Sometimes I think it might be enough for the wild things of your brain to assert themselves sufficiently that instead of pretending they don’t exist, you have to turn your gaze to them, even if you can’t classify them. Taxonomy is good and useful — delicious, even — but maybe not always necessary. Maybe you don’t always have to be able to assign a clear name or narrative or meaning to a nightmare. Maybe the beast that rises from the deeps when you dream a dream like that doesn’t have to be a beast you recognise. Maybe not being able to speak the creature’s name is not only okay but an important component of baddreaming.
It really boils down to this: I believe in going to dark places. A lot I do, because to be shed of the terrible, exhausting burdens that keep you from making your life be the thing you want it to be, you have to acknowledge those burdens exist. Sometimes you don’t even know there are bad things needing acknowledgment until you dream them. I’m not talking about the bad dreams that present you with images or scenarios that are easily understood: dreams about wretched things happening to people you love fall into this category. They are for sure hair-raising, those dreams, fear-inducing, tear-producing. But for me, those bad dreams are far less commonplace and less powerful in the long-term than the jesus christ dial me up a straitjacket, stat bad dreams whose meaning is elusive but whose psychotropic terriblenesses burr themselves painfully and stubbornly into the brain.
I used to think I needed to understand those dreams. Interpret them. Work out their meaning. I don’t so much feel that way any more. I think it is entirely necessary to have those dreams and not to avert your gaze from what they cast before your eyes. They make you afraid, those dreams, they offer you the gift of confronting your fear in order to dispel and disperse it. That is what I have found. When you can go towards the difficult thing, it becomes less difficult. I am a confrontationalist in this way. Very much so. What your bad dreams mean … I’m not sure you need to know what every bad dream means. Maybe some of them are just generalised renderings of the sundryness of the bad, paralysing, hurty, crappy, scary junk that weighs us down and stands in the way of happyness and wholeness and fulfillingness (first and subsequent finales). Maybe. I kind of think so.
You know, it’s hard for me to say this stuff, to pooh-pooh meaning. I like meaning. Hell, I loooove meaning. Meaning and me are sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g, most of the time. I like to find meaning and to assign meaning and to make meaning. I do, very much. But some things are unknowable and unfathomable and unautopysable. And that’s okay; we can’t know everything; we can’t own all meaning. There are mysteries out there in the big, small world and we can’t be privy to the solutions to all of them. Sometimes we have to let mysteries be mysterious. I think we do.
I never want to have bad dreams but I have them anyway. I’m not exactly glad I do, but really I’m glad I do, if you see what I mean.No, I never want to have another nightmare, but I do want to learn everything I can learn, about this big and small world, and about this big and small me. Nightmare will help me learn, and I will let it.