I’ve heard that no one ever wants to hear about other people’s dreams, but I have long been fascinated by what happens in our brains after we fall asleep. This week we asked the Entropy community to share their recurring dreams and nightmares. What follows are the fantastic, terrifying and magical representations of the psyches of our Entropy community.
As a little kid I had night terrors. One was walking on the Santa Monica pier with grandma and someone suddenly taps me on the shoulder. It is a giant crab from under them pier about to eat me. Another was some placid dream (they varied widely) and then a Tiger comes flying at me at eye level from bushes. The third was a dream of my brother and I trying to steal dad’s car as kids and beginning to fall off a cliff. The last was knocking on a neighbor’s door to sell candy and she was an evil witch and i was trapped in the glass of her oversize ring.
I have several categories of recurring dreams, that alternate based on what’s going on in my life, usually. The first is where I am being relentlessly pursued by something, or someone. Usually it involves an airplane falling from the sky and me trying to outrun it, or driving in a car or running along a high, narrow path, where if I take one wrong step I’ll plunge down a ravine, crash into the sea, etc. The second type is that I am looking at different houses or apartments to move into. Often, these places are familiar from other dreams. They may also have weird features (like recently one had a terrarium window with a colony of tiny people living there). Or they may combine with the chase dream, such as looking at a house and then having to run because the cops have found me! The third type is one that I’ve only been having since I started teaching, and it’s predictable of course, the whole thing of not showing up to the right room, or on time, or with the right notes, or having to teach two classes at once on two different subjects in the same classroom, or students who are riding around in clown cars honking horns, etc. Every once in awhile I’ll get the super combo, where I am teaching a class and suddenly everything goes awry and the chase begins, and I move to a new house in new town to get away from it, and then a plane falls on it anyway. The only respite in these dreams is that I will frequently encounter a carnival along the way, so at least I get to enjoy a dancing bear or ride the tilt-a-whirl for a minute in the middle of the chaos.
I have many reoccurring dreams! One I had recently, and have had for the past few years: I time travel back to the mid-90s and go through all my photos/clothing from when I was 13/14 and cry a lot because touching these things (that provoke traumatic/complicated memories) gives me such intense nostalgia. I also frequently dream that I find out I still have one more year of high school left, which I am being forced to do despite the fact that I already have a college degree.
Being chased by a tiger on the beach, in the dunes. Sometimes the tiger is a cub, but in those instances, I’m miniature. The tiger is usually bright orange, like Tony the Tiger. Needless to say, my feet are going fast, just like in the cartoons, but my body is going nowhere. It’s winter, so no one is around. Sometimes there’s a lighthouse, which is always locked or else the door is too high to reach. I wake up exhausted, feeling wind-tossed and gritty.
When I was a child I had dreams of being chased in the snow. There was a trapdoor into the ground and I had a feeling things were worse down there, and I had to decide whether to keep running or jump through the trap door. I also have dreams that I have to go back to high school and am so frustrated and go around telling people I have a graduate degree but no one cares. I’ve had many dreams of running from waves or treading water in the ocean with no land in sight. The dream I’ve had all my life, though, is one of a huge black lake in the middle of a very nice little town. It feels like a place I visit. Sometimes I stick a foot in the water but I am always afraid.
Erin Hart Wisti
I have a recurring place I visit in my dreams. When I go to this place, I always wake up feeling peaceful and well rested. It’s this park, kind of, where you ride something I can only describe as a combination of a subway train and a golf cart through a zoo where the animals run free. Frequently, there are whales and dolphins that I see in tanks and oceans. When I see marine animals, the air always smells like vacations did as a child (a combination of chlorine, sunscreen, and fresh air) and I feel that weird forgotten giddiness of a kid going on a trip. However, the giraffes are usually the main attraction in my dream. There are hundreds of them and I just slowly ride in the train/golf cart and watch them, always feeling amazed that I’m witnessing something so spectacular. There’s something very serene about the place. I think maybe it’s because I can tell the animals are happy there, that it’s a kind of paradise for them and your role as an observer in this zoo is to witness their perfect bliss. Every time I have this dream, I spend part of it trying to figure out where I am. I know I’m dreaming, but I’m in this hazy only semi-lucid state. I start thinking this is dream place is a real place I’ve seen before and I have thoughts like, “Yes, this is a dream, but I’ve been here in waking life! When I was in NYC that summer, down by Brooklyn…” or “No, no, I remember where this place is now! If I go to Chicago, and then take the red line all the way to the Bryn Mawr stop…” When I wake up, I’m still convinced for a few seconds this place is real and it’s in one of the cities I’ve left behind. Unfortunately, this is very much a dream place. I only wish it were real.