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Dreaming dreams

Sometimes, reading about other peoples' dreams can be excruciating...and for that, I apologize in advance, because my own dreams have always fascinated me. And yet, when I see a dream sequence coming on in fiction, I usually think, "Oh God, not that!" (And, of course, I indulged myself probably more than once...I know for sure there is a dream in Criss Cross, but in my own defense I hadn't yet formed the opinion that dreamscapes should really be handled with care at that point.)

I still remember a dream I had when I was pretty young, maybe 8 or 9, in particular because I was distressed enough to wake up, but because I fell back asleep and resumed the dream, and the whole tenor of the thing had changed, and it turned out okay.

I was telling my friend about a driving dream I'd had, and I supposed I'd just presumed it was universal. I probably lead with, "Okay, so you have dreams where you're driving a car all the time, right?"

So of course she said, "No, never." 

Of course I thought she was pulling my leg. But no, she'd never had that particular dream, although we had fun dissecting the symbolism. (It was a "company car" so clearly it was about my career. I was also in the back seat and I was concerned I wouldn't be able to pick up enough speed to merge onto the highway without having access to the gas pedal, however the gas pedal was also a brake.)

It got me to thinking about dream themes, because I've always loved them. I want to start making visual art again, and "dream themes" is my best idea...because I think I'm at a point where I want to start tapping into more universal themes then the ubiquitous angsty self-portrait that dominates every art student's repertoire.

Some common dream themes of mine include:
I'm driving but there's something weird about the car or the road.
I don't know where I live (or I have a job but I've forgotten how to do it.)
My teeth are crumbling. I haven't had that one in a while.
One of my pets are in distress and I have to help them. I had this one last night, where Puffy fell in a hole. These can be upsetting enough to wake me up.
I need to go to the bathroom but there's something nasty about the bathroom, or maybe the toilet is in the middle of a public space and I'm embarrassed. (I thought I was disturbed but research tells me this is a common dream.)
I find extra rooms in my house that I hadn't known were there - usually they are also furnished and I love the furniture or appliances, because often they are a second kitchen - this is my FAVORITE dream theme.

One dream my friend and I shared was that we were running really fast until we achieve liftoff and we were flying.

One of her recurring themes was that she was jogging by this scary embankment by a trashy rental house from her childhood and she was filled with dread as if something really bad would happen/had happened there. I dream about my late grandmother's kitchen and basement a lot. I used to hang out with my favorite uncle who was a hobby fisherman in the basement while he cleaned the fish.

So, what about you? Do you dream about something--like the teeth--that you suspect lots of people dream about too?



( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 6th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
NEAT! I've never had the teeth-falling-out one, but my most common recurring theme is driving. I have driving dreams all the time.

My second most recurring is elevators. ELEVATORS WITH NO SIDES. I once dreamed I was in an open elevator in New York City on like the bazillionth floor. These are normally terrifying. NOT MY FAVOURITE.

The third one is this fabulous mall. I dream about this damn place all the time. The architecture is stunning. I should try to draw it one day, because as far as I know it doesn't exist. No idea why I dream about it so much, but I really love it. I never shop there, I just wander around or I'm there looking for someone or something.

I've been shot a few times. I didn't wake up until after the bullet hit. The one in the face sucked. XD
Mar. 6th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
I've also been shot, but only a couple of times-- once on a bus in my old south-side chicago neighborhood where it could very well have happened. And it totally hurt! I felt it!

I really love your mall. I think it's like my extra kitchen in a way.

Does your dream car work normally? Mine's all weird like I"m on a roller coaster or railroad track or other weirdness instead.
Mar. 6th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my cars usually work and I'm always on a road, but for some reason they aren't often my cars.

I dream about buffet tables frequently, but I never get to eat any of it. *pouty face* I WANT DREAM FOOD.
Mar. 6th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
Whenever I get to eat dream food, it tastes terrible, like the inside of my morning-mouth.
Mar. 6th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'll pass on the dream food... XD
Mar. 6th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
I have that same flying dream, and when I get too close to the ground, I get sucked back down sometimes.

