I dream. I dream a lot. I dream too much. You say there is no such thing? Au contraire, mon frere. There is. I do it. I do not like it. I would rather not dream at all.
Choolie’s husband, whom I will call Kojak, is a lucid dreamer. He has been for many years. Choolie brought it up to me and suggested that I read a book about it and talk to Kojak about it. I had trepidations about it for many reasons–some I could name, and some more nebulous.
The easy reason for my fear: I have OCD. Duh, I can hear you think. You’re not telling us anything new, Hong! Hear me out. Because I’m OCD, I throw myself into any passion with a fervor approaching zeal. When I used to scry, I did it for hours at a time. When I was in the thick of my ED issues, all I could think about was food, dieting, exercising, and how many inches/pounds I was losing. If I were to try to lucid dream, I was afraid I would never stop.
Another easy reason: I have been enamored of otherwords for some time. One time during bodywork, voices called for me to join them. I started walking towards them, and I was crushed when my bodyworker called me back to earth. That was many years ago. I have resigned myself to living on this earth for now, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I am afraid that if I start lucid dreaming, I’ll never want to be awake again. Kojak told me that you can do anything you want in lucid dreaming. You can manipulate anything and everything. It’s only a dream, right? I told him he must not have been raised Christian because I instinctively flinched at the idea of manipulating everything, even in my dreams, even though I haven’t been Christian for a very long time.
Anyway, those are the real fears I have about lucid dreaming. The nebulous ones? Well, they are nebulous, so they are a mystery to me. All I know is that I resisted reading the book or talking to Kojak. However, my sleep has taken a drastic turn for the worse. I have been sleeping on the couch for the last week or so. Yes, I am the only two-legged being in my house, and I’m sleeping on the couch. Very sad. However, the one couch stopped working, so I had to move to the other couch. At this rate, I’ll be on the floor in no time. I do have to say I like cuddling my boys as I sleep (except when they try to smother me to death), and since they are not allowed in the bedroom (allergies), sleeping on the couch is one way to get quality snooze time with them. In addition, I don’t have as many dreams when I sleep on the couch, so that’s one reason I started doing it.
However, I decided that I really ought to sleep in my bed. So, I did last night. Let me take you through my sleep process. I like the house cold when I sleep (under sixty), and I sleep nude (except for fleece socks in the winter), so I have many sheets and blankets on my bed. I usually French braid my hair before going to bed because I thrash as I sleep. I wear earplugs, an eye mask, and a mouthguard when I sleep. I have a white noise machine that I turn on during the night, and if it’s really bad, I have ambient music I can play as well.
I start with a pillow under my legs, another under my head, and another over my head. I begin on my right side. I slide my right arm under the pillow under my head, and my left arm is either over the pillow over my head or near my face. I have the pillow on my head covering my eyes and my nose up to the nostrils. I pull the blankets up over my mouth so only the tip of my nose is showing. After ten minutes of this, I flip to the exact same position on my left side. And, believe me, I never fall asleep in the first ten minutes. If I don’t fall asleep on my left side, I roll onto my back. Here, I get creative. I have two positions. One is the soldier in which I have my legs together and my arms by my side. I tuck the sheets around my body so that I ‘m…kinda in a straightjacket. The other position is with my arms a bit looser, no tucked-in sheets, and my right leg bent at a forty-five degree angle with my right foot resting against the side of my left knee. If I am not asleep in ten more minutes, I flip over onto my stomach and spread eagle. Both arms and both legs over the side of my (single) bed. If I am not asleep in ten minutes, I flip back onto my right side and start over.
OK. Last Saturday, I talked to Kojak after taiji class (he came to pick up Choolie). He asked me how I knew I wasn’t dreaming right now. I said something about my hands and fingers. He said that’s one way–by counting your fingers. Also, if you wear a watch, checking the time. Reading a page of o book after looking away does the trick, too. He gave me a very brief primer about lucid dreamer and a few tips. I have taken to glancing at my hands and counting my fingers throughout the day. I have told myself as I go to bed that I am going to dream, and I am going to count my fingers.
So. Last night. I went to sleep in my actual bed. I went through my ritual, and at some point, I fell asleep. I am now going to describe an actual night of dreams for me. Here are some things you need to know before I go into detail.
1. I am both participant in my dream and watcher of said dream. My dreams are like movies in that I watch them from different point of views. I have flashbacks, segues, cut sequences, etc. I am also in them, however, which is interesting. I like this aspect. What I don’t like is that I often have a narrator as well. He is a pompous prick who has a penchant for pointing out the blistering obvious. For example, he will say, “Now, R is pointing a gun at Daisy, who is trying to hide from him. Now, R is shooting Daisy while Minna is watching in horror.” Since I am both in the movie doing the watching and watching the movie watching me watching the scene in horror, I do not fucking need the narrator to tell me that I am watching R about to murder Daisy! And, yes, this was a real dream of mine several years back. Luckily, Mr. Narrator did not make an appearance last night.
2. I have several repetitive themes in my dreams. One is that I am still at St. Olaf College and have not matriculated yet. Another is that I am about to perform, and I have forgotten my part. A third is that someone is killed/raped/assaulted/etc.
