Dreams are a rather funny and curious thing. Some people believe they have meaning, while others think they show us our life’s path, and others believe them to be just a byproduct of the processing information (who hasn’t had one of those strange moments of clarity, where you snap back to consciousness at 4:30 in the morning because you had an idea and had to write it down? Perhaps on a blog you have spent a considerable amount of time neglecting).
But for every good dream, there is the equally sinister dark one. Bad dreams, nightmares, night terrors. Whatever you call them, we all have them at some point in our lives. And for the most part they are universal (at least in terms of general themes.) And most people go through stages of nightmare.
When they are a child, there are monsters under the bed and in the closet. And in the child’s mind, this is absolute, despite being reassured by those they trust.
As that child becomes a little older, these nightmares shift from the fear of the dark and the monsters that reside within to feelings dealing with loneliness, and more specifically never being able to find “the one” (a silly thought in retrospect).
Later on, these dreams tend to shift loosing the person(s) you care more about in life. Or losing the things that make you “well-off (a car, job, or home for instance.)
During all this time, there is also the dreams that focus on the death of the dreamer. And, we’ve all heard the saying “if you die in you sleep, you die in real life,” a saying I can safely say is bullshit, and if not, well then I must be a zombie. So I have that, I guess.
But what happens to a person when they do not “leave” stages of nightmares and just gain a variety of ones.
I am one who has suffered from bad dreams most of my life. Many people have told me stories of me crying out in my sleep, clenching my teeth so tightly I cannot open my mouth the next day, violently thrashing about, as well as many other things. Hell, ErinLovesTheWeb has woken me from more bad dreams than I can count.
So, let’s start with that first “stage” of nightmare.
As a child I was terrified of the dark. In fact, I was so afraid, that nightly I would “booby-trap” my bedroom (with toys, jump ropes, chairs, whatever I could get my oversized baby hands on) at night, and it would remain so until the morning when I decided it was safe. This booby-trapping had went on for years and my parent’s “supported” it. But, I had good reason to be terrified, there were monsters, I could even prove it. I had a fucking “My Buddy” doll, and if you don’t see the problem there, then your childhood was bullshit.
Later on, instead of “growing out of these dreams,” I also had began having nightmares about being alone, and never finding “that one person who truly gets me…” Or someshit. I don’t really know, but I do know if I could I would go back in time and punch myself in the face for being an asshole.
Then, I started having dreams about losing those I care about. Some affected me greatly and others not as badly. I am a little sad to say that some of the dreams that didn’t affect me had a bigger impact than the ones that did (if that makes any sense to you, you may want to seek help, considering I wrote the fucking statement and it barely makes sense to me…).
Well, you see where this fucking story is going, so I’m going to fast-forward a little bit.
Blame it on being a coward, blame it on an over-active imagination, blame it on hot Cheetos before bed, I don’t care. But to this day, I still have horrendous nightmares… That I frequently cause myself.
I will often lay in bed ready for bed but not quite able to fall asleep yet. And my mind will start making a story (interestingly, I also do this while driving). Creating this fascinating pseudo-movie, where I am the main character and I know the script, yet I don’t know what is going to happen next. The twisted mind of the director determines the sequence of the shots to be done. And soon enough, the shadows on the walls will morph into the devilish teeth or the jagged claws of demons from the darker corners of hell.
And then the spiraling begins. Mind you at this point, I am still awake. But then the shadows become tangible beings. Monsters emerging from me depths of my mind. And suddenly I am gripped with paralysis, unable to remove myself from the environment. And then the drifting to sleep will begin. And at this point in life, the dreams rarely stay focused on the monsters living in my head, and will instead drift to more the “lifelike” scenarios of losing the people I care about.
And at some point, I inevitably wake up sweating and shaking, unable to fall back asleep for several hours.
This entire sequence is part of the reason I have so much trouble sleeping at someone else’s house. There are too many things I don’t know, and incidentally more places for those monsters to hide, waiting in silence for me to sleep.