I also have a strange tendency to dream that I'm doing dishes for other people. ;)
Mar. 6th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
doing dishes for other people

I shouldn't laugh. I know. But AAAAGH--that's hideous! I got such a kick out of it though.
Mar. 7th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)
It's okay, it cracked me up, too! You joined company with Tanya Huff and Seanan McGuire. I'm starting to worry about my subconscious.
Mar. 6th, 2011 09:34 pm (UTC)
I have had lots of driving dreams. I have dreamed (dreamt?) that I'm in the back seat and can't control it as you have or that I'm on a curve or going off a curve or a bridge or something like that.

I have many dreams where I'm back in university and suddenly I realize that I have been signed up for some class and haven't known it and now it's exam time and I had no clue I was even taking it or what room it was in. (stress dream)

I've had dreams where I've been naked in public (not for a long time but I used to) and no one would seem to notice but I was trying to cover myself.

Also lots of dreams about my ex. Ugh. Why can't I dream about some hot guy I see on Tumblr? Noooooo.

I've never had the teeth dram but I know lots of people who have. It's pretty common too.
Mar. 6th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
My college class dream (also common) is more like I want to drop the class because somehow I've never attended, but it's too late so I'm getting charged anyway and now I"ll get a fail-grade.

Strangely, my "I don't know how to do this job" dreams are sometimes located at the college, because I worked there for 4 years in admin after I graduated.

I can't recall ever having that back-seat dream before that recent one. I wonder what it means?
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
I used to have flying dreams a lot when I was younger. Aren't they about feeling empowered and invincible? Needles to say since I've reached my 40's they're not so common. lol.

Not a fan of dream sex scenes in romance novels. I always feel ripped off for some reason.
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
I don't think I've ever read what the typical interpretation of the flying dream is. I'll have to look it up. I noticed I don't have them too often anymore either, and I miss 'em!
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
I really like my city dreams, where I visit this city that has a distinct map and architecture and everything in my dreams. It's always the same, this dream city, though I will often visit different parts of it. I suspect that a lot of people have their own dream city, but of course I love mine.

When I was working at a Ubiquitous Printing Store (that was bought out by FedEx), I used to have these Rumplestilksin type dreams where I would be trapped in a room with huge stacks of paper that I had to print/bind/collate/staple/pack or otherwise deal with. I also have dreams where I'm working as a waitress again, and these range from horrible to not-so-bad-actually. I find I have the working dreams when I'm worried about money, obviously. Now that I'm freelancing, I'll have the waitress dreams when I'm broke and worrying about my next gig. I suspect it's my subconscious telling me that I still have marketable skills and I'll never starve.
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
I'm totally FASCINATED by your dream city! I wonder if it's like my dream house or Cheryl's dream mall. I want to go there.

I used to feel cheated when I woke up from a dream of working because, honestly, wasn't it enough that I had to spend my time there working on other peoples' projects in my waking life? Now, when I have a frustrating work dream and I'm distressed upon waking, it flips quickly enough into, "I don't have a day job, and if I work hard enough and apply myself, I never have to have one again. Ha ha!"

I guess I'm still in that honeymoon phase of working for myself :D
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
One day I will write a book about my dream city, ala "Palimpsest". Or maybe a short story collection. That sounds better. I don't even know the name of it, just the Dream City. It's got Cemetery Hill and some lovely old tenement buildings and those alleys that I love that have gardens at the end of them and ghettos for monsters and people that are colorful and beautiful and strange... And I'm always meeting people I know there or rather people I used to know, friends I had briefly that I know I'll never see again.

Okay, I'll stop. Every time I have one of the city dreams, I'm so happy for like a day afterwards. But they come very rarely.

I hadn't thought of the working dreams in such a positive light, thank you! They're usually filled with a kind of dread or depression for me, and stress. I guess I'm out of the honeymoon phase and into the "SO MUCH TO DO SO LITTLE TIME" phase.
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:06 am (UTC)
Huh, so that's where Vic's dream about his teeth falling apart comes from!
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
I thought everyone had it! I was going for a typical gross anxiety dream.
Mar. 7th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
I've had the teeth dream before. I went for a week where I had it every night and then I had it once after my wisdom teeth were taken out. I woke up after that dream, felt around my mouth with my tongue, and when I felt the missing spots in the back of my mouth, I let out this horrible shriek before I woke up far enough to remember that I had them taken out >.< I felt really bad for the boyfriend that night.

