22 March 2006


(thank you ward-- for letting me borrow this picture)

the other night, I dreamt that I went to a new salon in the area and begged for an appointment. miraculously, they had an opening and the woman immediately began to cut my hair. and she cut the bangs just like I'd been wanting though what I ended up with was a head full of extensions that seemed to be cut from an old black embroidered rug (sort of a choppy, stylish bob-- think raggedy ann meets eighties punk). and for a brief moment, I thought maybe I could really work this look, maybe I could pull it off. but then the reality of having carpet strips for hair sunk in and all I could think of was what my mom would say (because if she couldn't refrain from saying something about my super-cuffed jeans, she most certainly would have some words for this new hair). so I began to try to pull out the extensions, which seemed to be attached with some sort of thick wax. my stylist had disappeared (of course) and I began to plead with everyone in the salon-- please, someone help me get these out, please! and then I targeted the stylist standing closest to me, a hipster with a faux hawk and an orange tan: what, am I not cool enough to be helped? am I not wearing the right clothes? why aren't you helping me? why won't anyone help me? I'm never coming back, I screamed. my tirade brought nothing but blank looks and apathetic responses, which sent me into a graphic rage of epic proportions. and the dream went on and on like this and other equally strange things took place both before and after the whole hair salon sequence, but this is the scene that stuck with me, the one I can't seem to shake. it's funny, really. I laugh when I think about it but I'm also a little creeped out and not exactly sure why.

so I've been thinking about dreams a great deal the last couple of days, about how strange they really are. like, if you really really stop and think about it, if you earnestly try to understand the nuts and bolts of dreaming-- it's just the strangest thing. this idea that elaborate stories take place in our minds while we sleep, most of which we have absolutely no control over, it's so strange. not ground-breaking news (I realize) but all the same-- infinitely odd.

do you dream most nights? do you dream in black and white? or color? do you have nightmares? do you have recurring dreams? do you remember your dreams? do you write them down?

I have recurring dreams that involve losing my teeth. or dreams that revolve around me showing up at school whereupon I suddenly realize I've missed two weeks of class and am in no way prepared to take the exams. or, I am called on to perform and am supposed to be prepared but do not know the choreography or text. either way, panic sets in and it's all very unsettling because it all feels so real. once, I dreamt that I bought a kharman ghia convertible (my dream car) and I swear, I woke up in The Greatest Mood Ever because I really, truly believed I owned one. I believed that as soon as I left the house that morning, I'd be driving to school in the newly purchased convertible. it wasn't until I was on my second bowl of cheerios that I realized that this was not AT ALL true. I was genuinely disappointed too, as if there were ever really a chance that I might own such a fabulous little vehicle.

I've flipped through the books. the ones that you see while you're standing in line at the grocery store, the ones on the bargain table at the book store. I know that personal stresses and issues find their way into dreams, that there's all kinds of symbolism and subconscious meaning attached to dreams, I know this. I suppose I should pay closer attention to what's going on inside my head in the dead of night-- I should try to make the dreams work for me, use them as an inside track or something. but I don't, not usually. I enjoy them as if they were movies and love to tell ward (or anyone who will listen) every last detail.

dreams are strange.


  1. I started to answer your questions, but then my comment was getting so long that I decided I'd just blog about it tomorrow instead.

    Fascinating topic and I love the photo.

  2. I, too, have always had such vivid dreams. And there's a great story about my nightmares over the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz, and how my parents thought it would be a great idea to put a tape recorder in my room so I could tell my dream to the machine instead of waking them up every stinkin' night...I'll blog about that sometime. But, yeah, dreams are SO odd. Some nights (like perhaps you hair extension dream night) I wake up exhausted from them, and that's just no help at all.

  3. i LOVE this post. i've been reading your blog for a while but never comment...

    i have tons of dreams and i always remember something every day about my dreams. i have all kinds of dreams - the ones where i'm super-hero-like (all flyin' around), the one where i show up for school and i have 30 books to read to make up for the semester i've missed and then just the random dreams that i can never figure out.

    they are always in the bright, bold colors that i love.

    ah, dreams. it's the brain's form of exercise.

  4. I have a couple re-curring dreams from childhood although not so much anymore. Dreams are so strange. The photo is terrific.

  5. wow. i am so glad you blogged about this today, i have been stuck in last nights dream since i woke up this morning. a vivid nightmare that my mother's car had blown up and she had run away injured and we couldn't find her. i woke up to a phone call from my mother who was in the middle of a total meltdown. i have not been able to shake the coincidence of it all day.
    somehow this post made me feel a little bit calmer about it... thanks.

  6. I agree. Dreams are amazing wonderful creations of the mind. I don't think I could ever consciously come up with some of the stuff my dreaming mind can dream up.

  7. the words returned.... perfect photo for the post... your talented husband!

    oh boy can o' worms here... sometimes i have vivid dreams, sometimes i wake up and they fade away. i mostly dream in color.... but dreams fascinate me too. so much that i bought this funny 1960's book that is called 1000 dream interpretations or something like that and have sworn that somehow it [or its contents] will end up in my artwork....

  8. i write them down - somehow even the scary ones make me laugh when i go back to read what i've written

  9. Always dream, always in color, always remember them. They often give me a psychological hangover, for better or worse. And your anxiety dreams are exactly the same as mine, if you substitute singing for dancing. What is it about losing teeth? It's a totally classic anxiety dream.

  10. I've had the one where I am set to graduate from college and I forgot an independent study class all semester (science, mind you)and I'm screwed and my parents have already bought the airline ticket to come to the commencment.... but, I must say that since I divorced my first husband, I haven't had that dream once. Hmmmmmmm? I was a dancer also, and I had the not knowing choreography one as well - or missing a performance, or having costume issues. dreams are pretty cool things. sometimes I wake myself up laughing because of my dreams. last time that happened, I was dreaming something about a tap dance - either trying to teach it or laughing at someone trying to do it.

  11. I had a dream that our friend Jae was crying and wouldn't let me hug him the other night; so I wrote him a note. He wrote me an email and said that he was going through some things, so thanks for the note.....dreams are weird.

  12. i agree...
    the whole dream process
    is very odd.

    and i also
    dream about losing my teeth...
    and i always wake up
    feeling very upset
    and odd...


  13. dreams, wow! i almost always remember them-especially the anxiety dreams. tornados are a reoccuring theme for me. one big one coming or lots of (still big) little ones that we are trying to save eachother from. but recently they have been tsunami dreams. three different ones I can recall for you verbatim, one i died (woke up at the point of death) and the other two the huge wave was upon me and i realized i didnt have the kids with me. the tragedy of it all awakened me.

    the other major reoccuring theme is either my husband liking someone else and i dont understand how it happened, or i lose the kids and spend the dream trying to find them.

    i guess mine are usually due to anxiety!

  14. Here is one explanation:

    Language of the Mind: Teeth are the first instruments of the digestive system. In a dream, teeth symbolize a means of
    assimilating knowledge. Losing teeth is a common symbol in a dream indicating a change in the way the dreamer assimilates what
    is learned.

  15. I dream like a crazy person - always VIVED and lots of times scary and always memorable and interesting. I'm much more interesting when I'm asleep than when I'm awake.

  16. Aren't our brains magnificent...the things they'll do when we're not actively in control! I also dream often about missing several weeks of class, or signing up and never going at all...I think another odd thing is that almost all of my dreams occur in my childhood home, if a home is the setting. Sometimes it's still my parents home, sometimes It's mine and my husbands, sometimes it belongs to other people...but always the same house.

  17. you funny girl! i so can feel that horrible feeling of having a number like that done on your hair. i think it's acutally happened to me for real. well, not wax, and extensions, but color and cut....but nonetheless, dreams are definitely strange aliens. it seems lately i haven't been having dreams, maybe thats because i haven't hit rem mode yet or something since i'm living on light sleep hours these days, but when i did it was usually unsettling, and involved me needing to scream so someone could hear me and i'd scream, and nothing would come out! yikes! i'll have to tell you about one of noah's he had lately. it's hilarious. involves tube slides replacing our stairs.

