Then, I started to see the doors. And the holes. There were doors everywhere, doors without locks, doors with holes where the knobs should have been. Holes in the walls of the bathroom, the bedroom, the kitchen, holes in the walls looking into the apartments of other people. I began to realize I wasn’t safe here, and to question my memories of life in the apartment. Had anyone crept in and stolen things? Who were these strangers I lived with? Were they eating my food? Why wasn’t I aware of all these HOLES?!
In reality, my apartment is pretty unique. It’s one of four in a divided house, built over 100 years ago. I don’t live in (nor will I ever) a cookie cutter set of rooms exactly like 10 others. My apartment has studio space, cats, and a reading chair with a fluffy rug. I did find a mysterious hole once, behind the dryer, but I covered it up with a paper plate and some duct tape.
So what prompted this pretty dream turned dreadful? If you knew me well, you’d know I rarely close my eyes without having a nightmare. Last Christmas my sister bought me a book with 20,000 dream definitions, which I consult occasionally for a bit of insight. It’s not that I take these words as fact, but it’s interesting to find out how Freud or Jung would analyze my subconscious.
I’ll spare you the text and sum up the way the book allows me to interpret this dream—which is actually similar to how I interpret my paintings of homes.
The home equals me, my mind, my life. The bathroom, which I recall in such detail, represents my “instinctual urges,” and dreaming of it says I'm experiencing oppressive feelings which need to be released. That makes sense. Denying urges only makes them stronger, right?
Doors obviously mean options, and facing a confusing number of doors says life’s choices are overwhelming. Broken doors indicate vulnerability or lack of privacy, and inability to maintain boundaries. Check, check, check.
The vulnerability theme is common for my sleeping mind. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamt of broken locks and physical struggles to keep bad men from getting inside my home or hurting my family. Things usually get violent, and often my teeth are involved. Dreaming Molly has repeatedly lost teeth to punches in the face, but give her some credit—she has used them to fight back. One particularly vivid nightmare (please don’t call the psych ward) involved me biting off the pinky of a man trying to pry his way into my car—it was quite comparable to biting through a baby carrot.
In these dreams, when I notice my teeth are loose or crumbling, everyone seems to think it’s just fine. I can be bleeding profusely and holding all my teeth in my hands and still have to find my own damn dentist. The dentists I do get to help always stitch my teeth back in the wrong places, molars in front and canines in back.
The book gives plenty of advice on losing teeth. Insecurity, inadequacy, the need to admit a secret in waking life, big changes or losses and damage to beliefs, blah blah blah.
I'm learning to be patient. I have to be. Changes can't happen as quickly as I'd like them to, and that's probably a good thing. However, paintings can happen as quickly and as often as I want. Eat that, nightmares.