Hanging…

Lying in bed, I didn’t want to get up and face the news that the Conservatives had won a landslide.  I didn’t want to leave the house, or even go from room to room, with the heavy feeling of disappointment and, on top of that, the blocked feeling in my sinuses.  I didn’t want to be around housemates and friends who would all be likewise glum.  I could hear the steady fall of rain against my windows.

I woke up a bit.  Today was Thursday not Friday – the country hadn’t voted yet.

The rain was real, as was the feeling of a cold coming on, and the feeling of dread.  I dreamt I was door-knocking in the drizzle.  I dreamt I didn’t want to go door-knocking.  I dreamt I was calling the local campaign manager to say I was ill and so sorry I couldn’t make it.  Maybe I even dreamt that I didn’t vote, because the polling station was half a mile away in the rain, and my constituency is a safe Labour seat, so my vote isn’t needed, and the Tories are going to win anyway, so my vote doesn’t matter.

labour rose

I did go door-knocking, and the sun was out.  My group (mostly university students, plus a few older folks) went round the suburb where I used to live with J.  Down one of the long streets, I saw more gardens with rose bushes than I’ve ever noticed in such a small area before.  One old, Irish gentleman with almost-blind eyes showed me the tiny picture of Mary hanging near his door, and crossed himself as he said he hoped we won.  To my surprise, I heard myself say “god bless” as well as goodbye, and by the look on his face he was surprised too, as he wished me the same in return.

 

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too late, too early

Late for my call to go on stage at a performance with my Bollywood dance group.  I was supposed to be the first to walk out, during the blackout betwen numbers, and the other four or five dancers would file on after me.

We’d been called to the wings much too early, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes before we needed to be, and one or two of our team hadn’t arrived yet.  Realising we’d still be ages, I went wandering to find a vending machine or something.

My vantage point as I watched the dream was now in the wings with the other dancers, including the director of our company (who in reality, doesn’t normally perform with us).  The other one or two dancers had turned up, and finally the lights had gone down for us, while dream-Sotto was nowhere to be seen, and, angrily, the others went on without her.

This dream was a conflation of two recent, real performances we did.  For Holi, we premiered a piece we’d (barely) finished learning choreography for two days earlier. One dancer had come down with pneumonia at the last minute.  Our teacher / choreographer performed with us, which she doesn’t normally, and the overall director of the company was in the audience. Last Diwali, I made a complete dog’s beard of a routine we’d done several times before.  I’d been excited to see an old acquaintance – the bhangra teacher who first tuned me in to Indian dance – and I was chatting to him through the open door of his dressing room while we waited in the wings.  Once on stage, we stood in the dark for ages before the technician realised we were ready and turned our lights / music on, and by then I was a mess of nerves and flusterness.

bollywood feet crop 2

If I look beyond the obvious, dance-related meaning, the dream indicates me being trusted to lead an effort or project of some kind – with others relying on me, and / or being observed by a superior – but getting distracted and failing when I didn’t need to (or failing simply by not turning up for duty).

As I wrote the last paragraph, it resonated with an academic project I’m doing with my Dad, who works as a senior lecturer at a university near where I grew up.  I’m in charge of interviewing people for our research, but it’s stalled recently as I’ve got preoccupied with applying to uni and writing this blog. As in dance, so in any day jobs I’ve had, so in academia, I worry not only about being good enough but about letting myself down by sheer absentmindedness or inability to stay focused on any one thing.

 

beds, boots and bad debts

Three separate but closely-blended university-related dreams in one night:

1. Arriving at the student flat that had been provided for me. It was lovely, big and light, at one corner of the third or fourth floor overlooking the big city which as night came on became lit up with neon and car headlights.

The flat seemed to only have single beds, but four of them.  My mum had driven me to the city, and stayed overnight.  She was comandeering the music we played in the flat, which I only grudgingly accepted because she was the guest.  I felt I couldn’t start making the place my own til I’d heard some of my choice of tunes there.  Mum chose the bed by one window, so I went for the furthest away.  I was looking to see if any of them were doubles; one of them looked like it might be.  I would investigate further the next day.

The bathroom walls were made of one-way glass, so when I sat on the toilet it looked as though I was right in the middle of the apartment with nothing between me and my mum, who was sitting on the end of her bed.  I was astonished when she assured me that she really couldn’t see through the wall – and she was equally astonished that I could.

2. Unpacking my shoes onto a low shelf in the apartment, I saw to my surprise that I had a dark red pair of suede boots, some knee-high disco platforms in glittery red, and some black patent Dr Martens.  I hoped my mum, nearby, wouldn’t pay attention to what I was doing and criticise my shoe-spending.  My pink DMs (which I do have in real life) were now made of suede rather than patent leather, and the disco boots had got wet, bleeding some of their colour into one pink boot, staining it a different colour to its partner.  I tried to dry them off, hoping the red colour would fade, which it did slightly.  But I couldn’t get rid of the water; droplets kept appearing around the disco shoe.  I couldn’t take the boot into the bathroom to sort it out properly because then my mum would see and be angry that I’d thrown money away by spoiling the shoes that I shouldn’t have bought in the first place.

