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Awakening from a deep sleep, there are sometimes those first few moments when, having lived the life of a different you all night in vivid colours, you struggle to recollect you own real identity: this person now lying reluctantly in your all too real bed. There is little joy involved in burying within the swathes of reality the bold and brave version of yourself that came out to dance in the silent hours of slumber. Dreams to me are fascinating; they show us what we could be or wonder about being, and what languishes in the depths of our minds.
I think our subconscious minds know that somewhere along the line, we lost the ability to outrun our predators, favouring the development of grey matter over muscles. That must be why we as humans are united by dreams of being unable to run, of wading through treacle while the monsters gain on us. The chase drags on forever but the feeling of futility is overwhelming; one knows that capture is inevitable if awakening is not sooner. I particularly recall this feeling in one terrifying dream I now see vividly – not even to avoid certain death could I evade my pursuers.
I keep dreaming about my English teacher at college. This is strange. I wake up feeling a vague sense of embarrassment, as though the very idea of a teacher entering my slumbering thoughts is crossing some sort of boundary. They are ordinary scenarios – sitting listening in a lesson or a snatch of a conversation – but it still feels weird. She is in ways a role model to me; children often idolize those awe-inspiring figures of authority that guide them, and I have never lost that respect and admiration for teachers. My sleeping mind is perhaps meditating upon this feeling.
I believe it was around this time last year that I started to have dreams about Results Day for my GCSEs. I am expecting the same thing to happen again this year as the outcome of my efforts in AS levels draws nearer. I remember several panicked awakenings after dreams of failing everything, followed by an overpowering sense of relief that the dreaded day had in fact not yet arrived. This relief was then replaced by fear as I began to fret about it all again, leading to more dreams of failure – which thankfully were in vain in the end.
Few people have not experienced the dream where one finds oneself naked in public. Oddly, one my favourite dreams I have had was one which featured this scenario. I was walking to school when I realised that I had forgotten to put any clothes on, which prompted some girls who had spotted me to begin laughing. I marched over and shouted "Look, if I want to go to school naked then I will, okay?" They apologised, gratifyingly. I would never be that brave in real life and in the dream I walked on, head held high (but unfortunately still naked.)
I had the strangest dream last night. Well, I have had stranger but it was definitely a little bizarre. There was a giant pirhana-type fish, and another smaller creature. I was certain the pirhana was going to eat this creature - so it was a complete shock when it turned round and tore off my right leg while I called fruitlessly for help. I recall seeing blood and bone, but by far the most clear sensation was the utterly paralyzing shock. I am sure it must mean something concerned with the depths of my mind, but what I cannot say.
I settle to my keyboard this evening to expound upon my favourite dream theme: flying. I have often said that my greatest wish would be to be able to fly unaided, and sometimes my dreams kindly deliver this to me. I step confidently from low ledges, chest pointing towards the ground, and just before I hit the floor I pull sharly upwards and am able to stay airbourne and glide across the surface of the earth. It is wonderful and free and marvellous, and I often awake with a slight sense of disappointment that some things will always be impossible.
My heart pounding, I wrench my eyes open and two feelings fill me all at once: relief and uneasiness. Relief because the nightmare was just that - a nightmare. Uneasiness because the unreal fear of the dream still remains. Thankfully, I rarely experience nightmares but when I do, this is always the after-effect. I cannot close my eyes and drift back into sleep for fear that I will be gripped once more by scenes of dread. I stubbornly hold open my drooping eyelids, and against my desires, bring the horrifying images back into my mind until they lose their terror.
I would like to describe one of my most amusing dreams. I landed on an alien planet, and was at once thrown into a strange ritual that involvd dismantling snowmen. Various other bizarre events happened, but my favourite part was a scene in which I seemed to be providing a voiceover for a movie of my life. The exact words I spoke were: "You may be wondering why I was not outside enjoying the beautiful gardens. The thing was, I had discovered what I really wanted to do with my life: making jellybeans." Clearly my subconscious harbours some strange ambitions...
This 100 words thing is both easier and harder than I thought. On one hand, I am hitting the word count pretty easily now each day - at the start of the month I found restricting my thoughts to just 100 words difficult. On the other, coming up with something new to write each day is a little harder. When I picked 'dreams' as my theme for the month I thought it was wide enough to offer plenty of possibility, but it's trickier than I anticipated. I'm carrying on though, and it's all good practice in conciseness - something I definitely need!
