Dreams of bleak

I had a mixed weekend. On Friday I had JV over and we had pizza and a couple of bottles of red while we watched the footy. He’s a Swans supporter and it was a grand game until, after a stirring comeback, we contrived to lose a game that should have been unloseable. At that point I got a bit sweary. I’m not normally like that, but I did swear at the TV a few times. “Fuck you Luke Parker,” I said as the Swans player was interviewed post-match. “Fuck you Gary Rohan,” I said when the guy he sealed the match after the siren came on. Apologising to my mate I muted the Swans as they sang the song after the match.

Part of me was measured – it was a good performance and I’m confident that we’ll do some damage come the finals, and we were playing the in-form team on their own patch – but another part of me was gleefully feral.

To compound my general displeasure my phone shat itself as well. Vertical lines ran up and down the screen. I could hear messages being received, but couldn’t see or respond to them. I missed a brunch invitation Saturday because of it, and it was only after I fished out an old phone, charged it up and updated as necessary that I felt whole again.

The rest of the weekend was the usual, cooking and cleaning and writing and popping out for coffee with the Cheeses.

Last night I felt more weary than normal. I had a minor ear infection and maybe that took it out of me. I turned the light off earlier than normal and was soon to sleep.

I don’t know if it was the tribulations of the weekend but I found myself in the midst of vivid and quietly disturbing dreams. There was a bleak and depressing quality to them. As always I remember little but for a few frames. I am forlorn and lost. I wander the streets of my hometown with nothing to do and no money in my pocket. I come across a party of people I know at a bar, all dressed happy and in good spirits. They are family friends, people I have known for many years. Briefly I speak to them before moving on. Strangely, one of them is Paul Roos, the ex-footy player and coach.

A little later I come across them again, this time at a fancy restaurant. I am welcomed by Paul Roos. Without saying so he recognises that I am in dire straits. He is affable, encouraging me to join them, turning to the others there and with a quip enjoining their agreement. I know what they’re doing. They feel sorry for me. They know I have nothing. They are trying to get a good feed in me and for a few hours join them for agreeable company. They don’t admit to it but they pity me.

I resist. I always do. I don’t want charity. I don’t want any favours. I don’t want to be special in that way. Yet I know that I should. Paul Roos knows this. He knows how I am. Gently he encourages me to ignore my pride. No skin off their nose after all, and they like me – I may be down and out, but I’m still one of them. The dream ends with me wondering what to do.

The other dreams were all similar in nature. Taken as a whole they are disturbing.

Where does that come from? There was a moment on Sunday when I contemplated how the future might be – a sort of predictable purgatory, a world for me that never gets much worse than what it is now, but never any better. Year after year I eke out a basic existence without joy or indulgence. I scramble from week to week, month to month, year to year, just surviving. Then one day I die. It’s over, the water closes over me, I am forgotten.

That’s bleak too, and just about the worst possible thing I could envisage. Is this what led to the dreams?

For the record it will never be like that. I’d smash it all before going that way. In any case I’m confident that I can make things a lot better, I just get impatient sometimes for it to begin.


Bomber of the month

reaming a lot lately, but let’s face it, other people’s dreams are generally a bit meh, regardless of how fascinating they think they are.

With that caution I can report I had a curious dream last night that I found quite droll.

In the way of most dreams it was played straight. Dream events may be uncanny or surreal, and may be confronting, but it’s rare that they seem strange. Dreams exist in an alternate reality where anything is possible, and likely understandable.

This one was only a little off. Essentially the dream was about a new initiative whereby terrorist bombers where given the opportunity to publish a short bio, much like the pocket biographies of sportsmen you find in footy records.

In this case it was a little more than favourite meal, first car, and who would you invite to dinner. The terrorists were given the opportunity to explain their explosives technique, favourite munition, and dream target, and the highlight of their terrorist career so far.

Admittedly it’s not in the best taste, but I have little control over my dreams when it comes to that. And I’ve had some doozies.

If you look at this seriously for a moment it observes a world where the extreme and abnormal has become normal and accepted. It’s not the world we live in now, but at the same time we have been conditioned to the extreme acts of terrorist bombers until their acts are a kind of normal. It’s almost as if my dream is taking the piss. It’s an an exaggeration sure, but not as extreme as first it seems.

Where this dream came from I don’t know. Often you can see the genesis of a dream in an idle conversation, or something you’ve seen. Not this time. I have no idea.

Cracking the ice

A few months ago I met a Masterchef finalist in a city bar. I hadn’t taken to her watching the show, but in person she was gracious and warm. A few weeks later I bumped into her again while she was doing a food demo. I stood in the crowd and our eyes met and then I left to return to work. The other night I dreamt about her.

