I’ve always loved dreaming. Sleep is one of my favorite things to do, in part because I’m not completely broken and in part because I get to dream. As a kid, I learned that some people believed dreams had meaning, that some truth about our lives or our worlds or our selves could be gleaned from our dreams.
After hearing that, every one of my childhood dreams had to mean something. Cartoons came to life and distracted me from my homework and I failed a test. Clearly, this meant that cartoons were real–something I wanted more than anything–and they could jump out of the tv if they really needed to. Someone broke into my room and stole all my toys. Obviously my brain crying out that we didn’t have enough things to play with. And then I’d just dream a lot about my mouth slowly closing tighter and tighter until my teeth shattered. The meaning there eluded me.
Now I am an adult, not a very good one, but nobody can deny my adultness, and with that comes a certain sense that dreams both have meaning and are completely random. Like trying to interpret stories you write for yourself, maybe dreams pull from important parts of your life and run wild with them. Maybe interpreting dreams isn’t as much trying to figure out what perfectly true and factual thing they’re about–cartoons jumping out of a tv is still something I want desperately–and more about interpreting what the dream can mean in the context of the time I had it. Maybe that time I dreamt I died horribly a thousand times is indicative of me being a little nervous about how sick I was.
So, that being said, what does it mean that last night I dreamed that the world ended because of me, that the apocalypse came and the humanity and vitality of the world was utterly decimated by some force much stronger than me. Under black and gray skies, I and a few people close to me scavenged for food from empty homes and stuffed them in overfull backpacks. We didn’t talk, but they kept patting my shoulder or hugging me, which is a weird show of comfort from a dream. Then, we stopped looting houses and stocking up, and we left on a journey. My last impressions of the dream were that we were traveling to go see someone I had to tell something that might end the world even harder and that we hadn’t packed enough cream corn, even though only the truly desperate will eat that shit.
Clearly this is my unconscious looking at the recent days, the stress and the fear and the anxiety, understanding what the source of all that was, and… totally ignoring it to give me something absolutely nonsensical. Nothing to that dream at all. This whole interpretive stuff is likely just wishful thinking or confirmation bias and nothing worthwhile can be gleaned from it. Nothing at all. That dream didn’t mean a thing, and I’m going to have a stern discussion with my unconscious brain about putting me through pointless stimuli.