I’m not so sure about dream interpretation. It is possible that some dreams might have meanings, but most of mine (the ones I can remember, at least) are incoherent and senseless.
In recent times, however, I have been experiencing a couple of recurring dreams. Not the exact same dream, but dreams with the same theme. I wonder what they could mean.
In the first, which have been happening for quite some time now and come back every now and then, I would get the feeling that I have a loose tooth. It could be a wobbly front tooth that I can twist around, or it could be a dislodging molar with a gap I can play around with using my tongue. It’s a sensation I haven’t had since all my baby teeth fell out, and it absolutely freaks me out, every time.
The tooth could be looser in some dreams than others. Sometimes, it could be more than one tooth. Occasionally, I might even twist and pull the tooth enough that it comes off, and I would distinctively recall licking that empty space on my gums, horrified and panicking. I suppose with modern technology I could just get a fake tooth that probably looks better than the one it is replacing, but it’s never something I think of during the dream. I simply remember being saturated in fear.
In the second recurring dream, which only started in the last few months, I would find myself suddenly realizing that I have a major exam the next day, or the next couple of days, and it would be on a subject I know absolutely nothing about. It never occurs to me that I haven’t sat an examination for three years, or that I never studied the subject before. In that moment, I feel as though I had either never attended my classes or never paid attention, and certainly didn’t do any of the readings.
If the realization comes the night before or several nights before the exam, my initial reaction would usually be — you’ll be okay, you have essentially crammed entire subjects for exams the night before. It’ll just be another all-nighter, which is nothing new for you. But the fear of not being able to study everything in time is still there.
More recently, the timing of the exam has gotten closer and closer, and hence the fear has gotten greater and greater. A few weeks ago, I dreamed that I was on the way to the examination location and I still had no idea what I was doing. Last night, I actually dreamed that I had already missed an exam. I had three exams and I somehow “forgot” about the first one, and I still had two more in the next three days. Lucky I woke up from fright, or else there might have been a wet patch on the bed.
So what could these nightmares mean? Surely there has to be something in my subconscious stirring things up.
For the tooth dream, my guess is that I have a fear of losing my teeth. No offence to anyone out there, but I kind of do have an obsession with clean teeth. I brush religiously and can’t stand the sight of stains and discolourations. Could that be it?
As for the exam dream, it could be any number of things. It could be the deeply-seeded guilt I have accumulated over the years from doing relatively well in exams without genuinely understanding the subject. It could be from the fact that I tend to forget just about everything about a subject almost immediately after the exam finishes. But I have a feeling this is quite common.
It could be another thing. When I studying for my master’s finals in Cambridge three years ago, it was the first time I ever felt I could not possibly complete by preparations in time, or at least not up to a level that was satisfactory to me. These final exams accounted for 100% of the grade and were all three-hour monsters. A big part of the lack of preparation was because I had spent the better part of the year working on this blog and my novels. A second reason was because I spent about half the pre-exam holiday period travelling around Europe. A third reason was probably laziness and not wanting to miss out on any sleep (I was getting soft).
I ended up doing pretty well in the end, but I do remember a pang of regret because I knew I probably could have and should have done better. So to cut a long story short, maybe it was the subconscious realization that I didn’t give it my all that continues to haunt me.
I’d like to think it’s something else: that I need to finish my novels so that the grades would not have been sacrificed in vain. Yes, and maybe do something about this blog too.