Funny, how different things are now. The transition happened slowly for the most part, with only a few exceptions. Your world of sleep and dreams used to be everything for you. The waking life saw maybe half a dozen memorable events each year, and everything else in your memory storehouse was what happened during sleep.
Your first memories are almost all exclusively dreams. What does that say about you?
You can still recall vividly, as if you dreamed it yesterday, the dream of having a detachable penis. You were age three or four. The memorable one saw your penis grow hard, then it broke, and a green plasma oozed out. It was part of a series of such dreams that left you waking up terrified. Many times in the dream, it was perfectly natural, but you would wake up and be very unsettled, knowing even at that age it was not.
There was the dream of your great grandmother’s head stuck in your window sill, while her body ran around in the yard below and she squawked at it.
Many nights, you would lapse into a half-dream state, even as your mother read you to sleep. In this state, her character would take on an evil nature, and the outer parts of your visible world became sphere-like. It was as if you lived inside a giant ball that rolled around. Being quite young, you couldn’t articulate the notion that you’d entered an alternate universe, but you were very keen on believing that you’d slipped into an equally real world where your mother, who was mostly a saint, became mostly evil.
Dreams of your mother leaping from the photograph in the hall and running to the foot of your bed, still scaled to be the same size as in the picture, to beseech you for something you couldn’t fathom. You were only five, and were filled with utter terror.
A dream where you floated through the house, hovering around in your brothers’ rooms, then hovering over your dream self still asleep–the dream you being a boy who was so messy he left his toys in bed with him when he went to sleep.
A dream where men broke into the house and rubbed your penis with pieces of denim, grinning madly.
A dream where a man of the future was racing through a Mad Max type landscape (though you’d not seen the movie) to avoid having his car become ensnared by a giant device that sliced the car transversely clean through, slicing him in half as well. You woke from this one with a sinking feeling that this might very well be your future.
Not too many years later, when all of these bizarre dreams (and they were indeed bizarre for a boy who was permitted to watch very little television and no movies) had subsided, you found yourself at the mercy of night terrors and the phantoms of sleep paralysis. You’d experienced sleep paralysis when you were quite young, but had simply noted it to your mom, and she’d told you it was perfectly natural to wake up sometimes before your body.
But then, the horror. The certain knowing that when you woke in this state, someone or something was in the room with you, or approaching the door and about to walk through it. Soon, your little self (always with your back turned), would be getting tickled and whispered to by strange men, beasts and aliens.
Throughout high school you were quite prone to get up, walk downstairs, and have random conversations with your still-awake parents, who often were quite uncertain at first if you were asleep or not.
It was not until you went to college that you started to control these things. You read books on astral travel and postulated that many of the beings that sad on your chest were simply versions of you–your subconscious astral self trying to get out or come back in your body. You experimented with keeping a dream journal and producing lucid dreams.
One of your last most vivid lucid dreams came weeks before your little brother died. You visited a woman who claimed to be an usherer of the dead, helping those who’d recently passed find their way into the much more vast and terrifying reality of the afterlife. You asked her what death was like, and then she pointed to a little girl and told you to ask the girl instead.
Then, Roy died, and you were terrified that very night of being visited by his ghost.
You never had a dream that seemed quite so realistic after that.
There were many more night terrors to come–leaving you sometimes so badly bruised and shaken by the experience of waking up, thinking you were inside some horrible reality where you were about to be crushed or suffocated, and thrashing about, destroying whatever lamps or objects happened to be in your immediate waking vicinity.
Olivia never forgave you for destroying her grandfather’s antique lamp. You woke from that night terror especially bruised and terrified, and this was at the tail end of your relationship with her, so her only concern was for the lamp.
Your latest one was a month ago, and the entire inside of your right leg was blackened with bruising from you apparently trying to get off of the bed (which once was Kelly’s grandfather’s, but that’s neither here nor there) which has a hardwood foot.
But, most of the time, you do not remember your dreams. When you do, they are generally weak and simply reflective of whatever fears or hopes are pressing your waking mind at the moment.
Dreams do not transform you anymore. You don’t fly in them like you used to. Almost never do you wake up from a dream thinking about reality differently. You don’t wake up from them believing that you’d ventured into an alternate reality, higher plane or other place every bit as real as the waking world. While you still believe very much in the existence of some of these places, your dreams no longer take you there.
Why is it this way?
It could be that your renewed and intensified faith in Jesus prevents you from seeing such experimentation as being blessed or good. Perhaps your fear of encountering your little brother is so great that it has thrown a wall of fear too high for you to ever access these dimensions again until you die. Or, maybe your adult self has just become too enmeshed in this waking reality, like everyone else. You live for being able to wake up and experience this reality, to enjoy food and sex and coffee. With so many stimulants and attention-demanding factors coursing through your brain, you may have simply been conditioned to keep your focus on the waking world.
But, what irks you the most about all of it is that you know there is a vast part of you that you have never gained control of. The subconscious demons that spring forth throughout the day when you are knocked off kilter–these are the entities that you must conquer. There are patterns of behavior, moments of instantly shifting out of focus and losing your perspective, that you know you could fix if you could wake up inside your dreams again and take control.