I like to tell people that I’m not very interested in horror movies or literature, because I’ve got a whole horror-movie production studio in my subconscious.
Most people think it’s a joke…but they aren’t the ones with a horror movie going while they sleep, and no way to turn it off!
A Few Selections from My Gleefully Wicked Subconscious
- The recurring dream featuring running through a very sticky substance, and KNOWING I have to run from something that’s going to eat me, but I’m stuck to the floor. My chest is heavy, and I can’t breathe at all–there’s a crushing pressure on my body that makes it nearly impossible to take in air. Oh, and did I mention I’m completely blind in this dream? (I hate hate hate this one–I always wake up feeling like I’ve been strangled!)
- A flashback from teaching middle school, where I get arrested in the lunchroom for allowing the kids to go absolutely batpoo crazy, and the judge pretty much throws the book at me, telling me “a criminal like me should not be allowed back in the classroom for any reason.” His version of “throwing the book at me” is chopping my hands off and cutting out my voice box. (Aw, God, the sheer amount of blood, and knowing it was MINE…nastyyyyyy)
- The one where I’m the servant of a minister and his kinda-creepy mother, and they ask me to come to the basement of the church after I finish work. There’s a barrel in the corner of the gray-brick room I arrive in, which looks to be filled with water…but when I look in it, there’s rotting flesh in there. A scream rips from me, and I wake up lying on the floor, watching the minister burn one of my leg bones on a makeshift altar. I realize that I’m now just a pile of fleshless bones on the floor–my flesh has been stripped from me and is in the barrel–but I can still feel everything he’s doing to that bone of mine! (I was literally screwed up for HOURS after waking up from this…THING)
And yes, these are all real dreams that I’ve had over the course of my lifetime. (The blind running/difficulty breathing dream has haunted me since childhood, at least since I was three.) My brain seems to be very good at giving me frights while I sleep–it’s like, “Hey, you’re sleeping–let’s make a really scary movie that you can’t wake up out of!” (I have had numerous instances of being unable to wake easily from these dreams, more than the pretty and lovely dreams I’m always jarred out of by the cursed alarm clock.)
Why These Dreams Equal No “Scream” or “Halloween” for Me
Couple this vivid imagination and wicked subconscious with a strong empathy for others’ suffering, plus a little bit of paranoia about experiencing pain, and you get exactly why I can’t sit through a horror movie without needing a barf bag or a sensory deprivation tank afterwards. I don’t like seeing great gouts of blood all over the screen, because I can all too easily visualize it as being mine. Seeing people get stabbed through the eye or having to run screaming from stuff is not my idea of fun…it’s too much like my own nightmares. Why pay for this when I can get it for free (admittedly, in an uncontrollable fashion, but still)?
The frustrating thing about my horror-movie dreams is that I can never predict when they’ll happen, but they’re always nerve-jarring when they do. I could have the most awesome day ever, come home, go to bed, and experience something like one of the three dreams I mentioned above. Or, I could have the most awful day of my life, come home and flop in bed only to have an amazingly wonderful dream.
Is this my subconscious’ way of giving balance to my life? “Oop, you’re too happy, let’s give you something to freak out about!” or “Whoa, you need a pick-me-up–here ya go!” Whatever it is, I guess this is another of my brain’s quirks…
For the Readers
Do you suffer from similar kinds of nightmares as I do, or have you ever had one that stuck with you for a long time after waking? Let me know in the comments!