Monday, February 21, 2011
Sometimes a Fish is Just a Fish
I dream a lot. Most of them are pretty easy to understand. I have anxiety dreams, dreams that are made up of things that I experienced recently and dreams from eating rich foods right before I go to sleep.
People have always been fascinated by dreams. They share them with their therapist, they have them interpreted, they even use them to pick lottery numbers. I have to admit, I'm dubious about the last.
I understand my anxiety dreams. I have two running scenarios. The first has to do with my teeth slowly falling out, usually in a public setting. I helplessly collect them or try to put them back in. It's a dream I have when I'm stressed out and has to do with major dental work I had performed a few years ago that was very traumatic.
The other dream is that I discover that I never passed a gym class in high school and have to move back to Iowa, re-enroll in high school and take an entire semester over again. I usually wake up very angry and frustrated, having hated high school and avoided as much of it as possible. So I skipped a lot of school, which makes me feel guilty and on some level I feel the need to be punished for that. That one is fairly easy.
But, what about those dreams that are so weird you wake up wondering what in the world is going on inside your head. Take the fish dream, one of the most vivid dreams that I've ever had. It was one of the few dreams I remember having in black and white, most times I dream in color.
I'm sitting in an empty room, no windows, no doors, no lights. I'm sitting in a straight back chair holding a huge, dead fish. As I sit I slowly bring up the fish, smacking myself in the face repeatedly with it. I hit myself faster and faster. I can see scales spraying about, smell the fish and feel the cold hardness of it as I hit myself. It doesn't hurt, it's just weird and gross. As I do this voices begin to chant, "It's a fish dream, you know what that means....you're dreaming about sex! Fish equal sex!"
I woke up confused and laughing, but a bit unsettled. Where does this stuff come from? There are many definitions for this dream. None of them, as the voice chanted, appear to be sexual. I can't take dream interpretation too seriously. I think we are so inundated with stimuli, we have so many suppressed fears and emotions, our minds are like a house on Hoarders, packed with useless items and hidden shame. There's really no way to figure out some dreams.