A real-life update: I heard back from my university of choice, and as of October I’ll be studying for an MSc in Psychology! I’m looking forward to being back on campus after many a year’s absence, and joining all the societies I didn’t have the confidence or social wherewithal to join as an undergraduate, like the LGBTQ, the Fetish Society, Bhangra Collective, the Pokemon Society, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Kate Moss’s self-satisfied face on the cover of a magazine which broadcasted, in greedy yellow letters, that at her heaviest-ever eight stone, she’d finally found happiness with her shape.
The cover image didn’t actually feature her body, only a close up of her face with chin tilted up so you were looking almost into her nostrils and her half-closed eyes, her hands cupped loosely around her chin, with fingertips plunged into the ends of her hair which looked sallow and lank.
The moral of the story: it does’t matter what size you are, if photographers will take such unflattering photos of you, and celebrity magazines will nonetheless hail you as one of the greatest beauties available for others to aspire to.
The literal inspiration for the dream is that I’m struggling to accept that my weight has settled at about half a stone heavier than it was when I most enjoyed my appearance.
But I think it’s saying something else about the examples which I feel I am expected (by others / society / a dominant view of some kind) to admire. Evidentally, I feel highly scathing of something or someone I’m supposed to look up to. I believe that the system for assessing merit is skewed, so that although beauty exists, it isn’t where we’re encouraged to see it.
I’m not entirely sure where in my life this particularly applies right now… so how about you? Where in your life do you see praise heaped upon the distinctly mediocre? Or in what situations do you find yourself being unfavourably compared to others who you wouldn’t want to be like anyway?
I’m looking at a note-to-self that I wrote in the middle of the night:
It says Bunnymen (presumably Echo and the – ), bonfires, and the name of my godmother who died in 2005.
I don’t know.
I do remember unlocking the door to what was my house in the dream (in reality, the front door of a friend-of-a-friend’s house, which I’ve been past but never into), and entering the kitchen (in reality, the kitchen I knew until I was seven). My godmother, J, came to see me there. She knew I was tired from working long days in my administration job, and from having the baby to raise on my own.
Later, a bitter row with my Mum (whose best friend was J), at the dinner table. My Dad and his brother-in-law were there too. Mum made digs about my relationship with my ex (? By which I mean my real life ex, presumably the dream-baby’s father), and I retaliated by saying that her comments were equally true of her relationship with my father. Ouch.
Perhaps the note about bonfires related to flame-wars…?
I’d booked to see a play – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – at the theatre I used to work at. But whereas the real venue is in a modern building, this one was a tall Victorian edifice with a steep rake on each of the four tiers.
I’d been keen enough that I came to see the show on my own – maybe it was last minute, maybe no-one else had been available – and I expected to feel fairly at home anyway since I knew the theatre and some of the staff there. But I hadn’t been sent a ticket, only a reference number to my phone, and when I got to the entrance to the upper gallery, I couldn’t find any trace of email or text from the theatre. I kept telling the usher – a young, cynical guy with a curling lip – that I’d seen it on my phone immediately before I left the house, that I had paid, that I used to work here. My anger was rising (an anger I recognise well from real life, any time I feel I’m being patronised, disrespected, talked down to or blocked by bureaucracy). A group of school children in their early teens and private school uniforms – green and black kilts on the girls, blazers – were lined up at the other entrance just feet away from me, and I felt them and their teachers waiting to judge me if I showed my anger or tried to demand on being let in.
The literal background for this one was that I had tried to book tickets to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the Old Vic in London, with K, to find that they were almost sold out and the few remaining would cost, if not your firstborn, then at least some small person to whom you were vaguely attached. But I wasn’t angered by not being able to get oltickets. Fair enough, I should have got onto it as soon as I heard the show was premiering. Somewhere else in my life – or in a lot of aspects of life – there is a recurrent, simmering anger that things are being made difficult for me somehow.
I’ve been to this dream-theatre before, I think, and looked from the entrance to the grand circle or gallery, down towards the stage. But the floor has been absent, there was only water or a sheer drop beneath me. I think I’ve been due either to perform there or to work as an usher, and haven’t been able to get from one part of the theatre to another.
In this dream, after being turned away by the first usher I spoke to, I saw one of the duty managers I used to know, who said she might be able to sneak me in if I waited til the show had just started. But I found myself walking through dark corridors not being able to find my way back to the auditorium. As I recall that, I’m reminded of a dream I had just under a year ago, when I was performing in a far larger show than I’ve done in real life…but more about that in another blog.
Two boys of about eighteen or nineteen, who shared a bedroom as students. One saw his various sexual conquests as a sign of his machismo and boldness. The other considered lust to be shameful and weak, and regularly told his room-mate that his behaviour was sinful. In reality, their sex lives differed very little, and each one was writing a confessional memoir. Both books featured the same sex object, a girl who both young men were regularly sleeping with, and whose name had one letter different from mine.
A would-be erotic dream where I’m in bed, possibly in a hotel, with an unidentified casual who (according to the dream) I’ve seen a few times before. But he’s unattractively sweaty and I’m considering telling him I don’t want to meet again after today. He climaxes (I think?) and sort of half-heartedly suggests starting again after he’s had a rest, but he sounds grumpy at the idea of having to attend to my pleasure, and I’m not sure I can stomach it anyway.
Staying the night a hotel with my mum and Sibling. We met in the restaurant for breakfast, but since I don’t do well at mornings, the other two were there before me. I arrived just after 10am to find that the restaurant, which was Portugese-influenced, had stopped serving its breakfast menu. Apparently, the Portugese don’t really have specially designated breakfast foods, so fry-ups and cereal were only served as a concession to unadvanturous guests before 10am. After that, you picked from the standard restaurant menu that was available all day. I had some kind of lightly spiced pork and rice concoction, which was delicious but not the eggs royale I’d had in mind. Next to our table, another family (middle-aged parents, teenage or young adult children) were kicking up a stink about the restaurants total disregard to its customers’ needs. Coming over here, taking away our food-based traditions…
Banksy, while at Bristol University. His tutors included Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore (still played by Richard Harris) and Hagrid. Dumbledore gave him a kind of glowing, opalescent statuette which he was not to tell anyone about, “especially Minerva XX XX McGonagall” (the dream script gave her two extra middle names).
In his black hoodie and combat trousers, Banksy would climb up the outside of buildings at night. He seemed to be fixing things – unsafe, crumbling or leaking structures – without wanting the work to be attributed to him. Maybe he just thought he’d get round to the jobs quicker than the university or city authorities would.
I often have semi-lucid dreams in which I seem to be reading a story that I’ve written; seeing a film based on my screenplay; or watching a story unfold and wondering how I’ll go about turning it into a novel. In this case, Banksy was narrating the story, and I could hear his voice, deep and distorted as it is in Exit Through the Gift Shop. As he told me his memories, I was simultaneously / alternately watching them as an outsider, and having a discussion with him about how, together, we would write the book.
Banksy told me about a long-standing Bristolian legend, that somewhere in the city is hidden an ancient relic that would give the finder magic powers. Many speculate but few know what the relic looks like or how to recognise it.
Did Banksy ever see the relic – or any evidence that it existed – during his nighttime climbs? “Yeah, I found it alright,” he said. “I put it back.”
So, this dream features a narrative device that my subconscious often uses – watching a scene unfold only to discover that I’m writing it – and the fascination / frustration of waiting to see what my imagination will give me next, while still feeling I have limited or no control over the process. (“Murder, she watched” was another example of this.)
But since famous people, characters and locations are involved here, I’d love to know your thoughts too. What associations do any of these hold for you?
- Graffiti and / or street art
- Bristol University in particular
- Universities in general
- The Harry Potter books and / or films in general
- Dumbledore, Hagrid or McGonegall in particular
And how about these motifs?
- A gift of something possibly magical, but secret
- Secret names or ones that very few people know someone by
- Old buildings in need of repair
- A quest to find a legendary, missing relic
- The juxtaposition of ancient and modern (or postmodern), establishment and subversiveness, global fame and local knowledge, anonymity and instant recognisability
…Or any other themes, motifs or metaphors that jump out at you?
Please feel free to comment below or send me a message; let me know what this dream content might mean for you – and of course if you’ve had any similar dreams of your own.
