Photo Credit: Andrew Cole
Ever have a reoccurring nightmare? I’ve had the same one for about 15 years now. It rattles my bones every time.
The dream goes like this:
I’m in an old castle with stone walls. It’s cold. There are long hallways, and doors every 10 feet on the left and right side. I’m running. There’s someone chasing me. I don’t know who it is, but I’m scared of them. I try opening each door, to find a hiding place. But every door is locked.
The sounds I hear as I try opening the doors are terrifying. When I turn the knob, I can hear thunder, cracking and moaning. As though I were injuring the doors.
I’m so panicked. And eventually after the chase goes on for what seems like hours, I wake up. This is how the dream went for the first couple of years.
When I was in university, the dream finally had an ending. An ending I still don’t understand. But at least I was able to see my attacker.
One night while dreaming the same dreadful nightmare, I made a decision to stop running. I was going to face the person who was chasing me. So as I was running down the cold hallways with red carpets and old doors on each side, I stopped. With a burden in my bones, and breathing heavily, I slowly turned around.
The hallway got longer. But I could see someone standing at the end of it. They were no longer chasing me, but just waiting for me. So slowly, I began walking towards the figure. The closer I got, I could tell it was a woman. She was wearing all black, and was pale. My heart began to sink in my chest the closer I got, because I finally recognized who my attacker, chaser, stalker was. Me.
I always wake up at this moment. The second I realize I’m starring at a pitiful version of myself, I inhale sharply and wake up.
I’ve tried to make sense of this dream a hundred times. And all I can come up with is I’m obviously neglecting this woman. She’s trying to tell me something. Is there are part of myself that I’m not nurturing? A part that feels so neglected that it’s grieving for itself? Because that’s what that version of me looks like – me, in mourning.
When I realize I’m having this dream, which by the way only happens about twice a year now, I vow to try speaking to her. Find out why she’s chasing me and what she needs. But the second I see my own face and inhale sharply, I wake up.
One day I’ll have a long chat with this part of myself. I’ll figure out what it is she wants to tell me. And one day, I’ll reach out and hug her. Maybe that’s all she wants. To tell me I should love myself more. That would make sense too.
Anyone have a reoccurring dream they can’t make sense of?