Another Nightmare

Heads up, this is not education related. I don’t think. I’m honestly not certain yet.

I woke up this morning nearly an hour before my alarm was set to go off. I’m getting older so waking up in the middle of the night isn’t that unusual. Normally I can use a strategy to slow my brain down and get back to sleep. This morning wasn’t one of those times because I woke up from a nightmare.

It hasn’t even been two weeks since I last wrote about having a nightmare. That one definitely seemed to stem from subconscious anxieties. This one, less so. This one is also more gruesome, so if you’re like me and prone to nightmares, you may want to stop reading and walk away.

I was watching a foot race. It seemed pretty basic and low-key. No big inflatable at the finish line, no timing chips and pads for the runners to cross. Just a long, straight, dirt path with a banner across at the end. And only a handful of runners, all of them women if my memory is accurate (and that’s never certain when it comes to any kind of dreams). I could hear an announcer doing commentary before the race began. The racers/women were stretching at the starting line. The race began and the announcer did his thing (it was definitely a male voice), talking about who was doing better than expected and who might still pull it out.

Racers finished and collapsed just past the finish line (which seems kind of silly, since in my head, the race was super short). The final racer didn’t make it. She tripped just before the end. I don’t know if whoever came in last was stuck no matter what or if there was some kind of time limit that she missed. As she scrambled to get up, looking terrified, race officials (both male) grabbed her from both sides and held her out, just short of the finish line. A jaguar (or some sort of very large, wild cat, it’s just clearly labeled a jaguar in my mind) leapt forward and attacked her. The attack, which my subconscious mind was hoping would be minor, was deadly. I woke up with a jolt.

I knew I couldn’t close my eyes again without continuing to see that image. So my regular, slow-my-brain, soothe-my-soul routines were not an option. It’s going to be a long day with that image seared into my brain.

Was it a result of subconscious anxieties or other emotions? I think dreams often do relate to what we’re going through so it seems likely but I can’t make this one make sense for me. I have some thoughts:

  • the racers were all women
  • the announcer and officials were all men
  • a race is often an analogy for a school year (and many other things, of course)
  • the need to be successful because your life is on the line, quite literally feels like it could mean something

I’m in a profession that is overwhelmingly female while being led overwhelmingly by males. That feels connected to this dream but I can’t make the whole thing make sense. And, honestly, I’d like it to make some sense. It would feel more reasonable and, somehow, slightly less terrifying if I can understand what caused my brain to create this horror.

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