I hate the feeling of waking up satisfied from a pleasant dream only to have its entire contents slip away from you like water through your fingers. You desperately try to clutch at the receding ghosts of thoughts, sometimes latching onto a familiar idea but then sighing in frustration as it too eludes your grasp. You feel somehow as if you have lost something important, though of course the dream was only a reflection of the mind's daily silt. To you it was significant for it is like you lived it for the night and now know nothing at all.
I always know when I am coming down with a cold because just before the onset, I suffer a night of feverishness and delirium where I experience very strange dreams. They cannot be described because they make no sense at all but every time I wake, as happens frequently on these nights, I continue to have the strange, nonsensical concepts presented to me in my dreams run through my head as though they are perfectly rational - it is almost like hallucination, like I am dreaming whilst awake. It makes me feel quite ill, and it is very weird and unsettling.
I can pinpoint the first dream I remember. I must have been about five years old, but I still remember it. It began with me peering into several caves, in which there were hostile-looking people in theatrical cat costumes. They did not harm me and I went on my way. The next thing I knew, I was running across a series of very high and narrow bridges in a vast arena-like room. Every so often, a group of atheletes came running the other way, practically trampling me. This seemed to go on forever, and I recall feeling frightened.
I have only one recurring dream and it's a little bit odd. It goes like this: I am wandering around trying to find a toilet in a giant public restroom. Every single one I go into is either disgusting or has no door, so I am wandering around for ages. Despite being extremely sceptical about dream interpretation, I looked it up on an online dream dictionary, and it claimed that this dream signifies that I am concerned about how others will judge me. This is true, but whether or that is really what my dream means is difficult to ascertain.
I'm tired, so today I bring facts. Wikipedia (The Almighty Source of Knowledge) says: Dreams are a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep... The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology... During REM sleep, the release of certain neurotransmitters is completely suppressed. As a result, motor neurons are not stimulated, a condition known as REM atonia. This prevents dreams from resulting in dangerous movements of the body... Twelve percent of people dream only in black and white... Lucid dreaming is the conscious perception of one's state while dreaming.
When you tell somebody that you've dreamed about them, their response is almost always a slightly wary, "What was I doing?!" This is down to two reasons, I think. Firstly, it's unnerving that someone can have a perception of you that you yourself have not caused. Whatever you do in someone else's dream is entirely outside of your control, and that's a little worrying. Secondly, the way you appeared in someone's dream can say a lot about what they really think of you, so that's also unsettling. And yet in a way, it's quite flattering to be dreamed of, too.
Last night, I dreamed that I was trying on one of my best friend's clothes. Oh, a dream expert would have a field day about that one. I know exactly what they'd say: that I'm trying to be more like that friend; that secretly I want to emulate her. I don't think this is true - while I suppose I would like to be more driven like her, I'm happy with my lazier, more chilled way of life. Later in the night, I dreamed of dancing and making tea out of roast chicken - I think that's just telling me I'm crazy.
I was staying at my Nanna and Grandad's house once when I dreamed I was attacked by a fox. I believe I was perhaps a mouse, but I wrenched myself awake before it could eat me. The following morning - what do you think? - my Grandad told me that a fox had been in the garden that night. Now I tend to be a fairly sceptical person, but that struck me as a rather singular coincidence. Had I been more fanciful, I should have imagined that the fox's spirit was calling out to mine or something equally nonsensical. I think not.
Is there anybody who has not experienced the bizarre sensation when, on the brink of sleep, one suddenly jolts awake with a feeling of falling? You jerk violently, certain that you are about to hit the floor, only to feel utterly confused at finding yourself in your own bed. It is as though you had been hovering about a foot above your mattress and had fallen all at once back to earth. I am sure there is some scientific explanation for this phenomenon, but I really don't know what it could be. I'd rather it remained a mystery to me.
My dreams quite often feature a scenario in them where I'm just about to eat something - chocolate or cake or something similarly tantalizing - when I suddenly wake. The food is just centimetres from my lips, and is then cruelly torn away from me in a second of harsh reality. Oh, the frustration! I lie there in my bed cursing that I could not have remained asleep for just a few seconds longer. And of course, it is hopelessly impossible to try and cast oneself back into a shattered dream, for it simply cannot be done. Believe me, I have tried.
I'm currently in Portugal, writing these last fourteen entries by hand to be typed up on my return (I know this isn't strictly allowed but I have no computer access and I really want to finish this batch.) I dreamed last night that we returned home for a day in the middle of our holiday. I also dreamed I was replying to a text that Ross sent me last night. It was only a little message to see how my summer's going, but it made me really happy - and apparently my sleeping mind considered it important enough to think over.
