Friday, July 13, 2012
The Recurring "Nightmare"
Recurring nightmares are interesting. I've always been fascinated with the idea of them but never experienced them myself. I imagined them as a movie clip played over and over, but when I was in my early 30s I started to have what I call a recurring theme in my nightmares instead of a recurring movie clip dream. The theme: plane crashes.
Sometimes I would be in a plane and it would be crashing. Sometimes I would be on the ground and a plane would drop out of the sky and crash on me. I remember one of those dreams where I was standing in the yard of the house I grew up in when a plane came crashing down on me. Eventually I decided that these dreams popped into my subconscious when I was feeling out of control in some area in my life (isn't that what is ultimately most frightening about flying, the lack of control?). Once I made the connection between the dream and my feelings, I saw the dreams as a useful clue that it was time to evaluate what might need to change in my life.
I don't have those dreams anymore. I don't really know why because I am sure we all go through periods in our lives when something doesn't feel like it is within our ability to control. We all feel occasionally controlled by circumstance, controlled by choices we made in the past, controlled by the weight of our responsibilities. In a way, I miss those dreams because they forced me to analyze things that I may not have consciously articulated yet.
I may be moving on to a new theme, however. I have had a similar dream 2 times in the last week or so but I haven't spent much time thinking about what it means. In a nutshell, the dreams revolve around my family moving back to the city or suburbs and me having an awful, panicky realization that there won't be any room for my chickens! I love/hate this dream! I love that I have become so attached to living out in the country. It amazes me how much happier this lifestyle makes me. But I hate the dream because it is a stressful nightmare. Duh.
In the first version of this dream, we were moving to a house with neighbors next to and behind us, so that you couldn't look out any window without seeing a nearby house. The house was cluttered and full of the furniture and junk of the previous owners. I remember walking through the house and thinking "wait, what are we doing this for?" accompanied by a terrible feeling of regret and sadness.
In the version I had last night, we were moving to a suburban home and I asked Andrew if we could keep 2 hens in our back yard without our neighbors knowing. He said no and again I felt that terrible regret and sadness.
I guess my version of a nightmare is going back to suburbia and all that it represents for me: a too-big house with too much crap, annoying people trying to establish a pecking order through conspicuous consumption, people telling me I have to cut my grass, over-programmed children rushing from one activity to another by parents that measure success by how busy they and their children are, and all the other trappings of a "happy" suburban performance. I sound bitter. Instead of all of that, I could have just said that suburbia represents a terrible thing to me: the wrong way.
I spent so many years going the wrong way. I used to shop for fun. I used to have a car payment. I used to read women's magazines. I used to have rooms in my house I never used. I guess moving out to the country was a much more cathartic experience than I realized. It didn't solve all of my problems but at last I am not going the wrong way.
Today I spent hours outside reading my book, watching the chickens, and hanging out with the dog. I absolutely love it out here. I'm not sure what those dreams are trying to tell me, but one of the great joys of being human is that I get to figure it out and/or decide what I want it to mean. And eventually I will. For now I will just state the obvious: I belong out here: