Oh, but I dream. I’m proficient at it. I dream in so many ways. You may say I’m a dreamer, and you’d be correct.
I suspect that you dream, too, dear reader, though I cannot prove it. I cannot prove much of anything, really, but I can tell stories. And dream. And dreams are just the mind telling a story. So let me tell you a story about dreams.
I figured them out. I learned fact from fiction and I could take back control of my mind mid-dream and spin the story however I liked. Here’s where I come up with some great-on-paper quote about how learning to control my dreams and tell myself dream-stories was the reason I became a writer, but that wouldn’t be true. Not to the best of my knowledge, anyhow. Though, I’m sure it helped.
I don’t remember how old I was. At least five–I know that. Less than eight. I was sleeping in my parents’ bed, and I was having a bad dream where my best friend was speaking demonically at me for playing with his toy trucks. I woke up, scared, but still tired. So I resolved to remember that if I went back to sleep I would remember that it was all a dream, and to wake myself up before things got too scary. So inevitably I drifted away and the scene played over. At the demon-speak, I crossed my dream-arms badassfully and said, “This is just a dream.” Then I did this little trick I used to be able to do where I’d squint my dream-eyes and it would somehow wake me up. Doing so, I woke up with a triumphant grin on my baby-H. face.
That was my first experience with lucid dreaming. Per my recollection, I never did so again until my early teenage years. I had a dream where I was in my basement (yes, I was a nerd, and I had a sweet basement lair) and my hamster was running on his wheel. Right away I knew something wasn’t right. My hamster was dead. I remembered crying over that furry little bastard. And my cousin was there, who had never even been to my dad’s house. This wasn’t real at all. No, it was all wrong–all I could see or seem.
I remember being delighted that I figured it out. I bragged to my dream-sister and -cousin, but they tried to convince me I wasn’t dreaming at all. I proved it to them by using my mind to swap their faces, and I laughed at their swapped expressions. (This is starting to sound like a serial killer’s journal. It really was a dream, though. Really!) Then I started teleporting places with but a thought. I was the author of my own world.
Ever since then I would routinely have lucid dreams. That is to say, dreams I could recognize as dreams, and take some measure of control over. Oh! that my young life were a lucid dream. For a while, it was the most reliable way of getting me laid. And since I rarely flew in real life, I did a lot of flying in dreams. Sometimes I would climb walls like Spider-Man, or fight people I didn’t like, or travel places I always wanted to see. I could convince people to do anything. I could convince the world to do anything.
It was a balancing act, trying to maintain control without being so lucid that I just woke up. If I ever doubted myself, then whatever I was worried about would immediately happen. It’s like when you’re trying to run away from something in a dream, and you can only run in slow motion. As soon as you’re worried something might happen, it happens. And I would have to remind myself that I could fix it. That I had that power.
I don’t have lucid dreams much anymore. I have my theories on why that is, but overall I think it’s because, the more I experienced in life, the less I would need to use my imagination to create those experiences. I used to be able to recognize certain situations as things that rarely happened in real life, and conclude that I was dreaming. I would dream to compensate for life. But not anymore. So my dreams have gone back to stories told by my unconscious mind.
It’s nice to be surprised once in a while, I suppose. To hear a story instead of tell one. But I miss that joy. The joy of flying. Real life is great, if you let it be, but it’s not the same. I have been happy, tho’ in a lucid dream. I just hope I can find that happiness in the real world.