Dreams – Psycho on the road to nowhere

When I was in high school, I dreamt a whole variety of vampire dreams. They came in all shapes and sizes (including one where I became a vampiric lily that slowly killed all the plants that grew near me).

In this dream, I was running from a psychotic woman and a vampire that travelled with her. I remember being deathly afraid of the woman and just wanting to escape.

Eventually, I was running, and sometimes gliding, down a highway. It was just after dusk, when it’s not yet dark enough not to be able to see. There was pale grass growing next to the road and, at the time, I remember not wanting to go off the road because I was afraid there might be snakes.

Eventually, I just became too tired to run anymore. I realised that there was just no way I’d ever be able to keep running forever. Giving in to the feeling of despair, I stopped and turned around, waiting for her to catch up to me. For a brief moment, I felt a little stronger. Maybe I would be able to survive the encounter.

As she came closer and I could make out her face in the near dark, I first noticed how ragged and disheveled she looked. Her hair was stringy and matted here and there. Her eyes had dark rings under them. Her clothes were stained and creased. And she had a look of maniacal glee on her face as she got closer.

For a moment, I was struck by the fact that the sallow-faced, tired-looking vampire just a little behind her looked unnerved by her presence more than he looked interested in me. But, then she was close enough and I could see that she was me. I hardly recognised myself, but there I was.

I had been running away from myself. I had been chasing myself. I woke up a moment later, feeling chilled to the bone.

Just a quick update

I just sent in my first submission for my self-help book. Hovering the cursor over the “Send” button was one of the scariest things I’ve done in the past few years. Hitting “Send” is the first step in the journey that really means I’m living my dream. There’s no turning back now. I’m actually trying. I’m not making excuses because I’m afraid anymore.

To everybody who ever told me (or anyone else) that following your dream is silly: I challenge you to do what makes you happy, to walk the path less travelled, to truly live!

Each and every one of us have the potential to do something that will be remembered, to do the thing that makes us truly happy, to succeed where others have failed. And I’ll never find true contentment until I try.

Dreams – Scenic views

I have a recurring dream (with some variations here and there) that I have been dreaming for almost 20 years. I am hiking in the mountains with either friends or family. The trail takes us along a narrow trail next to a steep drop to a river far down below (the river is always to my right). The mountainside looks like a National Geographic photo and the skies are clear. The path becomes more and more treacherous, but we keep going.

At one stage, the path is so narrow that I am forced to hug the cliff wall and edge ahead slowly and carefully. In some dreams I start falling, but since I know I can fly in dreams, I usually just slow my descent to a crawl and land safely below. If I fall, the dream diverts to other topics here. If I manage to keep on the trail, we keep hiking and eventually reach a steep climb that takes us higher up into the mountains.

We clamber over the black rock exposed here and, eventually, the trail leads to a massive cliff face. The river falls (always to my right) at least 300 metres to a deep pool. To get to the other side of the waterfall, there is a swing that is hooked over a protruding rock nearby. The edge is slippery here, but I can’t remember falling even once.

Despite having a crippling fear of heights, I get onto the swing and take the dizzying dive to the other side. If I land beyond the pool, I stand in hip-high grass and I look back to where the swing is, once again, hooked on the rock by the end of the trail. Other times I simply fall into the pool and swim to the edge.

In variations, I’m in a boat on the river. I don’t think I’ve ever dreamt as far as the waterfal in those dreams.

Dreams – Hell is in the mall

When I was somewhere between fifteen and seventeen, I had a lot of dreams about responsibility. This one was admittedly after playing Diablo I for probably every weekend for two months.

I’m walking around in Menlyn Park (before it was rebuilt) with my mother when I notice a strangely blank hallway. Its walls are grey and there are no shop windows. I walk around the corner to peer down the hall when I see a small girl sitting next to an unfinished section of the hallway. There is a construction sign to ward off curious shoppers and the hallway terminates in construction site with exposed bricks, wires and scaffolding.

I walk over to the girl to ask her where her parents are when I notice what she’s doing. She’s scratching occult runes into the powdery cement of the unpainted wall. My blood runs cold and I pick her up. After some frantic searching, I find her mother and feel relief flooding me.

