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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anatomy of a Dream

I have dreams a lot, several a night that I actually remember.  Many of them are strange dreams, some of them are very psychedelic, beautiful, complex, and unclear in their message if there is a message or meaning at all.  Some dreams are really funny and make great anecdotes.  Some would make some really impressive novel or movie plots.  However, some of them are fraught with emotion, the kind that are demanding my attention to something with which I need to address in my subconscious.

Last night’s dream is even difficult for me to write out- it wants to stay stuck in my throat and keeps my chest tight and protected.  Therefore, it needs to come out, but I'll keep it short.

Let me start by explaining that I had been watching Grey’s Anatomy up until about two weeks ago when I realized that I was getting way to emotionally invested in these people that aren’t even real, and it was draining me.  After all, I could be using all of that wasted empathy on real people.  I was watching for so long because much of Grey’s feels very comforting to me.  I love hospitals, I spent a significant amount of time in them growing up and the medical drama of it all feels so familiar.  As comforting as it may seem at first, it is also not healthy for me.  So I stopped seeking comfort in the medical drama drug two weeks ago.  Hello, my name is Ashley and I'm addicted to medical drama.  Hi, Ashley.

The Dream
I dreamed that I was pregnant (gasp!), even though I had an IUD.  There was something very wrong that would kill me if I didn’t have surgery immediately.  However, I needed to decide if I wanted to keep the fetus or have it terminated during surgery.  I chose to terminate it. 

My parents were there in the hospital with me for little bit, and I remember that I kept asking my mom to call Andy to tell him what was happening.  She did, but she told me he was busy and couldn't come.  I tried to text him, but the nurses kept taking my phone away and giving my IVs.  This theme continued for what seemed like hours before the surgery.

I was absolutely terrified and alone- I had never had surgery of any kind before.  The doctors were very kind and one of them was particularly comforting and funny.  Just before he put me under, I remember thinking, “I’m sorry potential human, but this is the right thing to do.  I’m not your mom.”

When I woke from the surgery, I was both sad and relieved.  (*Note:  in real life, I’ve never had to make that choice, my heart goes out to all the women who have had or will have to make that choice.)  The very handsome doctor was there, and Andy never showed up, so when the handsome doctor told me he’d fallen in love with me (that happens all the time, right?) I naturally decided I was in love with him too, but I needed to “take it slow.” (Oh brain, even in the most serious of circumstances, you make me laugh.)  The next thing I know, the director yells, “CUT!”  And we wrapped up filming.  Apparently, this was all just acting.  The entire cast walked through the parking lot near the filming location to what appeared to be an amusement park, where we then celebrated finishing up with filming.  

“In real life,” the ladies on the cast told me, “the handsome doctor is an ass but he has a great British accent.”  I said, “I lived in Britain and I’m pretty much immune to the accent.  Also, I made out with him for two days filming and he’s a really good kisser.  So, he's cool in my book.”

I’m a bit with Jung in that I think dreams can point to a greater evolution of the relationship between the ego and the unconscious and attempt to create a better balance within the brain, but I don’t think dreams are always necessarily this.  Sometimes I think it’s just neurons firing.  However, there are dreams that are so obvious once I describe them out loud or in writing, I don’t need a psychoanalyst to get the meaning behind them.  This one was like that for me.

This dream has several levels to it that I want to go over and each theme has different levels of meaning behind them.  How do I know what they mean?  It’s an individual process and when you hit upon a meaning, you know because it resonates.

The Terminated Fetus:
The death of a dream.  Yesterday, I spent some time talking with an old friend about her health and how it’s causing her to cease to be able to do what she loves, something she has spent her entire life creating.  The life she’s created, as well as a future dream of what would have been, is being killed.  I’ve had similar experiences (for example, moving back from Wales) although not to the same intensity as she is experiencing.  It is a long, painful, confusing, and continuing grieving process.  My heart is with her and this is fresh on my mind.
The childfree choice.  At the same time, this is also about my choice not to have children (for which I have many reasons including simply… I don’t wanna.).  This is a stance in which I sadly need to constantly defend.  It has hit me, since turning 35, that it really is not going to happen for me.  I really haven’t “changed my mind” nor am I even creeping towards a life where a child would fit.  I’m almost actually relieved that I might just “get away” without having one, as though I actually hadn't let myself recognize how powerful it is to really have a choice.
Tying these together.  What I have been recognizing is how powerful my body is, how powerful I am, and how much potential my life has.  We do not have to use absolutely all of our potential and turn it into reality - good Dog that sounds exhausting anyway!  I personally need to give myself permission to have the right to exist knowing that I will never, nor can anyone ever, live out his/her/their full potential in this one lifetime as an individual.  So I hereby say to myself, "Dear one, stop feeling bad, guilty, defensive, and ashamed about the things you'll never do."  If I need to grieve for it because it's something I've carried with me for so long, by all means, I'll grieve my little heart out, but I'm giving myself permission to NOT "have it all" - whatever the fuck that even means.

