What Dreams Can Tell Us
Dreams are wondrous and sometimes frightening experiences. They hold the key to our subconscious, and can sometimes reveal our true selves. Here I dreamed about powerful robot dinos and some super hero flying into their mothership. If I remember correctly, the later part of the dream featured a city like the one in Blade Runner with two Volkswagen bugs racing down an empty highway while being chased by a massive ship overhead. They entered into a brightly lit white garage with a red cross on the floor. Obviously, it was a rather good experience. This was a time where my imagination flourished, and I was less of a cynic than I am now.
Healthy psychological states produced wonderful landscapes brimming with colour and life. I could explore to my hearts content and meet people who I have never seen before without reservation, even though usually my dreamscapes are sparsely populated.
When the moods are reversed, and I am in psychological pain, monsters rule the streets. The people you meet could easily be the ones who will inflict damage or kill. I could remember the dreams I had as a child where I was devoured, boiled in acid, torn limb from limb, infested with parasitic worms, forced to watch myself age as someone else, and always, always trying to escape.
The first bit of important evidence I had that I was trans* was this one dream where our class went on a field-trip to a museum. Everyone was stoic with blank faces. It was some perfunctory event. We were ushered into the massive building and into some empty room with a single exhibit. There was some mass in the center of the room cordoned off with line posts. It looked like dead animal carcasses strewn over a dead tree. The dried, leather skins were taught like tent canvas over the tree and attached to the base. I tried to get a closer look at the base and realized the exhibit was part of the building.
The floor shook and waved like a water bed. Once it stopped, everyone was acting strangely. The adults, no everyone was in zombie fashion tearing each other limb from limb and exchanging body parts like they were plastic dolls. There was no blood and limbs popped off like they would off of a figurine. I could not escape. A couple of teachers caught me and pulled from my arms to my feet. My waist popped off just as easily as if there was nothing but a flimsy seem holding it together. They had someone else’s waist and legs in readiness just waiting to patch me up. It belonged to a boy, not to me, but it was too late. The they attached the strange half, and the magic was done. I was then left to wander outside in suburban hell until I awoke. Riveting, no?
The second time I was awakened to my trans* status was during my senior year of school. I was having trouble with my parents. I tried coming out before, and it was a disaster. Since then, they always kept it in the back of their minds expecting other kinds of lurid, out-of-character behaviour from me. No amount of excellence or Dudley-Do-Rightedness would ameliorate the situation, and I was stressed to the point of mental exhaustion.
One night I had a dream. Imagine a metallic green, gigeresque room. In and out, I saw my self curled naked into a ball. It was stiflingly muggy and hot. It felt as if I was being crushed by the air pressure. There was a number in monochrome green growing larger and larger. As it grew, so did my discomfort. It grew and grew. The pain grew and grew, until I awoke sweating, clenching my chest. I fell to floor with my heart throbbing. When I struggled to rise, it was then I realized that I could not move my legs! It took about a minute or two, but I recovered. Still, I could not tell my parents what had happened. I was afraid to, and off I went to school taking my secret pain with me.
Sometimes the moon would just break apart and fall from the sky raining fiery doom onto the planet. Sometimes it would just loom overhead and fall ever so slowly distorting gravity and causing massive swells which covered miles of shore and inland terrain.
Sometimes the Earth unleashed its anger in the form of tornadoes, and at other times, lava seeping up from below.
I could be walking on a dun and cloudy sort of day by the beach. Everything is the colour of rot and ash. The ocean gives up its dead, some mutilated dog fish. Inching closer, the dead thing springs to life and lungs for my limbs hoping to take some piece with it to oblivion. I backed away and headed towards a shanty town built precariously close to the shore. There were papers and trash littering beach all around. Something must have ended. Can’t imagine what.
