Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dream World: Chapter One - The Awakening

DREAM WORLD by Lulu FemmeFatale

(Combining Non-Fiction and Fiction to Explore the Boundaries of Reality)


I jolted awake in a cold sweat. It was the same dream I’ve been having all week, but it seems entirely too real to be just a dream. I brushed my hand against my cheek, half expecting to feel the cold, rich earth still pressed against my face. However, all I felt were the cool beads of perspiration, as though I really had been running. Gathering my better senses I tried to calm down, reassuring myself that it was merely my nerves and my over-active imagination.

This was not the kind of dream whose memory gently fades with the growing rays of sun, but rather the kind whose vividness continues to haunt me during my waking hours. Though I am certain it’s a place I’ve never actually been, I could see the majestic redwoods stretching up to the heavens as plainly as I could see my own hands. I could smell the unmistakably fresh forest air, and hear the comings and goings of its inhabitants. I could genuinely feel the uneven soil and leaves under my bare feet as I sprinted through the forest, racing the two gray wolves. I ran as fast as they, but they ran at my sides as if we ran together, and it was not the wolves whom I feared. Then what made me run so? I did not know exactly, just that I was being pursued and I needed to outrun them. I closed my eyes again and could feel the wind rushing against my face and my long hair flowing behind me like an angry black river. I did not dare turn to look behind me, but every nerve in my body told me to run faster, for my pursuers were close behind.

Night after night I’ve had this dream, and it always ends the same way. Sometimes it feels as though my wolf friends and I ran this way for hours, other times it felt as if it lasted for days. But it always ends the same way. When we reach the river we take a bend, and like an Olympian on a track I hurdle a giant fallen tree. I easily land on the other side and take three more steps before my foot gets caught in a gnarled root sticking up from the earth like a looped snare. Unable to free myself in time, my momentum brings me crashing to the ground, and my face smashes into the soft soil all
around me. Then I awake, with a jolt. It always happens like this; Run, trip, fall, and then wake with a lingering and overwhelming fear.

As if it was not enough for these thoughts to consume my mind in my resting hours, it was all I could think about as I worked through my daily mundane tasks at the office. I moved as in a waking dream; my thoughts requiring more attention than the tasks at hand. I’ve always prided myself on being a highly analytical and logical woman, as I’ve shown a high aptitude for math and science since I was a very young girl. I’ve excelled for most of my life in the 90th percentile of my testing groups, and have been the student of an excellent public school system, a loving and supportive family, and an array of wise elders. Maybe it can be attributed to the duality of my Gemini personality, but I’ve often felt this battle in my mind between the tangible and quantifiable world with the ‘spiritual’ realm that is so often misunderstood and dismissed. It drives my scientific side wild not to be able to fully understand these intangibles that I believe exist outside of our limited range of perception, but they are as real to me as the ground under my feet.

Dreams have always been a part of my life, though mostly my secret internal life that I dare not whisper about to outsiders. I’ve found to hold ‘acceptable’ conversations with many of my peers, it’s best to keep talk of dreams, soul, and energy to a minimum or risk a loss in credibility. So these thoughts remain trapped gyring in my mind. As a young girl I had fantastic adventures in my dreams, often playing the hero in my own sagas. As I grew into a young adolescent, these dreams came to a halt, and I only experienced the occasional realistic dream. Though they were realistic by the standards of a dream world, they proved fantastic in reality. I would remember these dreams with great specificity, sometimes even documenting them. Though they often seemed quite ordinary, in 7th grade I began to realize what I saw in my dreams would come to pass anywhere from a day to 2 years later, with every specific detail manifesting as it had in my mind. 

I realize upon reading this some may believe this to be more a work of fiction than fact, and you are entitled to your opinion. However, as these words are serving to clarify my muddled mind, I assure you I simply speak my truth with an utter transparency. Though I do not shout it from the rooftops, it is a truth I have shared with a few friends over the years, describing to them the eerie details that seemed to align. Entering High School, these dreams became more complex, and did not always have a pleasant ending. By recognizing situations that I had previously seen, I was able to alter my reaction to them, and they did not end as I had imagined them. Whether I had indeed altered their course, or I’m giving too much credit to my imagination, I cannot know for sure, but these instances resonated with me profoundly.

