Saturday, March 22, 2008

Nightmares About The Old Homestead

Whenever the holidays creep up on me I am besieged by nightmares about living "at home."

In these dreams I am back in my old bedroom -- though it's somehow mixed with my current bedroom -- with all the old (long-dead) pets and problems. I am always an adult, but all my family members are the same age they were when I left home fifteen years ago.

I wake up wondering if this is some sort of "arrested development" thing, like I'm still the person I was back then, or still clutching the apron strings. This makes me nervous.

But last night I woke up and had a sudden revelation: I don't dream about "the old home" because I somehow wish I were back there...I dream about it because it is still accessible. The lines of influence between me and the family are still there. I'm just a phone call or a car ride away, so even though I'm no longer physically INSIDE the house I am still connected TO it, and these dreams about "the old homestead" are really just dreams about the continuing relationship that I have with my parents...the house itself is merely a convenient setting, the old bedroom a symbol for my own apartment here, the hallways are places where my family and I meet again.

So I'm NOT necessarily regressive or conflicted, I'm just dreaming about meeting my parents again. Whew!

This doesn't, however, explain all those dreams about being naked in highschool.

12 comments:

jj said...

am besieged by nightmares about living "at home. ...
like I'm still the person I was back then,


Hey I know exactly what you mean. I used to get these nightmares about needing to study for the one remaining subject in college. And I would wake up convinced I had not graduated. This went on for a long time. It was only after I had become legitimately more competent than 90% of the guys who work in my industry that dreams went away. It still took cleaning up my drawer and physically seeing my degree certificate, but still ...

So, deep down, you have an anxiety about never having grown up. Why? Me? I never grew up. :-)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

When I define "growing up," I think of it as "world competence and self-sufficiency." In many ways I have achieved this but in some I'm still very ignorant. So dreams in which I'm in a childish situation sometimes make me worry that my brain is telling me something about my maturity. :)

I still have the "I didn't study for this exam" dreams; sometimes they're about Univeristy but they're usually about highschool. I can only assume that my fears now are similar to the fears that I had back then.

Still awfully strange having those dreams, though.

Kimber said...

I think it's kinda nice that you still have a place to nightmare about or to go home to if you so choose. My sister and I no longer have the luxury of visiting the home where we grew up; my Dad's cabin is the closest thing to "home" we have now.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

That's a good point; maybe you miss those amazing winding shrubs in the front yard too.

There's good and bad in all of this stuff.

The Vicar of VHS said...

I used to have nightmares about finding myself naked in my first morning class at college.

Then someone reminded me of the time I actually DID show up naked to my first class of the day, and suddenly it all made sense. :)

jj said...

> self-sufficiency

Here's my take on that. There is abject dependency - which is of course bad but we are socially networked animals and one of the key life skills IS to rope in the help of others to get your job done. I know, I know asking for someone's help makes you feel incompetent, but it IS a very important life skill to develop.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Hey JJ, I never asked for your help about this! :)

Seriously, you're right, there's a big difference between "social connection" and "abject dependency."

Kimber said...

I do miss the hedges...and the apple tree!

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Usually, in my nightmares about University, I am just wearing the wrong shoes.

scott said...

In your dreams do you still have the bunk beds?

I wish I had bunk beds, sometimes.

jj said...

Oh, don't worry. I wasn't asking you to take my help. But if you need it, you should have the grace to take help. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Ahh, those crazy, rickety, wooden bunk beds! The perfect place to shove all the junk that you're not currently looking at. You know, I'd forgotten all about those.

Actually my dreams usually put my bedroom in the old location, but my bedroom itself is my CURRENT bedroom, which partially lead me to my conclusion that the house is just a symbol for continued family access.