When I am in a particularly high stress and tumultuous situation, such as living during a global pandemic, it seems as though the only thing I can count on to be consistent is my dream life. It’s not consistent in content, of course, but it is consistently vivid and anxiety inducing. Since the coronavirus outbreak, I honestly think I feel more anxious while I’m dreaming than while I’m awake.
While I’ve been in quarantine these past few weeks, I have tried to write down every dream I can remember. I try to keep them in a poem, each part of a dream written in a four line stanza. At the end of every week, I bring them to my therapist. I am one of the lucky few with access to virtual therapy, but I think even if I didn’t, I would still try to bring them to someone. Dream interpretation is not a new idea, but I firmly believe in its power to reveal one’s subconscious. Here is what is in my subconscious:
I'm in an airport and a woman who claims to be the sister of
a guy I’m seeing takes me home in her car and won't let me go!
I escape through the front door and run down the streets of Brooklyn
Where all the brownstones look the same and try to head for Prospect Park.
I’m at a birthday party my mother is throwing for me and another girl.
Who is she? Why does she live in my house?
My mom won't let me leave even though I have a date
When I try to invite him to my birthday party, I can't find his contact info.
I meet Joe Biden and instead of kicking him in the junk for Tara,
I freeze and he squeezes my shoulders.
He walks back onto the stage while I'm still standing,
The shame and guilt for my inaction overwhelm me while he disappears into the wings.
I get abducted by a cult, but it's a nice cult, and Avi is there, too.
The leaders are a straight couple dressed in gladiator outfits and they tell me,
"We like to keep your friend around because he's really funny and charming."
When I ask why they keep me around they look me up and down, hungry.
I'm trying to find a date to the prom.
"I'll only go if someone asks me," I tell my friend Amy from high school.
I sit next to Pena from the high school debate team in a hotel lobby.
I ask him if he's going to the prom and he escapes out a window.
I have to call the guy I'm seeing "the guy I'm seeing" for
"I don't believe in labels" reasons but at least I get to hook up with
My high school ex-boyfriend who sucks and despite not labeling anything,
I still feel the guilt creeping into the back of his red Toyota Tacoma.
When the cult leaders find me trying to sneak out of their underground bunker
In the middle of the night, they take me to the roof, where they take me.
And it feels bad and guilty not because the event was coercive, but because I look over
And I see the woman. And I think of my Christian mother, who loves me.
My mother and my cousin Ally take me grocery shopping at Walmart.
I'm trying to reach for the last box of chocolate Lucky Charms but
A cart is in the way so I bump into it and sirens go off, emanating from the cart's base.
I don't know how, but Joe Biden is behind this.
Here, with the help of my therapist, I can see my fears: being abducted, abandoned, desired, undesired, and weak. I thought knowing what my fears were and having to face them every night would leave me exhausted and defeated, but it’s had the opposite effect. I feel as if all this time alone is an opportunity to know myself. I don’t yet know what all of this thinking and knowing will result in once quarantine ends, but for now I feel as if it is enough to continue existing in myself.
Image by Ava Agnes Mayer