February 22, 2019

Dream Disturbances

“It’s happened more times than I’d like to admit: I’ve just woken up from a vivid dream during which my partner has lied/cheated/otherwise been a complete asshole. I look over at him, ready to fight. But he’s still sleeping, one arm slung over the comforter like he doesn’t have a care in the world, completely oblivious.

Later, when he finally does wake up, I try to recount how deeply he hurt me in my dream, but I fail. Other things—like the emails on my phone or our whining Miniature Pinscher—have distracted me. I can’t remember what my partner did or where we were or who was with us. But the feelings of hurt linger.

He stares at me with a blank look on his face as I try to recall the overnight journey that impacted me so much. It feels important that he knows his role in my dream. Eventually, however, I give up.

In a 2013 episode, the popular radio program This American Life included dreams on its list of seven things people should never talk about. Amy Schumer also alluded to this societal taboo in a comedy sketch in 2015 about offering paid services to listen to boring conversations. Her closing line: “We will not listen to your dreams. We are not saints.””

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