Hi dreamers. Nice to see you again.
As we wrote in the first In Your Dreams, in the world of dream analysis, this column aims to be like a 12-year-old’s TikToks – gently researched but delivered with sass. We’ll be sprinkling in a li’l bit of dream theory from some famous thinkers along the way because knowledge is power, no? Let’s start with Jung.
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychoanalyst in the early 1900s, a pal and colleagues of the original mama’s boy Freud. Dreams were huge for Jung. He believed the metaphors in dreams to be the key to self-knowledge, and theorized that dreams tapped into our collective unconscious well of ancestral stories. (Jung would’ve fit in in modern Los Angeles.)
With that in mind, along with the requisite legal disclaimer – We’re not experts! Don’t try this at home! Etc! Let's take a look at this month’s dream…
I’m at a college party in my own house, and it's super packed and busy, but I'm not ready. I'm not dressed, no makeup on, nothing. I'm frantic and trying to put an outfit together in the midst of this chaos and feeling like an idiot and like I missed some kind of very important information that everyone else got. At no point in the dream do I actually become "ready." I don’t ever find an outfit or something to wear.
Ugh, an impossible task dream. You know her, you hate her, she stresses the heck outta you.
The basic concept of such a dream is simple. There’s something urgent you must accomplish, and no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot do it. This can happen in all sorts of scenarios. You might find yourself lost in a crowded high school hallway, desperately searching for your classroom before the bell. Or you could be swimming in the Olympics but somehow you never reach the end of the pool. Perhaps, more fantastically, you’ve been tasked by an evil witch to sort a bunch of Marshmallow Peeps by color or else, and the pile’s not getting any smaller.
Your brain knows it is vital to complete this task – if you don’t sort the Peeps, the witch said she would totally embarrass you in front of your crush – but in the murkiness of dream world, your body doesn’t get the message. It won’t follow directions, and it’s maddening. And waking up isn’t always a reprieve, either. The anxiety of a dream like that can follow you out into your day.
Let's first consider why you can’t get ready, babe. Some dream experts think impossible tasks represent blocks in our lives. If we were to take Jung’s non-literal point of view, you’re probably not worried about what to wear tomorrow. Maybe there’s something you want badly, but you don’t have the ability or confidence to make it happen. Maybe you can’t quite close on a deal or project. Maybe there’s some unfinished business in one of your personal relationships. Whatever the case may be, Jung would say this dream is your unconscious mind’s way of drawing attention to something that needs resolution.
But blocks can be tricky to identify when you’re in the middle of them. Often it’s only with hindsight that you can see, oh right I couldn’t get my sh*t together because I was in the middle of a full blown breakdown, my bad. It’s sometimes all you can do to just find ease and joy while it passes.
Which brings us to the second element of this dream. We have to point out, dear writer, that you don’t even get to enjoy the party going on in your own dang house. How unfair is that? The dream party is raging mere feet away while you make yourself nuts looking for the perfect Going-Out Top™. You don’t even know who’s on the dream guest list. For all you know, you could be missing out on shots with Keanu Reeves.
What if you used this as unconscious permission to celebrate your wins along the way? Consider the moments when you have the option to deprive yourself versus join the fun. You don’t have to wait until you’ve climbed Everest to take shots with Keanu. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor, even if you’re not all the way there. Sometimes that’s just what you need to refill your cup and then get back to the hard stuff. Show up to your own party, ya know? Because if you invite us to the next one, we don’t care what you’re wearing, but you can bet your ass we wanna see you on the dance floor.
If you’ve ever woken up from a dream like, what the hell was that?, and would like to be featured in the next In Your Dreams, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a detailed description of the inner workings of your subconscious. We're dreaming of hearing from you.