similar, and it crops up in my mind every so often. Without going into huge amounds of detail, the dream always begins in an important place from my childhood, like my parents’ or grandparents’ houses. It’ll be early in the morning and I’ll be trying to get ready to go to school. I won’t be a kid or anything in this dream – I’ll be my fully grown adult self – but I’ll be getting ready for school none-the-less. And it will be an utter disaster. It will seem like everything in the world is trying to keep me from getting to school. Every piece of clothing I own will be dirty, the car will break down, one of my family members will show up and start demanding something of me; just in general I’ll be a nervous wreck just trying to get out of the damn house. Then, eventually, I’ll make it to school, but the school will be this enormous, winding labyrinth of hallways and staircases and I’ll have no idea where my classes are. Around this point my best friend usually shows up, talking like everything is super normal, and I’ll start following her, hoping that she’ll lead me to wherever the hell I’m supposed to go. We’ll push through hoards of teenagers on their way to class, and somehow I’ll finally wind up in a math class. But that’s not where my torture ends. Sitting in that class, I’ll suddenly realize that, somehow I’ve managed to go almost the entire school year without sitting through a single class or doing any homework. Without knowing how I even managed to pull that off, I’ll just intuitively know that I’m pretty much completely screwed and have, like, a week to teach myself the entire course in time for the final exam.

Can you interpret that one? I think it’s pretty easy myself: it’s all about stress. In the dream I’m feeling battered, lost, confused. I can’t figure out what I’m doing or where I’m going, and everything in the world seems set out to stop me. And then, just when I think I’ve finally reached my objective, I realize that I’ve completely dropped the ball and put myself into a super bad situation. The fact that the dream involves places from my childhood, school, and my best friend, is probably my brain longing for simpler times amidst all the chaos that I can’t seem to escape. My theory is furthered by the fact that I always seem to have this dream when I’m having a rough time in real life; I’ve had a really awful day at work, I’ve gotten into a huge fight with someone, the little missy had whiny, sooky day that made me want to pull my hair out…you get the idea. It makes sense, right? What better way for a person to deal with stress than to be forced to deal with even more of it in their dreams? 😛

What do you think? Am I probably right, or do you have another interpretation? What kinds of dreams do you usually have? Can you usually tell what they mean or are they totally off the wall? Please share!

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