Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dreaming still

I never used to remember my dreams. I know that we dream three or four times a night, but I could never recall them But something strange happened to me when I was away last year. After a turbulent five years, I took the opportunity to go on a sabbatical to Australia for six month. I allowed myself to get away from the daily madness we call routine. And that is when things started going strange. One of which was dreaming.

I found myself waking up startled. 2:22 on the clock. I had a nightmare...agian. My heart raced me to consciousness. I woke up with a start. Shit.

I have also been remembering my dreams. Nightmares and dreams. I could never remember my dreams before, and rarely have I ever had nightmares. So much so, that now,  I am puzzled.  I do not know if my experiences are real experiences, or dreams. Since I did not remember my dreams before, I had no reference for how to deal with them. Before, anything that I "experienced" I believe to have happened in my conscious life.  My real life. I had such a clean distinction before. I had a sharp demarcation between conscious experience that I remember, and unconscious dreams which remained hidden.

My nightmares are happening with such consistency now that I have to remind myself, that when I am awake and conscious, that I am not dreaming. My dreaming has infringed upon my waking consciousness.

And this has continued after my return home. Back home after six months of travel, I am changed. My dreams seem to equate with empathy. I experience events that other people have told me about but which I have never experienced. Some are pleasant (flying unaided) other dreams are not quite so (being abused.)

In the past when I was told that they feel lost and out of control, I, who have never ever felt ungrounded, could only acknowledge the facts. I knew intuitively that the experience they were relating was bad, but bad in my way.  And despite my empathy, my "bad" is different from your bad. And it is not just in terms of degrees of bad, but in terms of the repercussions. The ripple effect of bad.  Having half my leg torn off by a dog, requiring 17 stitches, is bad, but there are simple repercussions--I (was) afraid of dogs.  Being beaten senseless by your husband/ wife/ boyfriend/ girlfriend leaves indelible marks that cannot be cured by getting a puppy. My dreams taught me that.

I now dream about how it is to experience events from another perspective. It is not all sublime. Some of my dreams involve mundane things like driving a truck. Yes, mundane, but do you know how invincible you feel driving a truck especially when you have never actually been in one yourself? Other experiences are not so easy to accept. Being physically abused was difficult and traumatic. Dreaming of being the abuser while at the same time feeling the consequences of those actions was unique. As the abused, knowing that you are not in control, leaves you utterly de-humanized. Like a rag thrown away, splattered against the rocks. Knowing that the abuser is also impervious to you, the abused. It is not about you. The selfish and egoistic desire to lash out has nothing to do with the recipient. I learnt that in my dreams. I always thought that if  am hit that I will retaliate to save "me." But it is not about me about ego. It is about the abuser and their issues, their psychosis. A lot of sleepless nights where I wake up startled.

It also gets funny. I woke up to my tinnitus, ringing in my ear. That was funny since I woke up answering an imaginary phone. I laughed so hard I had to run to the toilet.

I never used to remember my dreams. Now I am not sure whether they are dreams or just a reconstituting of my reality. Trying to make sense of the people around me so that I can empathize with them and undersand my world as it is rather than how I wish it.

1 comment:

  1. Mario, your post touches my soul.
    Trying to make sense of people is something we will never receive as part of a university education. This "understanding" seems to be a lonely, scary and sometimes (if we allow it) beautiful journey.