My dreams tend toward the vivid. For a brief while, I kept a journal, and reading them many years later summons surprisingly fleshed-out memories. A lot of them are forgettable and fluffy, but still… enough stick. Enough linger into the waking hours. My subconscious has the tenacity of a terrier.
Now, I’ve never been one for recurring dreams: the same set of images, the same story, cycling through your sleeping brain. Themes, however? Boy, howdy. In my teenage years, the ‘apprentice to Indiana Jones’ was evenly matched with ‘sword fight in a sand circle,’ despite the fact I had no idea how to properly wield a weapon, and was not remotely athletic. Winning a horse’s heart/love/friendship was prominent. Later on, saving an oppressed child was a motif (fairy tale elements in full force: heart kept in a wooden cask, traversing a dark wood, sacrifice of self for the child). A particularly wrenching few dreams took place in labor camps. There’s the notion of loved ones, family or pets, that transform into monsters I must slay. I’ve had actor’s nightmares in spades, particularly of the Renaissance Faire variety.

Hands down, it’s stress dreams that are my bane. Sometimes it’s cards on the table: abandonment, failure to be strong/clever/kind. All text, no sub. When my brain decides to add an extra layer, though, it almost always manifests in clutter. In real life, I’m a bit of a packrat. I keep things because I might need them. I like them. They remind me of times past, for good or ill. Still, every so often I do a sweep – I clear out old paperwork (recycle or shred), books (find new homes or donate), clothing (toss or give to Goodwill), and trinkets (repurpose best I can). There are always items that fit none of these categories, and these get hauled away by a junk crew or tossed into a roll-away.

Now that I’ve justified my material mess and how I deal with it, let’s get back to the clutter dreams. The scenarios are, thus far, endless. Here’s a sample:

~I find I’m trying to get ready for a move, and no matter how often I try to sort through things, I’ve got more to deal with than can possibly fit in the moving boxes. We’re clearly going nowhere.

~Things are dire. We need to make space for neighbors to move in so that we can hold out against Mean Villagers (there’s a thing with the moon, loss of electricity, zombie apocalypse*). I want to make space, to clear out the office, the attic, but it’s exhausting and fruitless. Endless boxes. I’m going to fail humanity.

~ Staying in a hotel where I have to pack up before we can check out. There’s so much more stuff in the bathroom than I remembered, and it all has to fit in the bags alongside every piece of costuming that my sweetie has brought with him.

~I’m in a wedding party, and between helping the bride and her attendants get ready, I also have to make myself look presentable, then clear all of the gear away before the ceremony can take place. This extends to the cocktail/appetizers hour, where I can’t grab so much as a bite or a sip. I can’t even find a garbage can to spit out my gum. The joy of the celebration, which I know I should be embracing, is lost on me as I try to get things in order.

Scrambling. Grasping. Choosing. Deciding. Failing. Panicking. There’s no end. There’s no resolution. The clock is always ticking. I’m always exhausted, stressed, frantic, fearful I’m not going to make it. In my waking hours, I tend to be a cheerful and positive person. I’m learning to let go of the crap I can’t control, and though that’s a work in progress I really am rather sunny. Maybe that’s why my brain seizes upon the few hours it’s all right to flail, to struggle, to founder.

I get it. It’s fine. But I really wouldn’t mind a night of picnics and ponies and sharing a train car with Richard Armitage. Here’s hoping.


*also A Thing. For someone who steadfastly avoids zombie books/movies/television, I have a heck of a lot of dreams about them.


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