Another one of those exasperating dreams I couldn't remember. I was having it mere seconds before I woke, but in that time taken to struggle blearily into consciousness, it evaporated. I know I dreamed of my friend Alice last night, but for the life of me I can't remember what happened. I do know I once dreamed that she and I were on the run from the police and had to hide and change our identities. I later told her about it, and we laughed. I reckon Alice would be absolutely rubbish at evading capture but I do love her.
When i was younger, I used to have these weird vision things. I'd wake up, and see things flying around my room. I wasn't asleep - it was like I was dreaming whilst wide awake in my own bedroom. The things I saw were mostly strange creatures, predominantly snakes, but I remember seeing bees and all sorts of weird things. They would change according to what I was thinking about, but wouldn't leave me even if I closed my eyes. Sometimes there were metal bars sliding over me, and I'd feel trapped - it sounds ridiculous now, but it was very frightening.
Ross entered my dreams again last night. What's my brain trying to tell me exactly? He was walking with another guy I know, Matt, who I've fancied for two years, and they were talking. It's interesting that in the dream it was Ross' attention I was trying to get, not Matt's. I don't see Matt any more since we've gone to different colleges, and I think I may be finally over him. It wasn't meant to be - we were rivals more than anything, but it's amazing how sexy competition is. I seem to be revealing more here than I intended.
I always seem to dream more frequently and vividly when I'm on holiday. I'm sure dreaming occurs in the deepest sleep, so I would have thought I'd dream less since I share a room each night with one or two of my cousins or my brother (we swap rooms every night just to keep everybody happy with the sleeping arrangements.) But then all of the sun and swimming and walking and general activity probably tires me out more than my usual routine, so perhaps I do sleep better. Certainly I wake up each morning with recollections of numerous nighttime adventures.
I dreamt of warehouses last night. I recall few details; only a sensation of wandering and surveying goods. Allow me to try my hand at interpretation once more. I am certain it would be said that this dream represents a situation in my life where I have many decisions to make - could this relate to my upcoming university applications? For it must be admitted that I dwell on the matter daily - have I made the right decision in choosing English as my course? Where do I want to go besides my first choice? But I'm sure of one thing: Cambridge.
Last night's dream was a pleasant and amusing one. Myself and May, a friend, entered a big, prestigious talent contest. Oh, we were marvellous, I tell you! We did a little singing, acting, some dancing - and managed to sail through all the rounds and ultimately win the thing! The best thing was that we improvised almost everything and were still brilliant. The thrill of performing was wonderful; I wish I could do it in real life. The prize was to perform at a giant event held at my dance school, and the tickets were £99. Hey, we were worth it!
Some of the best dreams, of course, are daydreams. It's a habit of mine to constuct scenarios that amuse me as I lie in bed at night waiting for sleep, or during long journeys. Sometimes I take people I know and imagine them in strange situations; other times I take famous people and place them into scenes. It's a slightly weird thing to do, but it's harmless enjoyment, and my mind is the one thing I always have with me to occupy myself if there's nothing else. The objects of my imaginings would probably be quite alarmed if they knew.
Ah, how restless I was last night. I'd had a headache, and my dreams felt slightly feverish for it. I dreamed that I was Nelly Dean from 'Wuthering Heights' - unsurprising since I'd been reading the book - but I kept waking and tossing and turning all night long. At one point I fell into an actual dream, rather than a fuzz of confusing feeling, and dreamt of goldfish that were not mine, of caring for them until their owner could have them again. I have woken this morning feeling distinctly groggy and unrefreshed, and my sheets are tangled from moving about.
I talked about daydreams the other day, but very rarely do actual dreams present the situations you really want to see. One time, I couldn't have imagined anything better than what my subconscious gave me. It was at the time when I was applying for Head Girl at my school, and you have no idea how much I wanted it. In the dream, not only did I get the position but the guy of my dreams got Head Boy and rounded everything off nicely by kissing me. In reality, the position went to another girl and the guy remained oblivious.
And so the month is over. At the beginning of the month, after about five days of writing 100 words each day, my task seemed huge - impossible even. I'd embarked upon the project of finding something to write on the subject of dreams every day - why the hell had I done that, and how was I to keep it up? But I've done it. I wouldn't choose a theme again but I'm glad I did. Along the way, especially towards the end, I found I was telling more about myself than I imagined I would. It's been fun. Goodbye July.
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