Haunted by obnoxious dreams

I still have to decide if dreams do have a meaning and what this might be. I suspect that Freud’s old theory that dreams are often the expression of something sexual which has been suppressed from the conscious self is no longer true. To name just two witnesses: Cioran wrote that he always mistrusted Freud’s dream interpretation because when he was a young boy his father was used to telling him every morning about the dreams he had had during the previous night, while Yourcenar said in an interview that we must accept that dreams may also mean nothing at all and that they could be only debris coming out of the rubbish bin of our daily life. As I happened to write somewhere else, I don’t dream too much or too often, or perhaps I just forget most of my dreams but the ones of the early morning, when I’m more sensitive and my mind is not on the watch, so that I easily fall into their trap and I’m acutely aware of their taking place without being able to get rid of them or sterilize them. They seem more real than reality and sometimes they give me a truly anguished feeling. As a matter of fact, the common feature of these dreams is a sense of danger overwhelming me. I always find myself in a troubled situation and I can never find a way out. Or the way out is even riskier than the situation itself. I wouldn’t call them nightmares, because they’re not scary in the traditional meaning of the word, but they do leave me quite uneasy while sleeping and even after waking up and, as such, they do reveal something about the state of my mind (or the mess in my mind, I might say as well). These are some of the dreams I still remember.

1. It was early in the morning and I had to go to the railway station of the town where I was living. It was late autumn or winter, of course (pathetic fallacy is something I can’t do without even in my dreams, apparently). I had just come up the staircase leading to the platforms when I saw the train running towards me at a high speed. Suddenly it went off the rails and we all had to run away screaming in panic. I don’t recall if we saved our lives or we were crushed and killed.

2. My house was surrounded by mad and violent bikers who wanted to murder me. In order to force me to come out, they set the building on fire. I had no way out, I couldn’t escape, so I just hid in a corner of my bedroom, hoping that they’d go away and leave me in peace. At a certain point, though, I felt a giant boot treading on me and crushing me, as if I had been a worm (or perhaps I had actually turned into one, in a Kafkaesque way).

3. We were living in a village and we were all aware of a danger which seemed to have come out of a novel of Stephen King’s (or Richard Matheson’s). Our village was being slowly invaded by vampires who, like all the creatures of their kind, bit other human beings transforming them into vampires too. We decided to join our forces and hunt them out. I was also in the league and I delivered a heartfelt speech to infuse everybody with courage, but while speaking I suddenly realized that they were staring at me. I saw horror in their eyes, I saw them draw back. All of a sudden I realized that it was because of me: I was turning into a vampire too without knowing it. (I had this dream during the night between the 17th and the 18th of July 2002. I remember the date so clearly because on that very day I had moved into the new flat I’m still living in. A new beginning should not give way to such dramatic dreams, but it should be filled with hope. Incidentally, it was also one of the few times I woke up panting and scared, so that M.S. had to shake me and ask me what was happening.)

Then I remember four further dreams which had sexual contents but didn’t give me any pleasure because in the middle of them there was always a turning point which made them extremely distasteful, to say the least.

1. I was in a gay sauna, possibly in Germany (not that I recognized it, but my mind reinvented it as a German sauna), and while walking with a towel around my waist somebody warned us that a fire had broken out – like the one at the Everard Baths in New York in the eighties, I guess. So all the people inside had to climb out of the fire exit. In the end we were all naked on the concrete roof of the premises.

2. I went to another gay sauna and when I was inside I realized at once that it was not a sauna but a hospital, with the typical furniture (and the patients, too) of a hospital, which made me feel quite uncomfortable, illness being in my mind the opposite of sex.

3. I was ready to have sex with somebody – a man, of course – but just before starting with it I sensed that there was something disturbing in the whole situation, so I began running as fast as I could. I don’t know why or how, but I had discovered that that man wanted to kill me.

4. I was still living with my parents and I was in my bedroom with A. We both wanted to have sex and were quite excited, giggling like two teenagers and frisky (the air was "fragrant with a mighty expectation of relief", to quote old Leonard Cohen again). Unfortunately my mother kept on coming into my room without knocking at the door. She wanted to check if everything was ok and if we needed anything, but it was obvious that she just wanted to keep an eye on us. Finally we were so frustrated and overexcited that we had to give up and just sleep like two innocent children. I left my bed to her and I slept in the orange armchair which was in my bedroom at those times.

I’d rather avoid any interpretation of these dreams, as apparently they are so plain that they don’t need any explanation. If they do stem from a mental rubbish bin, I just wonder what else it may contain and if I’ll ever be able to empty it.

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