As a child, I wandered into a park by bike. Two different kinds of trees populated what looked like an early build. Young deciduous saplings to my left and young pines to my right. I observed an artificial pond dug out from plowed earth. Instantly, the dream revealed to me in a second sight what lurked within its murky water. There was some sort of prehistoric creature which resembled a mosasaurus. Soon, my vision returned to the first-person, and I stopped in front of some vernal pool filled with blood, bile, and organs. Bones floated to the surface and formed a skeleton. The skeleton stood erect and resembled another prehistoric monster. The organs floated to fill the skeleton and soon blood and skin followed. I raced past them before they could completely animate. I decided to bolt out of the park of horrors. I went in between some fenced houses into an alleyway. A skeleton warrior jumped out of hiding and blocked my path. Everything went dark afterwards. I believe I was in the first or second grade, maybe the third grade.
There were other times where I dreamed of being the thing I sometimes ran from. As a child, I remembered visiting an aquarium in a dream. The air was humid and I looked into the pool of brackish water from above and glimpsed an inky black shape with a tremendously long neck gracefully, silently gliding through the water. When I entered the restroom, my body morphed into a plesiosaur.
Again, there were other times where I changed into white dragons. Funny story, I looked up white dragons in a book on mythological creatures in the library at the University of Houston. The only thing I remember is that they represented luck and fortune. As a trans* person, I have been very lucky indeed. Looking them up on Wikipedia revealed white dragons as symbols for Anglo-Saxon houses battling with the Welsh.
“The ultimate source for the symbolism of white dragons in England would appear to be Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fictional History of the Kings of Britain (c. 1136), where an incident occurs in the life of Merlin in which a red dragon is seen fighting a white dragon which it overcomes. The red dragon was taken to represent the Welsh and their eventual victory over the Anglo-Saxon invaders, symbolised by the white dragon.” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_dragon
Why did I dream about becoming something else? As a child, I often fantasized about being dinosaurs or dragons. They were strong, sleek, and far more attractive than anything mammal or human, to me anyway. I loved birds as well and imagined myself taking flight into the blue, into freedom. I wanted freedom, because I did not feel free. I wanted power and strength, because I felt powerless. I wanted to become something of terrifying beauty, because I felt hideous. But most importantly, I wanted all these things, because humanity embodied the very exact opposite. You can wonder all you like why a child at such a tender age began feeling such misanthropy towards her own kin. I am still wondering that myself. Unfortunately, not even dreams could reveal that mystery.
I also dreamed about white widow spiders. These were large, albino versions of the black widow as big as terriers, and they were terrifying beyond mere description. They had eyes which glowed like rubies. Their webbing was thick and matted like cheese cloth. Their bodies felt of cold dead flesh. They, too, were in the book in exact detail. They were described as soul-eaters. Funny how my father just ignored the soul catching, soul eating spiders crawling just a couple of feet away from us on the ceiling.
Some of these terrifying dreams you would probably caution as nightmares, but I fail to see the difference. These are the kind of dreams I have out of stress and anger, and I have had a lot of them. They tell me when there are problems and what the problems may be. Running means avoidance or anxiety. Flesh eating monsters mean anger, stress, possibly against other people, those people being monsters of course. Natural disasters signify anxiety as well but of a different kind. They mean quite possibly fear of being swallowed by uncontrollable events. These are only speculation, but they make sense when viewed through my eyes.
To give a better example, I just recently had a dream about Hillary Clinton. She was passing out flyers at a mall. She handed me a political cartoon of herself in riot gear wearing a safety mask grimacing through its tough plexiglass. She told me enthusiastically this was how she would “fix the economy.”
When I daydreamed, the state I was in was very similar to sleeping, except for being conscious. It felt as if I was there, but I could control the direction the dream was going. I was literally in two places at once. Every spare moment I had waiting was spent daydreaming. I still daydream, but I could never bring myself to experience the level of intensity I felt then for very long.
These were times where I could truly be myself.
Listening to music helps with the process. It helps focus my thoughts and bring a world to life in the same way childish self used to.
Everything I am is caught up in dreams. They give life meaning. They invigorate the soul and offer closure in a world with very little of either. They are proof I am alive. Without them, I am lost.