I’m starting a new category called “Dream journal”.
I don’t know if I’m a more prolific dreamer, or if my dreams are more unusual, but I’m probably the only one who looks forward to having dreams every night. I liken sleep to an inter-continental flight and dreams are the in-flight movies, without which I’ll be bored. I know it sounds strange to feel bored during sleep, when one is supposed to be unconscious, but that’s how I feel when I wake up without dreaming. Maybe, if I seek entertainment even when I’m supposed to rest, I simply don’t want to sleep. Also you never know what will come up in your dreams and that excites me.
I don’t care if it’s a sweet dream or nightmare; just give me something to watch in my slumber.
* * *
And last night, I had a nightmare.
I found myself in a translation lecture, taught by an old lecturer known for his Spartan ways. He believes in hardening students with humiliation.
He asked a student to translate a sentence. She did it very well. Then it was my turn, and I made a mess.
The lecturer yelled, “WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR MALFUNCTION? ARE YOU DREAMING? (Exactly!) YOU LEFT SO MANY WORDS UNTRANSLATED AND ADDED THINGS THAT AREN’T THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY TIME HERE?”
I begged for a second chance, which attracted more humiliation: “I’LL GIVE YOU ONE MORE CHANCE EVEN THOUGH A LOSER LIKE YOU DOESN’T DESERVE IT! BUT BE QUICK, YOU’RE JUST WASTING EVERYONE’S TIME!”
The second attempt was even worse. My brain jellified and I totally screwed up. The way the lecturer stared at me made me feel like the lowliest, filthiest vermin in the world.
The shame was too much to bear. I opened the window and jumped out, but I woke up seconds before splattering myself on the floor.
* * *
How do you interpret this dream? I think it reflects my obsession with being “correct” all the time and my fear of making mistakes, or perceived mistakes. If you know me then you also know that I’m a silent person. The fact is, I can’t speak without mulling over these questions: How might others misunderstand and misinterprete my words? Are there holes in my logic? Do I really have anything new/useful to contribute to the conversation, or am I just stating the obvious and will I look stupid for that? Is my response concise and to-the-point? Are the pronunciation and intonation proper? Am I using the most accurate words? Most of the time, and especially to strangers, I can’t speak at all because I get side-tracked by these questions and the anxiety is too much to bear.
That’s why I blog so slowly because when one Kevin writes, twenty Kevins would censor the post.
For many years I believed I should keep my mouth shut unless spoken to, because presumably no one is interested in what I say. Any attempt to find listener risks drawing contempt. And even when spoken to, I should keep my response to a minimum unless I’m certain it is a genuine attempt to solicit my opinion, to play safe. Otherwise I would look like a fool by assuming that people would care.
I think I’m recovering from such cancerous thinking, and I hope it won’t relapse.