Dreams are funny, revealing things. I woke from the dream feeling warm and fond of this Masterchef. The dream itself was largely forgotten, but the residue was affectionate. Now you can argue that it’s just a dream – something conjured up in the dark recesses of the mind, and ultimately a fantasy, a fiction. It’s not reality.

Dreams may not be the reality, but I think dreams are true to an individual reality. They harvest thoughts, feelings, emotions, whims from some deeper self. We carry on with our life daily generally skating across the surface of this deeper self. Dreams crack the ice and from the depths bring up truths we’re barely conscious of. They present these truths by way of fantastic, and often lurid tales. Often times I think these can often be read as parables, or when viewed obliquely a meaning is revealed.

Not that it means anything, but I suspect that some deep part of me responded unexpectedly in that chance meeting with the Masterchef. On a conscious level I was surprised. I liked her as a warm and genuine character. Then of course I went home and thought no more of it. I suspect meeting her again unexpectedly crystallised that sense, and made latent those initial impressions, which ultimately led to my dream the other night.

I’ll never see that Masterchef again, but that’s not the point.

A few weeks ago I had another very unexpected dream. Those who have read my blog more deeply know that once I had a girlfriend I loved deeply, but with whom I had a troubled relationship. Eventually we parted. Some years later I happened across the news that she was dead. I investigated and found that she had killed herself. A gaping maw opened in me. I was distressed, and eventually travelled into the bush to view her grave. I felt I had to do that, though of course it means nothing. I had loved her, and having loved her never really stopped loving her, though in a different way. One thing that came out of that was the vow that I had to live for her as well. What had happened was a tragedy.

I think of her occasionally now, but not a lot, though I’ll never forget her. I don’t recall dreaming of her for many years. Then a couple of weeks ago I dreamt of her again.

I think it came about at a time when I was struggling. I didn’t know if I might be homeless again soon, but thought I might. I felt stifled in a job I hated. I had no money, and soon no licence, and felt deep existential pangs. What am I doing? I thought all the time. What should I be doing? What does it all mean?

On that night I dreamt of her for the first time in years. Funnily enough the dream took back to one of those fictionalised environments where we have yet to get together for the first. I like her, and in that sceptical way believed she might like me too. But nothing tangible has happened yet. Instead I’m striving to get close to her, thinking of her all the time and imagining how it might be. For her part she seems to know, and approve, but at the same time doesn’t make it easy for me. As in real life she has a quick wit in the dream. We spar, delightedly, but frustratingly too, for just as we seem to get close she goes away again.

The dream is like that. Nothing is resolved. I think I will get with her, but often times I doubt it. Then I wake.

It feels good to have dreamt of her again. I feel sort of grateful, though it’s hard to articulate why. I know how it ends up – we do get together eventually, and it’s good. I go about getting myself ready for work. I’m so glad to have had her in my life. I love her still, though in a fraternal way. I remember the happy things, and am grateful for them. I’m so sad for what happened, but that’s hardly present in those moments. Instead I’m filled with the warm remembrance of the many good times we had together. I go to work happier than I have been in weeks.

Is this just a random dream? All of it is true, even if it is my own private truth. Why now though is it delivered to me? What was the prompt? And what is the meaning?

I don’t know, except perhaps to make me look more broadly, beyond my present travails. And more deeply, to the things truly of value. And to remind me perhaps, that I promised to live for her too, and I’ve a lot to do to achieve that. Somehow it was a dream of hope.

Sleeping in the library

I wrote the other week how I had parted with a friend. We had some discussions after, but left it at that. I think we both still feel some affection for the other, but I’ve felt content with the decision. There is regret, but acceptance too, and in the end our parting was more amicable than it started.

Then last night I had a dream. For some reason I was staying in a boarding house that doubled as a library. My bed was among the bookshelves. I woke to find my friend bending over me with a smile on his face. It was such a familiar, true to life smile that I smiled back. He was dressed for some reason in a dark, pinstriped suit and a fedora, like someone from a 1940’s detective movie. He looked very dapper.

In a way the circumstances of the dream reflected our situation. I was in a boarding house because that’s all I could afford. The rows of books perhaps were reference to my desire to write. And I woke and looked at him knowing that we had parted as friends.

Seeing him there smiling at me changed everything. As soon as I saw him I knew that everything was good again. I was relieved. He had come by on his way to the airport to see me. It had been on his mind too, and at the last-minute he had done something. That’s the friend I miss.

We sat and talked on my bed while the middle-aged landlady came by with bottles of Mexican pop to drink, and that’s how it ended.

What I do about it is a different story.

Monsters and friends

I’m dreaming so much lately that it’s disrupting my sleep. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t dreaming, but the last couple of weeks have been particularly intense. Thursday last week it was so full-on that I ended up sleeping late. That’s unheard of for me. I don’t use an alarm clock. but my body clock is so reliable that I wake up within one or two minutes of the same time each weekday morning. But not Thursday. When I opened my eyes proper it was 7.40 – and I had to catch the 7.50 train.

