I’ve been having strange dreams lately…
The other day I awoke to sunlight streaming through my window. I sat up slowly and stretched out, thinking to myself I think I just had an intense dream, but I can’t remember what it was about. I struggled to remember for a few minutes and then suddenly it all came flooding into my mind at once, overwhelming all my senses and causing me to yell out, “OH MY GOD!”
This is what I remembered:
I was at my house with my roommate Shannon and a bunch of her girlfriends, hanging out and having some drinks. I was sitting outside having a smoke when this guy climbed up onto my back deck and emerged from the thick shrubbery. He introduced himself casually and said he lived in the neighbourhood and could hear us partying so he thought he would come by and check it out. At the time it didn’t occur to me to think it odd that he just climbed onto our deck as I live in a friendly neighbourhood where everyone knows everyone, no one locks their doors and people just enter each others homes uninvited and without knocking. This mysterious man had no distinguishable features, no name, he was a faceless figure, and was more so a presence than a person. As I began talking to him, I realized that he was a person of interest in the disappearance of an Aboriginal woman in the community as he was seen with her before she went missing. Although there was no evidence to tie him to any crime, many people in town believed that he had murdered her. I felt very uneasy around him as he continued to say some very strange and disturbing things to me (the whole interaction was very reminiscent of the time I met “Alex” in my post Negative Nancy.) My roommate stuck her head out the deck door to tell me that she and her friends were headed out and they would see me later, completely unaware of the fact that my companion was a possible murder suspect. Horrified at the idea of this man knowing that I was going to be home alone, I told him: “I think I’m going to go join the girls. Have a good night.” He remained seated and made no effort to leave so I closed and locked every single sliding glass door and drew all the curtains tightly shut. I turned off every light in the house to create the appearance that I had left and then locked myself in my bedroom, too scared to actually leave the now empty house in fear that he might attack me. The remainder of my dream is kind of a blur, but basically it was a bunch of scenarios in which I would go back in forth between believing he was guilty of heinous crimes and believing he was an innocent (albeit really strange and socially awkward) dude. At one point in my dream I was with both of my managers and begging them to let me stay over at their house (they’re roommates in real life) so that I could avoid this person who seemed to be following me everywhere I went. I was actually dating my one manager and I can distinctly remember this overwhelming feeling of vulnerability that lessened slightly when I was in his arms. The dream ended with me walking past a hotel and looking up to one of the very top floors and there was this man just staring down at me, completely unmoving and I screamed at the top of my lungs and woke up.
When the dream came back to me, I sat in bed recalling all the details in absolute horror. Why did I dream about being stalked by a scary guy? What could it mean? Was it some sort of warning? I thought about the night with “Alex” and shuddered. The whole dating my boss thing, what did that mean? Was I secretly in love with him or something? I’ve always felt he harboured a little crush on me, was my subconscious telling me to try viewing him in another light? I felt overwhelmed and sauntered upstairs in the hopes that someone else was home that I might confide in. I made coffee in an effort to calm my nerves and sat sipping it while still reflecting on my nightmare. Shannon came upstairs at one point and I began to relay my dream to her, still at an utter loss on what it might mean.
I continued to think about it all day and all night. When I got home from work, I smoked a bowl and contemplated it some more. I thought about what Martha Beck says about dreams in her book Steering by Starlight (I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book changed my life so I refer back to her advice on a daily basis.) Beck says that in order to understand your dreams you must see the dream through the viewpoint of the symbols. It seems silly, but it actually involves narrating the dream as the symbol. So in my case I said: “I’m scary and ominous, I look over your every move and cause you anxiety and fear to the point of paralysis.” But as I continued this exercise I was still at a loss on what this man represented. I climbed into bed and began to forget about it as I started to drift off. As I was on the verge of sleep, the answer came into my head. It was so loud and clear it was like an explosion and it was one word: Doubt.
Doubt. It seemed so obvious and fitting. Doubt is always in the back of my mind; doubt is what keeps me from making a decision; doubt is what makes me fearful; and doubt is what pushes me into relationships I don’t really want just so I can grasp onto some sort of buoy in the rough seas of life. The fact that both my managers were in my dream says a lot as I feel doubtful in my current positions and doubtful of both of them as leaders. I doubted I could ever muster up the courage and strength to travel and follow my dreams and I doubted I would ever make it overseas to teach English. In fact, as I write this, it still seems doubtful that I’ll ever do any of the things I’ve set out to do. It’s that doubt that stalks me and makes me paralyzed in fear. And the whole overarching theme of: Is this man guilty or is he innocent? It relates back to: Can I do it or will I fail?
Such a profound and life changing moment in my life. What started off as a frightening dream has become fodder for some serious self-reflection. I guess I really need to work on having more confidence…