A Toronto Transformation

What Dreams May Come

Dreams are funny things.

The first dream I remember having as a tiny girl was that I climbed a ladder to a star that was covered in every toy a tiny girl could wish for.

I swear I still remember this dream, although my mom did helpfully record what I told her about my nighttime adventure in my baby book, lest I forget.

My first nightmare was that I had accidentally turned my favourite cousin into a dog and couldn’t change her back. I was pretty inconsolable upon waking up from that one.

Last night I dreamed about walking into a parking lot full of rats, and having to hold myself up on a wall (in a physically impossible manner) to keep them from scurrying over my feet when some cats came and started an epic rat-cat battle.

While I often ponder the symbolism of my dreams, I think this one was pretty straightforward: I’m a little stressed these days and also, I saw some rats in a parking lot on my way home from work on Monday. Dream solved.

I’ve had seriously spooky dream occurrences, like having my grandfather, whom I don’t think I’d ever dreamed about before, show up in my dreams the night before he died. I actually get a bit nervous whenever a close friend or family member shows up in a dream now.

Oh, and of course, if I sleep during the day, or when I’m under too much stress, I get sleep paralysis and weird dream-like hallucinations that go along with it.

As well as fairly common stress dreams that pop up occasionally, (teeth falling out, going blind, being unable to move, or realizing I’ve forgotten to wear clothes to a public event), I go through phases of having recurring dreams or nightmares.

As a kid, I had one where a terrifying troll-like creature guarded the hallway between my family, who were all downstairs having a party, and tiny Sarah, upstairs, and I had to figure out some way to get past  it.

Before I was old enough to drive, I had a recurring nightmare where I was riding in the backseat of a car only to suddenly realize that no one was driving.

And, always, I’ve dreamed about tornadoes. Maybe it was because of the tornado drills we had to practise in elementary school, because I’ve never actually encountered a tornado, but I’ve had that dream so many times it feels like I’ve lived through one.

What’s interesting about these dreams, is that while they start out as nightmares, with the scary troll, the out of control car and the tornado, once I’ve had them a few times, some part of my brain recognizes that “Oh, we’ve been here before” and it starts to problem solve. To the point that now, when the dream begins, I’m only frightened for a moment before I hop into the driver’s seat and steer myself to safety or I lead everyone into the basement to weather the storm.

I don’t know how this happens, or how some part of my brain can be so alert and aware, while still not being aware or alert enough to just wake me up and remove myself from the perceived danger entirely.

Have any of you guys experienced this? Do you have recurring nightmares or dreams and do you put any stock in analyzing them for meaning or symbols?

9 Responses to What Dreams May Come

  • Emma says:

    I’ve had the teeth-falling-out dream more times than I can count. It’s awful. I always wake up and feel sooo thankful for my healthy teeth!!
    I’ve heard that having your teeth fall out in a dream can be caused by stress, but another interpretation I read was that it’s a fear of growing older. And if I think about the times in my life when I had the dream, they were all when I was having mini-quarter-life-crises. Totally makes sense.

    ALSO – sexy dreams anyone?! Aren’t they the best?!

    • metamorphocity says:

      I’ve also heard the teeth dreams can just mean growth and change. And I’ve definitely had those dreams under all of those circumstances, so I’m inclined to agree!

      And sexy dreams! Yes! So fun. Except of course, when you have them about inappropriate people and then wake up feeling weird and gross…not that that’s ever happened to me…

  • A year or two ago I had started a dream journal, because I always have vivid dreams, but tracking my dreams became too tiresome. My recurring can’t-find-a-clean-public-toilet dream tends to be because I actually need a toilet in real life. I don’t want to know what would happen if I found a clean one, haha.

    I have had what could be considered a spooky, but at the time was comforting, dream. My grandmother, who had passed away a few years earlier, came to visit for a wedding, and she hugged me goodbye- it felt so real. We hugged long and hard, knowing that it would be a few years before I would see her again. I also once dreamed about my big brother’s deceased close friend- she passed me by on a walkway and told me to tell my brother that she was alright.

    Dreams are such interesting things. I really enjoyed this post!

    • metamorphocity says:

      I tried the dream journal thing too, but just never kept up with it and gave up.

      haha. I love the recurring “can’t find a toilet” dream. I once had a dream I was standing in the middle of an empty room singing one long note in a particular pitch, then I woke up to realize the sound was actually a mosquito’s whine.

      Your spooky dreams do sound lovely and comforting!

  • Haha–the clean public toilet one! I’m always stuck in an abandoned elementary school and they’re all unclean, tiny, crowded, and have no curtains or doors. I’m six feet tall, so this is extra hilarious (upon waking). As a child I used to have dreams about tiger poachers, and halfway through I’d realize I was a baby tiger. And another one where my little brother was drowning in a brook and when I tried to scream, my voice only made a bubbling gurgling water sound. Scary! But now that I have some agency of my own, I can usually lucid-dream a solution, but wake up exhausted!!!

  • I had a recurring dream for a while that a red bull was trying to chase me down at my grandparents’ house, and I would have to climb a bunch of haystacks sitting in a trailer to get out of his reach, only to realize that there was still no escaping him because he just stood there and watched me. That’s always been one of my most frightening dreams, and the only one I can remember that would regularly recur, but I haven’t had the dreams since college, which was the only time I could remember having it. I’ve had dreams about my teeth a lot, though: falling out, separating, chipping, rotting. And in the dream, I always think that’s my reality, that my teeth really look like that, and it’s not until I wake up and feel my teeth and cheese grin into the mirror just to make sure that I realize my teeth are fine. I usually don’t remember my dreams, but I’ve noticed that when I do remember them they are becoming much more vivid. I think as far as sleeping goes, vivid dreams means you aren’t sleeping well. I want to say I read that somewhere or someone told me that once. However, it could mean that my imagination is becoming more intense and detailed, which I will take over good sleep any day. 🙂

  • MARTIN says:

    As a child I used to have a recurring nightmare that the Incredible Hulk (The Lou Ferrigno version) was chasing me through a train station. I’d be begging for a train to arrive in order to make my escape, but no train would ever come. I’d be trying to hide under benches and what not and Hulk would just rip them up and I’d be forced to run again.
    My Mum used to watch The Incredible Hulk TV show when I was a kid and it used to scare the crap out of me.

  • Manda says:

    I’ve never had a recurring dream! I guess that’s weird? Not even as a kid, though. I’d dream of really crazy things, but they’d always be original ones. Nowadays I tend to dream of realistic situations that leave me confused as to whether or not it actually happened when I wake up.

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