A Child's Lucid Dream
By Morgan Crisson
Many of my earliest memories were in the form of visceral recurring dreams. I can still remember dozens of dreams I had as a little chubby child who constantly bothered her parents to get them to sleep with her. Waking up in a sweat was a constant. The dreams that plagued me were made more of feelings rather than video or sounds, which made them stick out even more in my memory. In one dream, I would imagine myself being chased around by a can of soup, absolute horror on my face as the cartoon-drawn face happily scurried after me in classic Disney animated fashion. In others I remember infinite-sided shapes and patterns hovering in my vision, an indescribable feeling washing over me as the dream repeated like a scratched CD.
I always watched myself from the outside. My subconscious had a strange addiction to showing myself off like I was inside a box TV. Seeing the back of my own head wasn’t really something I was used to, (Even now those 3rd person dreams creep me out) so inevitably my barely conscious brain came up with a solution to avoid the unnerving nightmares as I came to understand them. I would shut my eyes tight and think of happy things, cute things, bright things. I would picture unicorns and rainbows and my favorite toys. My face would scrunch up for hours in the dark as I tried to be a big girl and sleep alone. Then I had the clown shoes dream.
I couldn’t remember anything that led up to it, but one night as I was trying to force a good dream to happen, I suddenly became aware that I was dreaming. I stood alone inside a small yellow room, illuminated only at the center where I stood, confused. Again, I became aware of something, the shoes. I bowed my head (or watched myself bow) to see bright yellow clown shoes with red polka dots. I was extremely uncomfortable, and they were far too big. They were so big that I couldn’t move in them and could only shake from the growing unease I felt, but nothing else happened. I just stood there, paralyzed for hours or seconds or weeks before I became aware again that I was awake.
The dream never allowed me to wake up prematurely. I would flutter my eyelids open at the sunlight streaming in, with only the sense of confusion and nervousness holding me. The nightmare would then return the next night, forcing me to stand still all night in what felt like real-time. It was baffling how I managed to sleep. It was even more baffling that I dreamt of something I had never experienced before. I didn’t even know what clowns were as a child, but still the picture of those yellow and red shoes sat in my mind as clear as ever, even after I stopped dreaming of it.
Dare: Try to imagine what its like to be in someone else’s shoes, either literally or figuratively.