Andy Didn’t Show Up:
Fear of abandonment.  Seriously just my standard, cliche, "oh it's you again" fear of abandonment - alive and kicking since 1981.

The Handsome Doctor:
The hero.  Again, I think this has to do with unused, forgotten potential.  If I’m sticking with Jung, the handsome doctor is really an aspect of myself- a recognition of my own hero/savior/healer inside of me. 
A bit of grieving.  It is also potential love that will never be fully realized.  By choosing Andy as a partner, I am actively NOT choosing all the other potential loves that could be in my future.

Or it could be that sometimes a handsome doctor is just a handsome doctor.

The Film
An illusion.  Maybe I think all of life is just an illusion anyway?  Maybe we’re all just sort of souls wearing meat sacks?  I don’t know, but there are many times in my life, whether right or wrong, I feel like a performer. 

Dissecting the really vivid dreams can be extremely helpful for me.  Sometimes, I cannot figure them out either because I’m not really ready to see the meaning, or they just plain don’t have one.  Other times, like in this dream, I feel like I know myself on a deeper level. I get in touch with some inner wisdom that I need to hear or it reveals deeper wants, needs, healing or balance that I having been paying attention to.  The moment where I recognized that "I can't do everything in this one life and that's okay" was, and is still, extremely liberating.  I didn't even know that this was bobbing around in my subconscious, subtly contributing to feelings of guilt every single day.  Whew, glad that's been brought into the light!

And sometimes, my dreams just pure creative, entertaining energy.
I mean, really, the only handsome doctor I want to make out with in real life is Dr. Andy, PhD.  :)

Do you dissect your dreams?  Do you find any clarity or meaning in them?  


  1. Great post! I love to try to dissect dreams. Also, my name is Jenn, and I also have a medical drama addiction. I don't even watch all that much t.v., but if there's a scalpel and people making out in closets I'm there. Now that I work in a hospital (my office is sort of randomly located in the hospital just for the central location) I do notice that there are never any people making out in the cleaning closets. WTF is up with that?

    1. I've also been here over 6 years and I've never seen a dead body. I know people die here every single day, but where the hell do they go and how do they keep is such a secret?? My morbid curiosity wants to know!

    2. Not that I'm hunting for a dead body, mind you...I just think it's odd that I haven't SEEN any being wheeled through like they are on the Shows.

    3. Bahahaha people making out in closets. YES. I don't watch a lot of t.v. either, but I even get sucked into real people's real-life medical drama, but I think if I could wander around in a hospital all day, I'd get super inspired and create characters for everyone that walked by and make up their stories. Actually, that sounds like fun.

      Do they take the dead bodies away at night? I want to know when it is that they move them, since you never see them!

  2. I also like dissecting dreams. I want to talk about yours, but I have a meeting in 11 minutes, so until then, here's one of mine from yesterday, which I happened to have typed out...

    I woke up at 4:30 totally ready to go. I had a dream I was Luke Skywalker and my dad, Anakin, had stopped being Darth Vader and was good now. We were just hanging out and driving around and going to the movies and stuff.
    I had to introduce him to people as Anakin Skywalker. They knew who he was, and tried to act normal.

    But they knew he was Darth Vader.

    He had put on a lot of weight and had a brown beard.

    Then we were driving and the emperor was all ghostlike and semi-disembodied but looked like he was wearing a black hood and the mask from Scream (which I've never seen). The emperor/Scream guy enveloped the car, and we fought him. We had to fight him fight him but we also had to change how we felt about him so that we weren't afraid of him or hate him.

    What do I think it means? Well, when I was a kid I used to dream Darth Vader was chasing me. Then as an adult I started dreaming I *was* Darth Vader, and I had to accept that my role was to be evil and kill people, but I did it for a reason, to keep order. So, maybe I'm turning back into someone who doesn't identify with the guy in power?

  3. Ohhhh that's goooood. I've had so many dreams that involve changing how I feel about something in order to defeat it. Maybe your idea of your own power is evolving. Hmmm interesting...

    Also, LOL "He had put on a lot of weight and had a brown beard." LOLOLOL

    1. "He had put on a lot of weight and had a brown beard." <-- yeah, sound like anybody you know?

  4. Also, thank you for reading and commenting. I <3 you both. :)

  5. Dreams... I have em all the time. I remember most of them and generally end up feeling guilty when I wake up.

  6. Wow, there is so much going on in your dreamworld. I never remember my dreams and if I do, they tend to be the really violent one's that wake me up! I have never tried to analyse and dissect them, though, because at that moment I just feel scared!

  7. So, LAST night I had a dream I met a squirrel who wore a brightly colored hand knitted dragon outfit. Complete with wings. It was amazing and I want that to exist.

  8. I do notice that there are never any people making out in the cleaning closets. WTF is up with that?

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