I was at it again last night. First was a monster dream. It was in some post apocalyptic world in which monsters roamed. There were only a few human beings left, and for some reason we had been divided into three-man teams deployed to scour the city, and take our chances with the monsters.

In the first part of the dream we were moving through a large city set by a river. For some reason in my mind I had it labelled as Paris, though it didn’t resemble it. In the second part we had found our way to an abandoned hotel where we met up with another three-man team. While we were there we got warning that a monster was coming our way. Rather than banding together to fight the monster we scattered, each of us to an empty room, waiting for the monster to come.

The understanding was that the monster would get at least one of us, but by scattering the who of it become a bit of a lottery. We were boxed in, the corridors taking a basic P shape, with the monster coming towards us by the stem. Most scattered into rooms along the stem, while I went further, taking an inside room around the other side. We all waited for the monster to come, and for the sounds of some wretched soul being eaten alive.

The dream never quite progressed to that stage, with my dream mind instead focusing on the best strategy to deal with a situation like this. Hiding in a room seemed a trap that left you with no options. In those particular circumstances I favoured instead staying mobile, loitering near the head of the P and waiting to see which side the monster would come, and evading him that way.

The next dream was sketchy, except I know it featured the friend I parted with on Thursday. There was no reference to that. In the dream he was as he used to be, warm and caring. It’s no surprise I dreamt of him. I’ve thought much about what happened – losing a long-term friend is no easy thing. I believe in being decisive – anything less tends to make things messy – but I regret that I gave him no warning of what I felt. Things have been bad for some time, and it’s something I have considered for nearly a year, but still I think I should have given told him first how close I was to pulling the pin. (Now I have to figure out what the right thing to do is – but suspect the damage can’t be undone, and perhaps should be left to lie).

There were other dreams too, a night full of them. The result is each day I don’t feel quite as rested as I should.

And so on

I had an unusual and interesting dream last night. It was in the form of a This Is Your Life show, except instead of interviewing people from your past they showed video clips of key moments, as if there had been a movie camera there filming all along.

You wonder at dreams like this, where they come from, what they mean. If dreams are a kind of conjuring of the inner and obscured consciousness then what is presented is an alternative take of a subjective reality.

The dream proceeded as I sat in the guest’s chair watching these scenes flash up on-screen to the garrulous commentary of the presenter. You know the drill, all very cheesy. There was something ominous in it though. It presented as straight-forward, but some of the commentary began to become pointed, and even in my own eyes some of what I saw didn’t measure up to what I remembered of it. And taken as a whole – and this seemed to be the commentators slant – it didn’t really add up to much.

I woke after the dream and thought it through, wanting to remember it come morning. There seemed something in it I should know.

I took Rigby for a walk before and as he surged ahead, as he stopped to take a sniff, as he did all his usual doggy things I considered what the dream might mean.

There seemed an obvious interpretation, and on reflection it seemed valid.

I like to think of myself as having enjoyed a colourful life to date. Things might be tough now, and even miserable occasionally, but gee, I’ve had an interesting ride. And I’ve done things.

I pondered those things one by one. One of the central interests in my life has been travel, and I’m proud to have travelled reasonably extensively. Yet many people have travelled widely, and many of them much more widely than I have. I’ve made a lot of money at times in my life, but then I’ve lost it too. It makes for an interesting story, but on a reflection, a story has almost become cliché. As it stands I’m at the bottom of the ‘having lost a lot of money’ curve right now, and that’s no fun.

So then, what else? I’ve been a business owner twice over. My consulting business, and then my venture as owner of a massage shop. That makes for some interesting stories too, and an amusing/surreal chapter of my memoirs, but then that’s hardly novel either.

I considered my romantic attachments. There’s certainly some unusual stories in that lot, some of which I trot out occasionally for the amusement of others – like the girl who tried to pay for our drinks bill with her knickers; or the boss’s wife who became so obsessed by me that she began to stalk me. Then there’s the story about how I came to inadvertently date two women from the same office. Then of course there are the regular romantic entanglements I’ve found myself bound up in.

Yes, it’s all good fodder, but it’s true, it adds up to fuck all. Where am I today?

And so on.

Now I don’t recount all of this now with the intention of getting down on myself. What’s done is done, and it’s not my way to dwell on the negatives. The learning from this is to look twice, and not rely on the sepia glow of memory to paint a picture prettier than the truth.

I’m very big on the journey. You live life to absorb experience, knowledge and maybe a little wisdom. You want your eyes opened, to taste and feel and hear truly. This is what these things amount to. They are things I have done or experienced, and the person I am today is a product of that. That’s been the familiar explanation of my life.

