Thursday night, I dreamt that I’d died, only, no one would admit it. When I fell off the cliff, which is how I’d allegedly passed, I felt my neck go *pop* on the rocks beneath. But it was fine, I was fine. Then, suddenly, as happens in dreams and movies, I was in my grandma’s house. Whenever I’d say something, it was as if my family had sensed I’d spoken. Their responses felt like guesswork, good guesswork– my suspicion that I was maybe dead was only a faint one. Then I was on the motorway bearing witness to a car crash. The group of 20-something year olds, who were dressed like 2003, climbed out of the knackered car, and said it was fine, that they were fine. They’d ‘survived’ the crash, like I’d survived the fall. Then, we were all confined to some island, unable to leave. And I watched as they argued amongst themselves.
That week’s dreams were thematic. The night before that, I dreamt I was being harassed by a witch. She drove a car with a number plate that read ‘EV666’, and would enter through the flimsy backgate of my grandma’s house to make threats. I spent most of that dream hammering in wood over the smashed windows in the basement to discourage her from breaking in. On Friday, I dreamt that it had become legal to dispose of black people, and that I was being chased down my grandad’s road by people wearing purple t-shirts, welding metal bats and placards.
The theme of my subconscious was fear. I’d tried to play with the dreams at first. Thursday night’s dream had been about the hidden part of me that must feel dismissed and abandoned. Wednesday night’s was about opposition to my sacred intentions, and Friday’s was a satire. But really, their meanings were less specific.
Regardless of where you turn, a part of every dream theorem agrees that dreams feature the things we repress. It’s all about the quelling of certain emotions, but it’s also the revelations and the guidance that evades us in our conscious hours. I’ve concluded, from the sudden influx of self-awareness that has followed those three dreams, that I’m an incessantly frightened person.
“What if,” I thought sometime yesterday, “what if I don’t actually want eggs on toast tomorrow morning? What if I would rather porridge, and I just don’t know it? Or better yet, what if I don’t actually like my hair like this, even though I thought I did? What if I can’t stick with running (I’ve taken up running), what if the determination fades next month, or tomorrow?”
I found myself observing all of this, while blinking back the anxiety like a dolly with loose eyelids. I ambush myself with questions like these for much of a day, and with them is the insatiable need to dominate every eventuality; to lay down my plans like a slab on cement, so that I can avoid the horror of being in the dark. I’ll never know how everything will pan out, but it’s an addiction to control. And what is fear, if not that?
If you’re wondering how I deal with the big ones– the anxieties that have somewhat of a meaningful relationship with reality, I cope. The eternal state of fear I’ve chosen, made up of bricks and bricks of meagre misgivings, have made me good at suffering. But really, I am not as frightened of my own small indecisions as I’d have myself believe. I’m just scared of being scared.
The fear has a life of its own, so that it’s walking around with its own body, directing and starring in unconscious thrillers. What should I do with this revelation? The sole intention of fear is immobility. It either wants you to stand still so that something will come along and eat you, or worse, it wants you to sit down in a chair, and live your life from there. And all fears can be adapted to fit one question: what will happen if I lose control, if something unwanted happens?
Whether the unwanted thing is small or meteoric, the average person accepts that they do not fully know what lies on the other side of action. They seem to also accept that the level of discomfort will be too great, and that doing nothing, making no decision, and being frightened of fear, is the better feeling. Yet, the person who knows God is above average. Should I remember that I do, I’ll then know that my only job is developing the stomach for patience. Because, whether it takes some time to show itself or not, all that is unwanted is wanted. All things are good things. Terror for a christian is a night well-lit.