As of late, my dreams have been survival based dreams. Trying to get away from the alien pods, trying to get away from the people who are trying to kill my family and myself, trying to stay one step ahead of these dark beings who are destroying everything in their path... needless to say, I haven't been sleeping well. But the one thing that seems to remain constant in my dreams is that I'm almost always outside. The rare few times I'm indoors in a dream, the roof or the walls always end up disappearing. I've never really looked into why that may be, though.
Mar. 7th, 2011 10:42 am (UTC)
If it's any consolation, I read once that creative and intelligent people have more bad dreams and nightmares than people who aren't. (Nightmares being the ones that wake you up.)

That's fascinating about your outdoors and disappearing walls! I don't know that I've thought much about it, but maybe lots of dreams are outdoors.

This morning's dream has eluded me already. I think it might've been sorta dumb.

Mar. 7th, 2011 09:44 am (UTC)
I've had a few recurring dreams before, some you've mentioned here but none for awhile. Ones I've had - the teeth, driving (from passenger seat or back seat), the bathroom (there are different scenarios with this one. Either I'm in a public place (like a locker room), there's something wrong or disgusting with the toilet/stall, or (the one I have most), I'm in my house, and there are like 20 bathrooms tucked in all these rooms I don't have in my house, and usually someone's using the room for one reason or another.

Another recurring dream I've had since I was a child, but haven't had an episode in years, I'm in a house that used to belong to my best friend's family (and old single story farmhouse) and this giant or monster would try to get in, peeking in the windows, and we'd have to be quiet and keep everything dark so he wouldn't see us.

I've also recently started dreaming about traveling with my daughter (except I keep calling her by my sister's name). Usually innocuous, but sometimes it morphs into another recurring dream.
Mar. 7th, 2011 10:52 am (UTC)
I think I've driven from the passenger seat before too, now that you mention it. There's always something weird about the car or the road. It never just works right and I never have a pleasant or productive drive.

I've also had the "someone's using the room where the toilet's located" dream!

It's so interesting how several of our recurring dreams are shared--no doubt that's what Jung built his life's work on--but then some are so personal, like your last two dreams. (The giant and farmhouse is kinda scary...I can visualize this big face looming up on the window while you're trying to hold perfectly still and be quiet.)
Mar. 7th, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)
I've had driving dreams where the controls are weird or I'm in the wrong place, they don't happen very often.

I think I tend to dream about monotonous daytime events a lot - very hard to spot those because they blend into the monotonous daytime reality. I know that one time I searched out a file and handed it over to a manager with an apology for taking a couple of days to get around to finding it for them - only they had never asked for that file.

I have epic fantasy quest/fight dreams occasionally which I enjoy.

A recurring theme is 'home' I am living in a house (or some friend or relative lives there) and it will have rooms I've never seen before or entire floors. The houses are rarely ones that I have lived in, but in the dream they are - if you can follow that. My dreams come with instant background knowledge, so if something/somewhere is suposed to be familiar according to the plot of the dream then I will know it as well as I would in real life.

One dream I remember from many years ago - I was living in an elevator with my husband and we had furniture and a mattress and bedding. The elevator stopped regularly at the lab where I worked and the door opened directly into the lab. I can remember being irritated by everyone peering at us and all our stuff when the doors opened. I can also remember thinking that at least it was convenient for work. I can't remember if the lift was used by anyone else, but I do know it didn't exist in RL.
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
How cool, I have very, very similar dreams to these. Like your elevator dream, I often dream I live at my workplace. Usually customers are able to wander into my bedroom, which is upsetting for me. It seems like a pretty cut and dried "my day job is taking over my life" plea from my subconscious! And, what's weird, I've had one recently even though it's nearly a year ago I started working for myself.

I've had those epic fantasy quest dreams too! I love them. I don't have them much. They "feel" very different from a regular dream somehow. My book Hemovore started with me having one of those.
Mar. 12th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
my recurring anxiety dream is being at an airport - or sometimes a space-port, and getting in a total mess, and loosing my luggage and the people I'm with, and my tickets, and and and ... I have beeen known to do that Hollywood-waking-up-with-a-terrified-gasp thing from it.
Mar. 14th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC)
Isn't it awful, how scary it can be, scary enough to wake you up? This reminds me a lot of my "I don't know where I live" dream. But I love the spaceport element!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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