At least one thing that never ends well

So actually, I had a sort of lovey-dovey dream about K last night, which, if these theories are to be believed, may not bode well for the romance.

In a definite ill-omen towards a different sort of relationship, I also dreamt sending a shirty email to a potential client who wanted to haggle over price.

(In reality, I sent a polite email that nonetheless conveyed the same message).

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Fragments

Short fragments of dreams I can’t properly remember:

A platonic male friend saying quite matter-of-factly that he was in love with me. Dream-me found this delightful.

A really unpleasant dream involving my Dad; I’d rather not elaborate. It’s not that my Dad’s actually unpleasant.

Being given a framed photo showing a group of people on a night out, including both my ex long-term partner and someone I recently started seeing. (A similar scenario cropped up in hands to hold.)

Getting caught short in need of a toilet. I was a guest at someone else’s house, but I think I managed to cover up the worst of my embarrasment.

Dream a little dream of me? I’d rather you didn’t.

Happy valentine’s day, dream-lovers!

So, pop-culture would have us believe that to dream of one’s lover is the surest sign of true amour.  So obsessively should the loved one occupy our thoughts, that even sleep shouldn’t interrupt our devotion, right?

Well, maybe not.  About a hundred years ago, some dream researchers were pointing out that the more mental energy we devote to something – or someone – during our waking hours, the less likely our dreams are to reflect it.

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Yves Delage (1854-1920) was a French zoologist who turned to the study of dreams after experiencing a bereavement. He was confused to find that, even at the height of his grief, he didn’t dream of the person he’d lost, and set out to discover whether this was typical.  Sure enough, in a study of newly-weds, he found that, “if they are very much in love, they have almost never dreamed of one another before the marriage or during the honeymoon; and if they have dreamed of love, it was to be unfaithful with someone unimportant or distasteful.”

Wow. Mama Cass didn’t know what she was wishing for when she implored her beau, “in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me.”

I’d slightly moderate what Delage suggested: I have had romantic or erotic dreams about people I’m attracted to, but only if they were secret, guilty or unrealistic crushes on people who there was no likelihood of me actually getting together with.  In the context of a happy, committed relationship, I don’t recall having ever dreamt about a partner.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), quoting Delage in his own book, The Interpretation of Dreams, put his own slant on this phenomonom by saying that dream material mainly consists of things we are not conscious of, and that whatever is least conscious makes the strongest impression in the subconscious.  Therefore: “we either do not dream at all of what occupies us intently during the day, or we begin to dream of it only after it is overshadowed by the other interests of the day.”

A friend of mine noticed something similar in her first few years of motherhood.  She felt almost every joule of mental energy was being transmitted into her son; and yet she didn’t recall ever dreaming about him.  Her interpretation was that by nightfall she simply had no more of that energy left, and had to psychically tune out for a few hours before she could give her attention again.

But what are your experiences?  Sling me a comment either way: do you dream of the same things that have occupied your wakeful mind, or do your daytime fixations vanish as soon as the light goes out? Do your dreams seem to protect you from material that is currently too raw or overwhelming – or do they rub your nose in it even more? Can you comfortably admit to your dream lusts, or have you, like Titania, ever thought yourself “enamour’d of an ass”? *

I’ll leave you with that thought, and another quote from the great romantic, Freud. “The virtuous man contents himself with dreaming that which the wicked man actually does in real life.” (The Interpretation of Dreams, 1899)

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* William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Nights’ Dream

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?