3. I don’t have good dreams.
OK. Now, let’s proceed into my dreamworld, shall we? Needless to say, things happen in my dreamworld that do not happen in real life. I am going to write out last night’s dreams as they happened, so, they may not make sense. Plus, my dreams tend to bleed into each other, or at least that’s how I remember them, so I will be presenting them as such. Ready? Here we go.
I am in my dorm room at St. Olaf. I am wearing a gray St. Olaf sweatshirt. I can see my closets (fake wood), and I am waiting for my mother. She’s telling me that she will drive to St. Olaf in four hours, that we’ll drive back to our house in another four hours, and then we’ll return to St. Olaf all in the same day. She has a convoluted reason why she has to come up to St. Olaf, drive home with me, and then drive back to St. Olaf all in one day (a Friday to boot!). I point out the reason she doesn’t have to come back to St. Olaf. She concedes that it’s true, but she insists that she will be returning with me. I am seething in anger, but I don’t let it show.
Two people on campus are talking about a TV movie they had been watching. It was some kind of thriller/adventure/mystery movie. I am not paying much attention to their chatter because the movie does not sound interesting to me.
I am in a dark room with a TV. There is a movie playing with accompanying ominous music. The HD is glitchy, which annoys the hell out of me. My finger is hovering over the stop button on the remote, but I let the movie play. It’s some kind of action/mystery/thriller type of movie, and it seems familiar. The plot is lame, and so is the acting, but for some reason, I let it continue. I finally figure out it’s the movie about which the two people on campus had been talking. Even though the movie is stupid, I start to get interested despite myself. Just as I start to give a damn, the recording is over. WTF? Then, I remember that I set my DVR to record Without a Trace every Thursday, which is an hour long, so I had missed the second hour of the movie. I am pissed.
I walk into a living room that is obviously inhabited by guys. There is a huge TV in the middle of the room, and it’s on to a show called Go Go Johnny!, which is about a teenage heartthrob. It is supposedly based on his real life. It’s the usual painfully-unfunny ‘comedy’ that has little to no bearing on real life. Of course, it is the number one show for tweeners–that goes without saying. As I’m watching, Johnny himself enters the room. Except, his name in real life is Justin. He’s eighteen years old and disturbingly sensual. He flops down on the floor next to me, giving me his full attention. He has the classic bad boy good looks (think Johnny Depp, but many years younger) with the hairless chest that seems to signify ultimate sexuality for teens today. He is a tight black t-shirt and even tighter blue jeans.
As we watch his show, it’s clear that he is hitting on me. He presses his crotch against my hand, and he’s rock-hard; I quickly pull back. I remind him that I am old enough to be his mother. It’s clear that he doesn’t care.
I remember that I am in a play at the Guthrie. Tonight. When I tell Johnny/Justin, he congratulates me warmly. I quickly reply that it’s a small role of an attorney because I auditioned too late for a major role.
Quick audition scene. Nothing of interest.
I frown as I remember that I haven’t gotten my outfit together yet. Rick Shiomi, the artistic director of Theater Mu (the group putting on the performance) had told us that we had to get our own costumes.
I am standing in my dorm room in front of my closet, frowning. What am I going to wear as a lawyer? I decide to wear all black, but then I realize that it wouldn’t show up well on stage. So, I decide to wear a black skirt, black heels, black stockings, a gray shirt, and my hair up in a bun. That should do it, I think to myself. But, what about my earrings? I open my jewelry box and frown at all my choices. They all seem too flashy and frivolous for a lawyer. I finally pick a pair I think might be acceptable.
I can’t remember my lines. I had only been with the production for a short time, and I had crammed the lines into my head only a few days earlier. I try to go over them, but my mind is completely blank. I can’t remember a single line! I can think of Portia’s part in Shakespeare A Merchant of Venice, but I can’t remember a damn line of this play.
I pull out my script and open to my scene. I look at my part, and all I can see are equations and formulas. WTF? Where did my words go? When did they become replaced with math? It might as well have been Greek to me, and I start panicking. I have to be at the Guthrie very shortly, and I was completely blank as to my lines.
Back in the living room with Johnny/Justin who is still trying to seduce me. On the TV, an episode of Blossom comes on. It’s the one where there is a bank robbery and a cop saves the day because he happened to be in the bank. Johnny/Justin says that the cop is his father and that he got to keep the police hat as it was the last episode of the show. Johnny/Justin points to the hat. I suddenly remember that I am dating his father, who looks like the father on the Blossom show. Johnny/Justin is turning on the charm, and I’m weakening.
I’m in the Loring Park neighborhood, suddenly unsure if that’s where I need to be. I shout out, “Is Guthrie next to the Walker Art Museum or the other one?” Someone shouts back, “Walker!”, and I hurry in that direction.
I’m dressed in my lawyer costume getting ready to perform. I still don’t know my lines. I am moving past panic to full-blown hyperventilating.
Then I wake up. This was all in about six hours or less. Those are just the snippets I remember, and I condensed some of the action. You can see why I might be a good candidate for lucid dreaming, but this also points out one of those nebulous reason I’m hesitant to try (nebulous that became clear to me this morning): Way too many fucking dreams as it is. These were pretty tame by my standards (though the panic attacks I have in my dreams due to not remembering my role are very unpleasant, to say the least), but who the fuck knows what else I’m going to encounter? The dreams are as real to me when I am asleep as the real world is to me when I am awake. If I can lucid dream and truly manipulate my dreams in any way I want, then why would I ever return to the world of the waking?