  18. i have the teeth dreams all the time. so cliche, it irks me! i think i am actually living the hair nightmare... altho i did a bit of damage control with my own scissors:)

  19. You mention about dreams being like movies to enjoy -- I very rarely remember any of my dreams. One time, though, I remember having a dream in cinemascope widescreen! Cool!

  20. I have experienced the whole range from terrifying to blissfull but my favorite is the time I was leaning over the front of a very fast sail boat with dolphins all around keeping pace and suddenly I leapt foward and was flying just above the dolphins swimming all racing away - truly blissful.

  21. For years I had constant nightmares-- either abandonment scenarios, or full-on hallucinations of giant spiders or swarms of bees. Needless to say, it wreaked havoc on my sleep, and waking hours.

    Imagine dreaming every night your boyfriend was cheating on you and laughing at your despair, then waking up next to him, trying to get the dream out of your mind so you can go about your day without being mad at him.

    I'm happy to say I don't have these dreams anymore. Don't know why. I'm certainly a lot happier than I used to be, and sober, and a mother, and without a boyfriend.

    I try to pay attention to my dreams. They say a lot. I look at the themes. Like in yours, you're making a decision about yourself, kind of in haste, that your mother doesn't approve of. You doubt yourself and you panic. Does that sound like a situation that's going on right now? Or is it a pattern?

    (Not that I expect you to answer me, a perfect stranger. I just have diarrhea of the keyboard.)

    And Kharman Ghias are awesome!

  22. i think dreams are fascinating and i often have real doozys. a few years ago i kept a dream journal religiously and even paid a weekly visit to a jungian dream analyst. i don't do that anymore but i'm still fascinated with the idea that maybe a part of me that i don't listen to, don't express enough chooses to show up when i sleep. i think that's cool.

  23. dreams

    i have them. very vivid once. and it is often hard to shake them off in the morning. if it was a good dream i love it....like your kharma ghia story (of course you want a kharma ghia.....of course you do it makes sense....you are a genius!). but the bad ones...not so fun to wake up with.

    i don't have alot of natural disaster dreams. mostly dreams about people and places. i should blog about this. i have had some dreams that have come true. i believe God can and does speak to us in dreams.

    this is a huge topic. too big for a comment. i have heard that the teeth dreams mean God is trying to tell you something. i don't know if that is true. and i think that God is so huge, that if He is trying to tell you something He won't hide it from you. so i don't know .....

    but i love dreams. i love good ones. i love that it can be like an escape....a movie you get to be a part of....

    great post & perfect photo choice

  24. i think that dreaming of losing your teeth could be about growing up, in a way, because we lose our baby teeth when we are becoming children, it is a developmental pain. maybe you are growing up into a new stage, a new developmental stage. maybe you are entering into adulthood in new ways, something like that. thanks for the dancing for the fearful beginner tips, i am dancing at home alone now, getting used to it. lots of love.

  25. Hey, poet. It sounds as if you and I, and a few other people who have commented about this post, are plagued by reoccurring dreams of losing our teeth. I've read it IS a classic manifestation of anxiety. They say a dream where your teeth are falling out is really about trying to control something in your life that you have no power over. Usually In the dream, we have no control over what's happening, which causes so much anxiety! I have this one often, unfortunately!

    I also dream very vividly in color, and my dreams have a tendency to be be very cinematic. I guess I watch too many movies!!! I'm often amazed how in my dreams, I can conjure up whole memories from a childhood I never had, and they feel like my memories.

    Or I buy some great new coat or shirt or something that I love, only to wake up realizing I will never own it. So disappointing.

    I also have way too many nightmares about alien takeovers of Earth. Who knows what that means. Usually, they're terrifying, and they also seem like movies.