I’ve always been fascinated by dream psychology. Mainly because I’m amazed with what my mind is able to conjure up without any concerted effort. I also just want us all to admit we’ve had some seriously messed up dreams. Like whenever one of my girlfriends says, “I had this CRAZY dream last night that I was like pregnant but didn’t even know who the father was”. I’m over here thinking, “I DREAMT A PUPPY GOT SLICED IN HALF. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?”. And that’s not even a joke. I had that dream very recently and when I saw the puppy get sliced in this dream I was like, “oh, he’ll be fine”. AND THEN I SAW HIM LATER AND HE WAS SEEPING GUTS AND SLOWLY DYING. Terrifying. I felt betrayed by my own psyche for submitting me to that mental image. Also, some of my oldest memories are actually of dreams that low key traumatized me. For instance, when I was really young, probably 7ish years old, I dreamt that my entire family was eaten by a monster that hung out at the end of one of those moving walkways at the airport. WHY BRAIN, WHY?
I’ve also woken up in tears a couple of times. Growing up I had this pillow that I slept with every single night. His name was Papa Pillow and he was originally purchased for my sister when she was a baby. My sister is 6 years older than me so this pillow had quite the life span. He had patches of bunnies and flowers on one side and the other side was a silky fabric. When I had this thing as a child, his patchy side was already in bad shape. But I didn’t care, he was my #1 bffl. I used to fold him in half and scoot him around like a snail, which is obviously how pillows would travel if they were animate. He had a very slight seam across his silky side which was his mouth. Although he couldn’t speak English (because THAT would be ridiculous) I would make muffled noises with my mouth shut and that’s how he would communicate. I cannot stress enough how important this pillow was to me. I was so used to the shape of him in my arms when I slept that I would struggle to relax at sleep overs and vacations without him.
One night, when I was a kid, I dreamt that it was just Papa Pillow and I in a blacked out room. It was one of those dreams where you are watching yourself in the action. I watched him scoot up to me, stop, and give a curt, little “ermph”and turn his back and scoot away as if to say, “I’M DONE WITH YOU WOMAN”. I started to cry hysterically in my dream and I woke up with tears running down my face. It was like the Velveteen rabbit, y’all. But with a contrary pillow. I’m convinced this dream made me even more attached to Papa Pillow.
I slept with him into my high school years and even into early college. It’s shameful, honestly. I remember my roommate freshman year uncovering Papa Pillow. To her he was just a ratty, yellowing, ancient pillow with a couple of holes tied up with loose fabric. One day I found her showing it to one of our mutual friends on Skype. I was MORTIFIED. After that, I started to sleep with him less and less and now I just keep him in a suitcase in my closet. I don’t need to sleep with him anymore but I don’t have the strength to throw something away that I held next to my beating heart night after night after night for most of my life. A pillow I’ve held lovingly when I felt joy, clutched tightly when I felt angry, cried into when I felt sad. My hope is to use some of his fabric one day in a quilt I could pass along to my children. Or if I don’t have children, I’ll just keep the quilt to myself and have my friend by my side again.
Now that you’re crying, I’ll unpack with you another dream that woke me up screaming. This dream was one I had in high school. The dream started out relatively normal. A couple I knew from my school dropped me off at my house late at night. I was approaching my doorstep and I was already a little nervous since I was alone in the dark. I was fumbling for my keys when I felt a presence. I turned around to see an Indian man in a turban standing right behind me. Without saying a word, he grabbed me by the ponytail and threw me into the air. I was about to fall to my death when I woke up with a dull yell. I’ve heard you can’t die in a dream because death is not something our minds can comprehend. I have no idea if that is scientifically true but I have yet to die in a dream, so I guess the logic is sound. Although I’ve had lots of “about to die” dreams, this dream has stuck with me because of how odd it was. I’ve had dreams where I’ve been about to die in a tornado or a car crash or via snake bite, but an Indian man throwing me by the ponytail? WTF? Does this mean I’m racist? Does this mean I have a sense of ponytail related danger embedded deep within my subconscious? QUESTIONS. I HAVE THEM. And the most frustrating thing about dreams is that we have all the answers. They are somewhere, hiding within our screwed up little brains. There are scenarios in our minds that could stretch across the universe and our conscious selves are just OKAY leaving them suppressed. Maybe that’s for the best though. If someone is hanging out during broad daylight thinking about puppies being split in half, I’d be deeply concerned.