‘Til next time…!
At a wedding reception with a particularly fine standard of catering. I mean, everything we ate was the bomb. The waiters just kept bringing out trays of food, multiple options for each course, for you to have as much of whatever you wanted. By dessert, most of the other guests were full to the point of shirts bursting open, but I’d paced myself. I knew there were going to be five, maybe six different desserts all brought out one after another and who knew which would be the best without being prepared to try them all?
I was still labouring contentedly, with my defeated fellow-diners splayed out on their chairs like exploded slugs, when the waiters brought out the sixth dessert. There were long white trays holding an individual glass, like a large shot glass, for each guest. What I tasted a teaspoonful of can’t be described in terms of mere banoffee cheescake.
Now, I happened to know that this particular dessert was somehow associated with Elvis Presley, and that although I’d never seen this myself, some restaurants / hotels that served it would use chocolate sauce to drizzle a copy of the King’s signature on the serving tray. I asked our waiter if I could have Elvis’ autograph in chocolate sauce, but the waiter’s first language was from a different European country, and he didn’t understand my request. I said it was cool; if he could just leave the full tray on the empty table next to ours, I’d get round to my share and probably then some, after I’d finished what was already on my plate. But such was the other guests’ opposition towards eating any more, almost no sooner had the waiters and waitresses brought out these desserts than they were coming back to take them away. I shooed two black-and-white clad members of staff away, but when the third came round – and my mouth was still full – I found I didn’t have the energy to explain again that I was getting round to it…
When I woke up I had Black and Gold by Sam Sparro stuck in my head, a song I haven’t (knowingly) heard in years but which told me that a YouTube video I’d recently watched was probably the trigger for the dream. I love listening to ASMR videos because they help me sleep, which is of course essential for my research. This was the first video I’d seen by cutebunny992, and in it she described her recent “dream” wedding. Marianne’s repetition of the word dream (at 0:48 and 2:33) acted as a direct suggestion for my literal dream. Her chosen colour scheme – white, gold and black – was reflected in my subconscious choice of music.
Writing a novel; I can’t remember what it was about, but I sure remember the self-doubt, wondering if what I was putting out there was at all interesting or just self-indulgent.
Carelessly splashed some water on the bathroom floor (while brushing my teeth?) and one of my housemates pointedly remarked – in front of the whole household – on how he’d had to dry it up.
A different male friend (not the one in previous fragments) was hoping for a relationship with me. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, wondering with guilt if I’d led him on.
In reality, I was staying at Sibling and C’s house. In dream, we were all staying at C’s mother M’s house (this being the first time I’d met M; in reality, I’ve never met her). Based on strange goings on, Sibling, C and I reached the conclusion that M had murdered someone. Not for the first time, said Sibling and C. We tried to excuse ourselves by going for a curry, to discuss how to turn M in or at least avoid being murdered ourselves. But the curry house was full of people we knew, and because we didn’t know how to explain wanting to sit separately from them, we ended up at a table with three or four others. As we were eating, a helicopter descended and M arrived with an entourage of security staff. Back in the downstairs hallway, we got into a brawl and she threatened me with some kind of weapon (not a gun… a knife? a club?).
… possibly woken up by one of the cats, in reality, jumping on the bed. When I told Sibling about the dream over breakfast, he said that nothing of the sort would ever happen; apparently M loves curry so we’d never have made it to the nearest balti house without her.
A middle-aged woman wanted me to be her dominatrix, and her husband was prepared to pay for the service. For whatever reason, I had recently started advertising this as a sideline-business, so I accepted the task in principle. Trouble is I really have no idea how to dominate someone.
Clear metaphor I reckon, for the imposter syndrome that all of us – all of us – have had, right?
In my case, this dream was probably prompted by some meetings I’d recently had with a potential new business partner. Best not elaborated on; but in my head I nicknamed my would-be colleague “Mr Sexy,” due to his frequent and inopportune use of that adjective.
I emailed a copy of my personal statement for university to my friend S (a careers advisor, who herself has done plenty of post-graduate study). I dreamt that her appraisal of it, whilst polite, basically laid waste to what I’d written. Fortunately when we met in real life, this wasn’t the case.