It is important to do, but you also want to achieve. Sometimes the destination means a lot.

When I look at it I’ve achieved a lot over the years, but much of what I’ve achieved over the journey has been also lost over the journey. That’s not just me, that’s the nature of much of life: things are transient. Today’s achievement is tomorrow’s old news, and in a year often meaningless altogether.

All the same, I wonder what this dream is telling me: Ok H, you’ve had a colourful life sure, maybe even some grand moments, but hardly unique – and what do you have to show for it? Try not to gild the lily H. What’s happened is in the past, no matter how interesting. It’s gone, and what do you have left of it today?

Of course one answer to that is that I’m still going. That’s fair enough, I am. If I am to have that dream in another twenty years then it maybe more pleasing.

What it means for me now is to focus more on tangible goals. Practical outcomes. It’s funny, I forecast a little of that yesterday, and I wonder if the dream I had was some reflection of that.

I’m still learning. One of the things I’ve come to realise that when you’re down and nearly out the mystical notion of ‘the journey’ is an indulgence. It’s a rich man’s whimsy. The journey will look after itself, but right now you need food on the table, money in the bank, someone to share it with, and a clear and meaningful way forward to build upon.

The necessity of tears

I dream so much these days it’s hardly worth making mention of. And it’s not just any old dreams, they’re dreams full of meaning and emotion. It’s like my conscious life is being dissected and turned inside out and exposed unconsciously in my dreams.

I think there’s more truth in my dreams than there is my daily life. Perhaps it was ever so, but the difference now seems more critical than ever before. It’s understandable. Perhaps it’s even necessary.

I think I’m reasonably honest with myself, but there is the need for conscious intervention. I’m forever steeling myself, urging myself on, trying to be strong, to push through. With such a narrow focus on getting from one day to the next I barely contemplate the things outside of that. My dreams do though.

Last night I found myself sobbing in one dream. It felt good to just be and let it out. It happened during a sequence of complex dreams that seemed to deal with mental frailty. Not mine – I was the protagonist in the dreams seeking to help others, and to find a better way. Perhaps significantly I was frustrated in my dreams that there seemed no avenue for people to seek help, and be open about their fears and concerns.

In one of those funny twists I designed an app in one of the dreams to help manage this. In the dream it seemed a very clever solution to a condition prevailing in so many. I felt as if I understood the reasons why, and one of the answers was to bring it out into the open.

There’s no doubt that I’ve been running on empty for a very long time. Somehow I’m lucky in that I can replenish my meagre reserves every so often so that I never sputter to a complete stop. It only needs a little to get me by. My good fortune is others misfortune.

I survive because I’m inherently a positive person. Come the crunch I come down on that side of the ledger. So far anyway. There are many more without the power of positive belief to support them. When they get crunched they tumble to the negative side. Anything is possible then.

I believe still in a future, and that belief stems from self belief. I can do it. I have it. Just give me a chance. That’s where the frustration comes in of course. Opportunities are rare.

I get by, but clearly there are things happening beneath the surface of my life. I’m so tough in so many ways, more so than I would like to be, but so sensitive too. I don’t know if any of my friends have ever seen me in tears. I think most people who know me think I’m incredibly stoic, and strong. That may be the wash-up, but getting there is different.

I find myself regularly in tears these days. Generally it starts watching the news. I cried watching the events unfold in Paris, several times. I cry when I hear of sad things, or unjust things, or at kind things. There are prompts for my tears, but it’s hard not to believe that the tears are not already there, unshed. I might cry on behalf of others, but I do so on my own behalf too.

I always feel faintly annoyed by this. I don’t mind feeling things, but I’m still old school enough to wish I wouldn’t tear up at them. More than anything I dislike the loss of control. It feels as if I’m always on that edge and that anything might set it off. It’s so totally incongruous when you consider what an absolute hard arse I am at other times.

The tears come because that’s all I have left. The buffer that kept me from crying before has been eroded by time and circumstances. They’re like a circuit breaker – I need to cry, and so I do. They’re like oil that lubricate the system. When I can’t cry anymore is when I’ll be trouble. What I need is to re-build that buffer, but that will only happen in better times.

As part of this I’m still haunted by the death of my mother. I don’t mention this much, and in truth it’s not something I think of often – but I feel, regularly. It’s a key reason I cry – not because she died, but because she’s not there. Or, more accurately, because no-one is there.

What I lost when mum died was someone who loved me unconditionally, someone who cared for me, someone I could always turn to. I existed in her eyes. Each time I cry I remember this, and I realise when I cry for myself it’s because I’m alone and must do it all myself. I can’t be weak, because there’s no-one there to help prop me up. Tears ease that pressure, but then it all starts again.

That’s for the record.