College carried me through many changes and phases in my life. Additionally, it brought me a new way to dream. This stage of dreaming was a bit more involved, and I believe it must begin with a bit more introduction to minimize risk of misinterpretation (although I’m certain this can’t be all together avoided!). I had a few long-term relationships over college, and dated a bit in between, and it gave me the opportunity to meet diverse and interesting people who helped me decide what I did and did not want for my future. My mother jokes that I always wanted to “save the whales”, and was convinced I dated people with problems because I wanted to ‘fix them’. That was never my intent, but just try to convince my mother of that! The truth is, I’ve been on a quest to live out what I have determined is my life’s purpose. I recognized from an early age that for me to be truly happy, I needed the freedom to make my own choices. In order to respectfully maintain that freedom, I must be be responsible for myself and my actions. Only then may I truly accept my benefits and consequences as my own with a sense of peace and understanding, knowing that they are the result of my own conscious will. That being said, I haven’t always made the best choices. In youth I was given to move on the height of my whims, but with age and experience I have learned to be more disciplined and to concentrate on the most substantial concerns. To make a short story long, the end of relationships served as significant markers in my life because they were always shortly followed with a time for reinventing myself. Now to explain my dreams. 

Since entering college, I began to have vivid dreams that were somewhat perplexing at the time, but they included people whose faces were blurred to me as we had not yet met. They would occur around the beginning of a relationship, and time and again I would wake with an odd feeling, and then work to dismiss the thought. I did not want to prematurely give up on trying in my relationship because of an abstract manifestation in my mind, so I pushed away those thoughts and focused on living each moment to the best of my ability. Then, with time things would end and I would move on with my life. I would be dumbstruck, going about my life, and recognize the location, activities, and people that I had dreamed about so long before. This would occur right before, or right after a new relationship. Then the cycle would continue. I would rarely dream of anything else, but these distantly vivid, perplexing dreams. Though I brushed them off, they sat in what I can only explain as my gut. They followed me all the way through college, through cycles of my spirit being broken and then fighting to find myself again with a better foundation and a truer happiness. The last dream I had I was proposed to in a beautiful red bricked yard. Soon after I began to see a truly remarkable young man, who proposed to me a few months later on the 4th of July in front a beautiful fountain in that same brick filled yard. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the one I want to love and fight with everyday for the rest of my life. He is the yin to my yang, my fiance. The best thing is, the dreams have stopped, and in his arms I have experienced the best most restful sleep I have ever experienced in my life. With so much chaos in every other aspect of my life, he is the anchor that at times I am quite sure maintains my sanity. Though I know I have the strength of will to make it on my own, I choose to create this life with him, the life we both have dreamed about. And could it be my dreams have been warnings, markers that I had to keep moving forward to finally find this kind of partner and best friend? You may dismiss it as folly, but I do not care if it has been a sign or a manifestation of my own subconscious. Whatever path it has taken to get me here was the right one, because this is a love, security, and peace that my soul has always longed for. 

Then why am I having this recurring dream? What does it mean? In endless circles my thoughts spin on this gyre. Why can’t I shake it, or is it that I don’t want to? Looking back it’s remarkable how much time I spend each day, bustling through my environment but trapped in my mind. I’ve never fancied the idea of keeping a diary, I would always read them later with embarrassment at the naivety of my thoughts just a short time ago. So round and round they spin, ideas building on each other, then mentally I break them down to understand the component parts. My younger sisters laugh at me, and tell others I’m like a sponge. I have an affinity for what others may deem as ‘useless information’, I don’t quite know how I remember it all, but all I can explain is that in my mind everything is connected to everything else. So as I travel down my stream of consciousness, my mind keeps returning to this recurring dream.  

Dreaming might run in my family, as I remember many interesting stories told to me by my mother and grandmother. Oh, they’d explain how if they could only capture their dreams before they fade, what a wonderful book of short stories it would be! I remember my mother told me of a bothersome recurring dream she had as a young girl. She and her family were forced to serve under this oppressive force she described as resembling the Wizard from Dorothy’s Oz. Again and again she would have this dream, until one time she threw a rock and broke this mirrored figure, ending the cycle of dreams. Maybe this is what I should try for my problem, could I break free of this pattern to control this dream? I had to try, it has been too many concurrent nights of lost sleep to this overwhelming fear.

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