Do you have dreams? No, I’m not talking about wild aspirations that you may or may not ever realise. I’m talking about the phase in your sleep where you are part of a multitude of (sometimes) outrageous scenarios. The phase in your sleep where you get to be the star of an incredible story, where you are friends with your idol, you own the fastest car, you have the ability to fly or you’re walking amongst dinosaurs.
Since I can remember, I have had dreams and an excellent dream recall. My younger brother is the same. I have a vivid memory of us as children, we must have been 5 and 7, discussing a dream he had the previous night about Lego. He dreamt of being in a fantastic world of Lego, where everything was made of Lego. You could pick a piece of Lego from the wall, and a new piece would replace it. Anything you desired in Lego would magically appear, and hours of Lego ecstasy could be had in this magical Lego world. Ok, so Leon and I may have embellished the dream a little as we got carried away discussing this spectacular world. But what was obvious was that we both shared the same ability to recall our dreams, and we both enjoyed and savoured our dreams.
As adults, my brother and I are both the same. I enjoy having dreams, and remember every single one when I wake up. If I am in light enough sleep, I am able to control the destiny of the dream as it is happening, changing events that happen and essentially taking it in the direction I want it to go. I sometimes have recurring dreams. They’re not necessarily exactly the same, more like a recurring theme.
One of these themes are tornados. I frequently dream that I can see a tornado in a distant storm, or that the tornado is close by and we need to take shelter. In these dreams, I’m constantly having to convince everyone in the dream that we must get underground, or get into the centre of the house, to avoid getting sucked out by the twister. In most of my tornado dreams, nobody believes that there is a tornado, or that there is any real need to take shelter. In some dreams there are more than one twister. I don’t think the twister has ever reached us, but there is always a panic that it is going to hit.
The other recurring theme I have is my parents’ old house. I frequently dream that we still live in that little semi-detached cottage in Tolworth. I never dream about my parents’ current house, despite the fact that they’ve been living there since I was 16. Perhaps I dream of the old house because of the teenage years that I lived there. It is odd.
In between my recurring dreams, I have dreams about having unique abilities or strengths. Wonderful abilities such as being a skilled fighter, similar to one of the Street Fighter II characters (I was brought up on SNES). I sometimes dream that I am an amazing singer (I’m not one of those) or that I am famous (I would hate that). I dream about extraordinary things happening within ordinary scenes. I dream about regular, normal everyday scenes that wouldn’t seem too far from reality if I didn’t know any better.
I also dream in a combination of black and white and colour. I think the majority of the scenes I dream about are in black and white, but I can recall flashes of colour. So specific objects in my dreams will have a pop of colour amongst the black and white. I believe it is the norm to dream in black and white, and a rarity to dream in colour. I may be wrong.
Of course, with having excellent dream recall, I also have excellent nightmare recall. I’ve never, or have rarely had night terrors, but I do have nightmares from time to time. I’ve noticed a pattern to the occurrence of my nightmares. If I’ve been in a dream for too long, if the theme has stayed the same for a long time, or I’m trying to get somewhere in the dream and am unable to, the dream starts to turn nasty on me. At first there are small signs that the dream is going bad. Where there were blue skies before, the sky becomes clouded over. The weather changes. Or there is a loss of light and the scene becomes progressively dark. Before I know it, something frightening is imminent. I’m being chased, something dangerous is about to happen like a car crash or a plane dropping out of the sky.
Nothing really bad ever happens, because the nightmare usually scares me enough to wake up. And I usually wake up and realise that I’m desperate for the loo, and that my brain very cleverly engineered my dream to scare me to wake up and go to the loo.
There are other dreams that happen that aren’t strictly nightmares, because they don’t terrify me enough to wake me up. However, the content of these dreams is so bleak that when I do wake up, I feel overwhelmingly sad or worried. Dreams where something horrible happens to my husband, parents or even my children. I had one of these dreams last night. In the dream, my elder son Finley was buried alive in our car because there was an underground explosion. I don’t know why he was in the car alone, but he was dragged into an enormous underground hole, along with hundreds of other people. In the dream, Ian and I were on a bus clinging to the hope that somehow he’d be found alive. The hopeless dream went on and on. Eventually I woke up, and it was the middle of the night at about 2am. I didn’t need the loo, but seconds after I woke up and felt the overwhelming urge to go and see Finley, Finley walked into our room. He came to the bed and I couldn’t have been happier to see him and let him come in for a cuddle. I couldn’t help but think that there was some strange connection with my dream and Finley waking up at that precise moment.
Despite my occasionally disturbing dreams and nightmares, I love and enjoy my dreams. Having the ability to steer my dreams in whichever direction I choose is a cool thing to do, and being able to recall them feels special too. Most of the people I talk to are not able to recall their dreams. My husband seems to forget his dreams the second he wakes up, whereas I hold onto the emotions and sentiments of lovely dreams well into my morning.
What do you dream about? Do you have dream recall and the ability to control your dream? Do you dream in colour or black and white? I’d love to hear about it.