Just wanting to check that all is well, I return to the spot where I found her. And there she is. As if I hadn’t taken her away just moments before. She scratches the last mark into the wall and I feel my stomach dropping away. She smiles a creepy little-girl smile at me and looks horrifically satisfied with what she has done.

In that moment I know that she has opened the gates of Hell and I am the only one who knows. With that comes a sudden all-encompassing fear of God. A phrase I had never quite understood before. But, in that moment, I know that God has put the blame squarely on my shoulders and it is I that will have to venture into the depths of Hell to close the gate. Flames lick up the uneven, cavern-like walls beyond the Gate. I feel very small and weak. But I know that I am far more afraid of the wrath of God than anything I will find down there. I venture in.

That is all I remember…except for vaguely Diablo-esque fighting as I attempt to somehow gain control of the dream and it becomes me clicking away on a mouse, closing the gates of Hell by removing my consciousness from my body and doing it through a computer screen. I don’t actually successfully close those gates before I wake up.

Dreams

Something I have learned to avoid talking about in mixed company – being defined as company that includes “normal people” and “people like me” – is my oneiric adventures. If you don’t recognise the term, you probably have boring dreams compared to those of us who sometimes wonder why we bother waking up to the dreadfully uneventful and colourless world of everyday life.

Ever since I was a small child, I dreamt vivid dreams that haunted me during the day. Some dreams were exciting and beautiful, some dreams were terrifying and hideous. But one thing that I knew from early on was that my dreams were definitely not ordinary.

I think sometimes that, despite the fact that I never touched a drug more hardcore than your common cigarette or hooka (no marijuana or alcohol in there either), I most definitely know what it feels like to be high. Not only do I have a mild to moderate level of synesthesia, my dreams often look like, and sometimes even crazier than, the movie representations of acid dreams.

In some of my following posts I will share some of the dreams that have stuck with me from as early as age six.

Then, on to a related topic: I have spoken to people who have tried for years to obtain the “lucid dream” state. As far as I understand from such discussions, it is when you realise within a dream that you are, in fact, dreaming. That was something I made a project of when I was 10. After about one week, I could reliably realise I was dreaming every night. Of course, it helped a lot that I very often dreamt that I could fly. Sort of a dead give away, if you ask me.

Also, knowing that you’re dreaming makes it a lot easier to wake yourself from a nightmare – something I have done nights beyond counting. The trouble is when you fall asleep again…it is ridiculously difficult to not end up dreaming the same terrifying dream or just continue where you left off – this is something I really struggle with.

Something else that people often aspire to during this kind of awareness in a dream is to control the dream. To paraphrase what I just found on the topic of “controlling” your dream, it is when you will yourself to dream something specific. The best I’ve managed with this is to fall asleep dreaming something almost like what I wanted to dream and then having it degenerate into the crazy loops and plot holes that my dreams usually consist of. Which means, I dream the “target dream” for maybe 5% of what I can remember dreaming that night.

Otherwise, the moment I gain “control” of my dream, the other “characters” tend to put no effort into their performance. It makes for rather unsatisfactory, hollow oneiric experiences that have taught me to avoid taking “control” at all costs… The costs often pertaining to nightmares and waking up in a cold sweat.

You want an example of a dream? Well, here is about (what feels like) four hours in dream-time of a dream I had three nights ago:

I dreamt that zombies were once again making an appearance. In this dream they are these blue-skinned, black-clawed creatures (in another dream, they looked a little more like weresquids). The “disease” is spread through the usual savage biting and clawing that you see in movies, except that the zombies in my dreams are always exceptionally fast and well coordinated.

I run around in the streets, trying to get others to avoid contact with these surprisingly beautiful (in a scary way) undead. After what feels like hours, I see people becoming zombies (also a lot faster than you ever see in movies), people I had tried to warn earlier. Within five minutes, I am surrounded and they get me. You’d think the dream would end there, right?

Once I become a zombie, I feel socially obligated to savagely attack uninfected individuals and feel a deep-seated need to be better at it than any of the other zombies.

When I finally woke up, it took about three hours to shake the sheer pleasure of ripping through the flesh of my victims…with my teeth…to get over the sensation of chewing raw meat and letting the blood run out the corners of my mouth and over my skin.

 

Now, tell me again how your dream about being naked in a classroom or board meeting is weird. I dare you.