From a very young age, we’ve been taught that all our dreams and desires can come true with some hard work, determination and a little bit of luck.
Judy Garland sang that all it takes is crossing over a rainbow. Jiminy Cricket told us to simply wish upon a star. And John Hughes created films such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to demonstrate how the impossible may be a mere weekend detention, party dress or skipped school day away from the possible.
What happens when we don’t want our dreams to come true, though? What happens when we don’t think of the word “dream” as a construct meaning goals and ultimate endpoints but examine it as a subconscious act of the night symbolizing the thoughts and fears that plague us each day?
John Lennon said, “I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”
Well, that’s a good point, Mr. Lennon.
As we get older, it is much easier to see how our dreams and nightmares do, in fact, reflect the here and now. And that sometimes, the “here and now” is not necessarily an ideal outcome.
Think back to childhood. You wake up from a peaceful sleep in a warm, cozy bed and sift through the images that just ran through your mind.
There were familiar faces and strangers. You might have been in a fairy tale setting or running around a world never before seen. It may have been happy, or it may have been a nightmare. Whatever occurred in the dream, though, would soon escape your thoughts as nothing more than a distant memory as the day progressed.
As we grow, though, dreams become much more real. The alarm goes off, and rather than revel in fields of flowers or an epic battle fought alongside super heroes, we mull over symbolic images of worries, anxieties, relationships and question marks of the future.
These are the dreams that start the day on the wrong foot. They leave an unsettling feeling in the pit of our stomachs and result in Googling “dream meanings” or consulting a dream dictionary.
These are the dreams we don’t want to come true.
When I was younger, I had a dream about a demonic purple monkey. Initially, the monkey was my friend, and we would laugh and play along the paths of my subconscious.
It didn’t take long for my friend to turn evil and strive for world domination, though. Imagine a stuffed purple monkey standing amidst rising flames and then hanging from the Empire State Building King Kong-style. That’s the kind of havoc this little guy was wreaking.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much relief upon waking from this nightmare.
I walked downstairs to discover my mom had just returned from the store with a new stuffed purple monkey for my sister (she was going through a monkey-loving phase at the time).
Yes, this was the exact purple monkey from my dream. And yes, I still believe there was some very strange magic at work there.
So here it was – my dream had come true. It was terrifying (especially the following months of finding the stuffed animal “mysteriously” under my pillow, hanging from my ceiling fan and in my closet).
This dream becoming a reality, however, was not nearly as scary as the possibilities today.
If my nightly dreams come true now, I will get rejected from graduate schools, miss interview times, live the rest of my life alone and have group projects serve as all my finals.
I think I’d rather have the purple monkey hanging from my doorknob.
My goal for this semester is to be more positive and optimistic. The only issue is that dreams are subconscious thoughts, so if they’re negative, that negativity is out of our control. What is in our control, though, is not allowing certain dreams that are the result of growing up to become realities.
So for now, I’m no longer letting a dream’s symbolism get to me. And if another purple monkey happens to pop into my life, I’ll just deal with it when the time comes.
Brooke Goodman is a senior studying journalism and political science. Email email@example.com with anything you’d like her to write about.