Friday, April 04, 2014

What dreams may come

Any of my friends can tell you that I have some pretty crazy dreams. They are often exceptionally detailed, rarely mundane (with the exception of one I had a few months ago where I was washing dishes) and I typically remember much of them.

For example, I recall with clarity a recurring dream I had as a child -- starting when I was about 5 up until I was 10 or so -- of suddenly being chased by a landslide while standing in the middle of an empty field. Another dream, in high school, involved international espionage and a limo chase ( I was driving) across the roofs of a European city. In another, also from when I was in high school, I was held captive by a rather romantically (ahem) inclined vampire (like pretty much everyone else in the early-to-mid-90s, I read "Interview with a Vampire" and several other Anne Rice novels, although I wouldn't touch them now) in a castle that subsequently flooded, allowing for my escape. In the dream I remember part of the outfit I was wearing was a black-and-white striped shirt, although I don't recall whether the shirt had significance.

Often, there's enough of a dream I can catch when I wake up that I'm able to write it down, just to remember or for future reference (i.e. future fictional plot points). Some are more nebulous, vanishing as I fumble toward wakefulness. Many are quite involved. Recently, I had a dream about a family vacation to France, where I was getting annoyed at other tourists for getting in the way of photographs I was trying to shoot. It was the first time since my dad died last August that he showed up one of my dreams. He -- looking completely healthy -- and my Uncle Joe got into a lawyerly/older brother vs. younger brother debate about where to go for dinner. So typical, lol. The dream didn't make me sad, but was comforting, ultimately.

How do I remember so much of what I dream about? I honestly have no idea. I used to think it might be hereditary, since my mom is the same way (Like me, she writes them down. And she'll call me up, even now, to just tell me about an interesting dream she had). My dad, who said he almost never remembered what he dreamed, used to wonder at us in the mornings sometimes as we'd talk about things we'd dreamt the night before.

Sometimes, it's easy to discern where portions of a dream come from: something that happened to me during the day, or a show I watched on TV, will have an influence. Friends, family, guys I've had crushes on and the occasional celebrity show up, as do people from high school, or even elementary school, who I haven't seen in decades.

People always assume I've eaten something strange, but I honestly don't think food eaten the night before has anything to do with it. I've had pretty nutty dreams after eating perfectly normal dishes (read: foods I've eaten for years) as well as after eating something more rich.

Apparently, pregnant women have very vivid dreams, but there's no chance of that. You know, unless there's a virgin birth in the offing God has neglected to tell me about...

But, oddly enough, I've dreamed twice this week that I was pregnant. In the first, I was large with child, which I believe was a boy, and in the dream I was craving a large, juicy hamburger, although I couldn't have told you who the father was supposed to be. Then last night, I dreamed I was at a doctor's office. I took one pregnancy test and it came back negative. But a few hours later (still at the doctor's office), I took another one, watching as the doctor poured something into a beaker and the color indicator on the outside of the beaker changed, showing a positive result, and the doctor gave me her congratulations. Again, no idea who the prospective daddy was, although I wasn't upset in either dream to find myself in the family way.

I know other (non-pregnant) women who've had pregnancy dreams, so it's not all that strange. And I've had pregnancy dreams before, although they were both years ago (in one I was pregnant with twins) and years apart, so two in one week is admittedly odd.

Every so often, I'll Google something I dreamed about, but oftentimes the interpretations of dreams that result from the search are either conflicting, new-agey or both. Many in the Bible have God speak to them through dreams (St. Joseph, for one, and the Wise Men), but I'm fairly certain the pregnancy dreams -- or the majority of those I have, for that matter -- aren't any sort of Heavenly prompting.

Recently, there has been research that posits those who have vivid dreams show higher amounts of brain activity, or are lighter sleepers. I don't know that I'm a light sleeper, and I've never had my level of brain activity measured, so I honestly can't say. I just think it's one of those things that make me who I am, but I admit it's sometimes fun to guess about. :)


Restless Pilgrim said...

>You know, unless there's an immaculate conception in the offing God has neglected to tell me about...

I think you mean virgin birth, not immaculate conception...

Anne said...

Yes, that. It's been a long week...and it's Friday...and yeah, I fixed it. :)

Anne said...

And fail is right... I'm nowhere remotely close to Mary status.