Yes, I get it, Emily Bronte. Sleep should bring respite, offer the chance to recharge. It’s haven. It’s a refuge.
Unless you’re me.
In what might come as a surprise to absolutely no one, I’m not the most confident and self assured person. I carry considerable worry, concern, and fear that at any given moment I’m letting a whole lot of people down. Fortunately, my sub-conscious is there for me. It rakes in all of the angst and self-doubt and packages it neatly into gut-wrenching, exhausting Stress Dreams. So far, these dreams have slotted themselves into three very tidy categories.
1. Packing/clutter. These dreams involve packing up and moving from a hotel room, a dorm room, an apartment, a house. Whatever I manage to pack is continually dwarfed by what still remains to be sorted. This dream is defined by frustration and a whole lot of tears.
2. Unattainable destination. These dreams find me on a journey that will never be finished. There may be epic derailment (“so sorry, have to go fight a manticore”) or something more mundane (“This ticket is only good for a Sunday that lands on an even number. You’re going to have to wait.”). I may be sent on a path that finds the stones eroding beneath my feet, where I fall into fathomless waters to literally find myself out of my depth*. This dream is defined by deeming myself to be less important than everyone else, and to the destruction of foundations.
3. Claustrophobic entryways. These dreams deny me entry into places of security/creativity/comfort due to tiny portals, points of entry though which I would have to squeeze and squirm and hold my breath. Just typing this sentence made me uneasy. This dream is generally defined by inability to move, make a decision, or breathe without hyperventilating.
There are variations on a theme. Sometimes the unattainable destination involves getting to a rehearsal or performance on time/with matching boots. Claustrophobic scenarios might place pets in peril**. Clutter might find my dearest love disgusted with my inability to Get Things Done, and deciding to leave me***. Haven’t even touched on the zombie invasion theme. I’m down with the idea that dreams are a way to sift through the crap your mind accumulates on any given day. I own that I’m sensitive, that I shoulder more worry than I ought.
But then again, every so often, there’s a night where I make lifelong friends with a unicorn. Where I hang out and watch Downton Abbey with my mom, holding my breath because I don’t dare to mention that she can’t be here, but so grateful that she is. Where Ewan McGregor asks me out, but even in Dreamland I can’t accept because my real life sweetie is just that great. A night where I’ve kicked off the blankets and am cold and hovering on the edge of wakefulness. And then, my brain gives me Poe Dameron (real life: pulling up the sheet over my shoulders) curled up around me and BB-8 (real life: my one-eyed kitty Esme) snuggled up in the crook of my knees
Sleep may bring you respite or joy,challenge or gift. Make of it what you will.
*honestly, brain. you could try a bit harder.
**this went horrifically dark
***took me days (in the waking world) to realize we were good, that he wasn’t going anywhere