I’ve been having some strange dreams lately. They’re either stress-induced or I have some serious mental issues. I’m going with the stress theory. I’m pretty good at managing stress during the day. At least I think I’m pretty good at it. Any day I don’t wind up on the floor, rocking back and forth in a fetal position is good in my book, anyway.
People tell me to let go of the things that stress me. That’s good advice in theory, I guess. I can let the little stuff slide without a second thought, but there are some stressors that I just can’t do away with. Juggling all my responsibilities, trying to make ends meet every month, and attempting to ensure my kids’ well-being are all ever-present in my mind. And even if I can tuck away those things that stress me out and they aren’t at the surface, they’re still lurking around the dark corners of my brain somewhere between the lyrics to We Are Young (which plays on a continuous 24 hour loop in my mind), and the seldom used Pythagorean Theorem.
A couple nights ago, I dreamt that the roof of my house was collapsing. It was raining and the ceiling was saturated with water. Every time I looked up, I’d see the water spot spreading further and further across the room. I could tell the plaster was getting spongy. As my dream wore on, the ceilings in every room of the house started sagging, closing in on me. I knew it was only a matter of time until the entire structure collapsed.
I called my friend Jenny to get the name of the carpenter who fixed her roof, but she was too busy to talk to me. (I’m fairly certain she’s never had a carpenter fix her roof in real life, but it seemed plausible in my dream.) I called my friend Eric to see if he had any ideas on how to fix it, but he wasn’t around to help me. I finally gave up, gathered my kids, and left my house. As I drove away, it was pitch black and pouring rain outside. I watched in my rearview mirror as the second story crumbled down into the first.
I awoke with an impending sense of doom and helplessness.
Then last night, I dreamt that my kids were late for school, but I couldn’t get them there. I’m really not sure what my problem was and why I couldn’t get them to school, but I ended up asking an acquaintance from back home in Chicagoland to watch my kids while I went to get something. (I don’t know what the “something” was. I guess I was too lazy to come up with any specifics in last night’s dream.) I borrowed this friend’s shoes that were black and shiny and one size too small (Hmmm, on the topic of shoes I was oddly specific) and I went out on foot to find that elusive something I was searching for. I walked down the stairs and admired how this acquaintance had squeezed a bed into the small space in the hall at the top of the stairs for a guest room. As I left her house, I think I broke her door. I’m not sure. It might have already been like that, but the door wouldn’t latch shut. I did the best I could to close it and then left it sort of flapping in the breeze so I could find that something and get back to take my kids to school. (Yes, I’m aware this doesn’t make much sense. Yes, I’ve considered not drinking rum before bed. Leave me alone and let me finish my story.)
As I was walking around as fast as I could through strip malls, basketball courts and apartment buildings (I have no idea what the city planners in my dream were thinking), I ran into a guy who went to grade school with me. He was playing basketball along with a bunch of other people I remembered from a long time ago. He told me that I should meet up with them at the basketball courts later tonight so we could talk and catch up. I readily agreed and asked him for his number so I could text him when I got there. (There were dozens of courts and I didn’t want to wander around looking for him.)
He told me the first three digits of his phone number, but then gave me a math problem that, when I figured it out, would reveal the last digits of his telephone number. I looked at the problem for a while. It was 10 – 2 10. I stared at it. Ten, minus, two, ten. Then I looked at him. Then back at the problem. Then at him. (I distinctly remember this part because I was so dumbfounded by it in my dream.) I complained and told him to stop goofing off and just give me his stupid number. He laughed and insisted I’d have to figure out the problem. I finally gave up and told him I hated basketball anyway. Then I stomped off so I could get back to my kids.
Next thing I know, I’m walking around, trying to get to my friend’s house to get my kids. When I returned, she said that she’d already taken them to school. Then she got upset because I’d stretched out her shiny, black shoes. (Nice how my dreams have continuity like that, huh?)
Oddly enough, I woke up an hour late this morning and had to rush to get my kids to school.
Like I said before, I’m going with the stress theory. I say my vivid dreams (and teeth grinding) are my way of dealing with the stress that I shove to the back burner during the day. I guess it’s gotta come out somewhere and given the choice of me losing it during the day or having strange dreams at night, I’ll choose the strange dreams thankyouverymuch. Besides, they make decent blog material. So how do you deal with the things that stress you out?
If you liked this, here are some more favorites from Dawn.