Anyway, this brings me to a telling of my latest nightmare. I will try to explain as much as I can remember. But, we all know that sometimes dreams make no fucking sense at all, so keep that in mind, as some of the details are bound to be “blurry” at best.
I had just laid down, I was listening to some light music (I have no idea of the artist, not that it fucking matters), and I started developing this string of thoughts regarding a universal phenomenon of how children (some of whom are never exposed to them) almost universally have a fear of monsters. Oh, who am I kidding, I was actually thinking about the fact that I didn’t feel well resisting the urge to throw up my dinner, which would cause my insides to turn into a gelatinous mass that squirming out my mouth, landing in the toilet, taking shape and then strangling me (maybe, I do need some help…).
Somehow, this string of thoughts turned into moving shadows on the walls that slowly gained shape into more “real” beings, and I began to drift.
The first shadow I saw, took shape and started reaching out from the wall. I watched as the being’s arm got closer and closer, until I could feel the hell-beast’s claws sink into my leg. And then another shadow started forming. Soon enough, the two beasts were snarling and fighting over which got to devour this “piece of tasty, tasty fruit on a far away island.” Just as soon as the fight began really heating it, the window exploded inward as a third demon came flying in and ripped the first two into pieces.
Reality and the dream world then combined in an explosive collision caused by ErinLovesTheWeb bursting through the door to save me like some sort of demon-slaying, dragon-riding, curiosity-driven knight (she was coming in to ask a question). I watched in mild horror as the remaining shadow demon dissolved at the risk or being seen and the window “melted” back into place.
She gets the answer she is looking for, and closing the door behind her, leaves me in total darkness. However, this time I fall directly into the dream, my body having none of that shit where I cannot sleep and my brain won’t shut the fuck up, and I create my own nightmares.
Instead I fall pleasantly back into the dream world and this time, my dreams focus on my life exactly as it right now.
As a side note, we all know these types of dreams, they either end fantastically showing a possible glimpse of the future where everything works out perfectly, or end horribly showing how frail and fragile our lives are making us question our own mortality.
I doubt I need to explain which this is.
As I mentioned, the dream started out by focusing on my life as it is at this exact moment. We both have stable well-paying jobs with a steady income, we can cover out bills without worry, a reliable automobile, and a place of our own. All-in-all fairly well, considering where we were a year ago.
But then, something happened, on my way to work. The car died, and there was no getting it fixed. It broke, and then it was just gone, removed from existence, taking with it everything that was inside. This was the beginning the snowball…
That ball slowly shifted and began rolling away from me. Soon, because I was late for work, and then couldn’t arrive from several days (despite being able to easily ride a bus to work), I lost my job. This somehow meant ErinLovesTheWeb and myself could no longer afford bills (despite the fact she was able to cover all our bills before I got work), and we lost the apartment where we live.
For some reason, I were unable to move in with any of our friends or family, and became truly homeless. This caused strife in the relationship and we separated (dream logic demanded that this was the best solution to everything and was indeed permanent).
So, now I am homeless, without transportation, job, or food. But I somehow still have a phone and headset (so, I have that going for me I guess).
And then, I am going through self therapy, listening to music. And I come to an epiphany, ErinLovesTheWeb can no longer interrupt music or NetFlix (I totally still had that, I don’t even know how that works).
And life is starting to turn around, I can buy a candy bar and I do. I bite into a delicious Snickers bar and all my teeth immediately break and my mouth is pouring blood. And my phone dies.
And I realize I can hear nothing anymore. I have gone deaf, with the exception of an annoying humming noise. Despite everything, I cannot figure out what it is, but I do know it holds all the secrets to my life and if I can track it down, everything will be okay.
And I do a 180 and slam my face into my bedside table.
I am ripped from a dream via trying to become fucking Odin. It was then I learned the annoying humming sound. My fucking mom… Calling me at 330 in the morning… Because she fell asleep on the couch while on the phone…
Dreams are fucking stupid.
And I guess the moral of the story is: waking up this early is kind of awesome. I was able to write this piece of shit and prepare myself for the day.
I leave you now with one more song.
Deal with it.