3. Despite having not given out my address, I had a stack of post at the new place (which now looked very different, dark and narrow).  There was an A4 envelope with my dad’s handwriting on, saying “open 31.12.2003” (my 21st birthday) and with a post-mark dated to 2007.  I wondered why my dad had sent me a birthday present separately from my mum, apparently in secret, apparently long before the date, and why it had taken so many years to arrive. And now, turned up at this address.

When I opened it though, it wasn’t from my dad at all.  The letter demanded repayment of my undergraduate loan, claiming I owed over £10k (significantly more than I actually borrowed, even with interest). The company had tracked me to this address, forging my dad’s handwriting and giving the date of my 21st to trick me into opening the letter.  I spoke to him on the phone and we agreed it was a scam which I didn’t need to respond to. All other questions remained unanswered.

First day at university

Induction day for my MSc course, although the building it was in was a cross between the sixth form block at my school, and an NHS outpatients’ centre I once worked at as a secretary.  My Dad drove me there although it was only a few miles down the road. It was in an uninspiring suburb of the city, surrounded by a large car park.  The main road there was congested.  I was the last to arrive and the other students were already settled at long trestle tables and were eating from a buffet.

Surrounded by 18-20 year olds who first assumed I was a similar age and reacted with unflattering surprise to finding out how old I actually am, I felt embarassed that my career isn’t further along. I felt they were looking at me thinking they would be mortified to be in my position at my age.

We were directed to play ice-breaking / team-building games outdoors on the back lawn.  It was a sunny day, and I loitered by the outer edges, feeling out-of-place and looked down upon.  I felt I may have made the wrong decision in coming back to university, not only because I was out-youthed, but that the course was too basic and not covering my real interests.  I couldn’t show those around me my strengths, and the experiences I had – which my coursemates didn’t – were not recognised.

wtf, subconscious?

Well, this one doesn’t need much interpretation.  The insecurities that crop up here are real and self-explanatory, albeit not as prominent in my conscious mind as in this dream.

My dad would drive me to university if I had to move away for it – although in the dream, the campus was only a short bus ride away, and in reality, though it will involve a bit of a commute, I’ve no intentions of moving out of my current house. I see the being-driven as a metaphor for the help that my dad – a lecturer at another university – is helping me in getting back to academia.

The symbol of being on a busy, congested or slow journey is a common one in people’s dreams. Easy enough to see the analogy. In this case, I also had a sense of guilt that my dad was putting himself out, when I could have made my own way to campus and in fact probably would have got there more easily.

It’s only as I’m writing these dreams up that I’m seeing the links that my subconscious mind makes between different times of my life, and how they affect me now. The locations – sixth form, and my former workplace – tell me that I’m still feeling sore about being underestimated, undermined or unrecognised in those places.

As for the buffet, we could explore the symbolic meaning of food – nourishment and all that – but I dunno, I’m happy enough to say that I just fricking love food.

 

 

hands to hold

I’d organised group tickets to see a dance performance, at a theatre I used to work in.  This show was the latest full-length piece by a small contemporary dance company who I’d seen a few times over the years, and I told a bunch of my friends they needed to see it.

Sibling and I rocked up to the theatre, which had been refurbished and parts of it rebuilt since I was last there.  There was now a long, straight corridor with the bar area to our right as we went in, and to the left, the smallest of their auditoria, where the dance company would perform. No-one else from our group was there yet; I said I’d skip to the bathroom and Sibling offered to get the drinks in while I was there. When I asked if a glass of prosecco could possibly be obtained (I don’t know why since there are better drinks than prosecco) he pointed out it was two-for-one so he may as well get me a flute for each hand.

The corridor leading to the ladies’ toilets seemed to keep extending and gaining extra turns and sub-areas leading off it.  I wasn’t worried about making it, but about getting back in time; having arrived well before my friends, I knew that by now they would be here and wondering where I was, and Sibling would be left to fend for himself with, presumably, four drinks but no company to share them.

I was getting increasingly fretful as I tried to find my way back to the auditorium; the tickets for my entire group were in my pocket so if the theatre wasn’t admitting latecomers, Sibling and all my friends would miss out too.  I felt anger rising to near-hysteria; why was the theatre layout so irrational, why were they hindering me?

At last a friendly, young woman ushered me in; the seating area was kind of sunken into the floor.  L and A, friends of about ten years, waved to get my attention. Sibling and the others were there.  I sat inbetween my ex and my recent-current, and almost immediately I wanted to hold hands with each of them on either side; I felt I couldn’t take either one’s hand without the other feeling left out.

wtf, subconscious?

It’s only when writing this dream up (as has often happened since I started wtfsubconscious) that I spot a connection between the two glasses of prosecco and the two lovers (ex and current).  The dominant emotions in the dream were anxiety and frustration, and that extends to the two-of-each situation.  Sibling buys me two drinks, but then we’re separated so I can’t actually have them.  Two men have (or have had) romantic feelings for me, but I’m too anxious about the potential consequences to relax with this.  In waking life, I know that I do have a fear that “you can’t have everything,” or that seeking “too much of a good thing” will end badly for me.  At times, that fear has been pretty paralysing.  At present, I’ve been trying to ignore it but this dream seems to let me know the anxiety is still there.

How about you, readers?  Have you had similar dreams to this one, and what did you make of them?