Miffy & Frank

Earlier this year I came to a realization about dreams: It is not what happens in dreams, but how we feel that determines our reaction.

Maybe you already knew that. Maybe you don’t even remember your dreams. For someone like me, with my non-stop vivid dreams, that was a powerful epiphany.

I had dreamed this ghastly, gory sorta dream, but when I woke up I didn’t feel scared or creeped-out. Given the horror in my dream, I should have been terrified when I woke up, but I wasn’t. I was mildly entertained that I created such a dreamscape, and then humored by the fact that the events of the dream hadn’t even made me flinch. Dreaming me didn’t think it was scary at all, while waking me was rather judgmental and said to dreaming brain, “You are one sick bitch.”

Consequently, a few days later, I had a nightmare about things that are not scary. It’s true. I woke up in a cold sweat, with heart-pounding fear and a sudden desire for my husband to hold me. While I lay there, I recapped the dream and it was so incredibly benign, it could have been television programming for preschoolers, but my feelings didn’t match the content.
In a way, it reminded me of anxiety disorder — the feeling that my adrenaline response is so askew, my brain can’t tell the difference between being chased by rabid dogs as opposed to picking up oatmeal.

scary bunny

frank the scary bunny

 

not scary bunny

miffy, the not-scary bunny

Once these events happened so close together, I truly came to realize the paradox: there is an importance, and yet an insignificance to dreams. I no longer concern myself with what’s in the dream. I pay attention to the feeling after. Whatever that emotion is, it’s clamoring for my attention, probably being repressed.
And our emotional responses in waking life are similar. Completely irrational, primitive. Triggered often by dramatic events that upset most everyone, sure — and yet, sometimes brought about by mundane events that don’t even bother most people.

People you know are cool as cucumbers, seemingly laid-back, until what? Until they see a clown? Until they lose a game? Until someone calls them the wrong name? Until a black cat crosses their path? Until they misplace something?

mad

What turns Miffy into Frank? What makes Frank seem like Miffy?
Tell me a story.

 

 

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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30 Responses to Miffy & Frank

  1. spacurious says:

    Fascinating.
    I have the most disturbing and terrifying nightmares most nights. Even after I stopped watching Dexter before bed. It makes me angry. and sad.
    I’m sorry about the oatmeal.
    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hollie says:

    I have very vivid dreams as well and sometimes the emotions stick with me for longer than expected. A somber dream can change my whole outlook on a day. I can wake up feeling as if I’ve actually visited with my dad. I’ve woken up crying but then not even known why. I think our dreams are a very powerful way to look at our lives introspectively. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mine leave impressions on my mood all day as well. 😦
      I like to think dreams of those who’ve passed ARE visitations, but I prefer when they leave me feeling loved and happy.

      Like

      • hollie says:

        The visitation dreams do leave me feeling happy and loved, I am always glad to have those. :). The worst are the dreams I have when my anxiety is high…I’m driving too fast and I can’t control the car and then I look up and I’m in the backseat and no one is driving the car but it’s speeding down the road, I wake up in a cold sweat every time!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sammy D. says:

    Timely post! I had a recurring nightmare last night that I haven’t had for several years, but used to occur regularly when I was working. Interestingly it used to terrify me, and even though the dream was just as icky last night, i feel more like a detached observer this morning. Will still try to fugure out what triggered it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. orbthefirst says:

    Ive gotten to the point where I do everything I can to suppress the memory of my dreams. Benign or not, their memory does not make for a restful sleep, and more often than not, the reoccurring nightmares turn into cryptic self fulfilling prophecies by the end of that waking day. My dreams were never as simple as “Im falling” Or, “I was being chased’ I wish they were. If I could turn it all off, I would.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the idea of paying attention to the feelings rather than the subject. I’m going to try to remember that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan Antion says:

    I often have vivid impossible scenario dreams. I also often realize that I am dreaming while dreaming – some sort of pseudo conscious state I guess – which makes for interesting responses. As for Miffy to Frank while awake, that’s a whole ‘nother thing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Carrie Rubin says:

    My dreams are crazy vivid, too, and I have them every night. I’ve not thought to focus on my reaction TO them rather than the dream itself. Interesting insight. Thank you. My husband, on the other hand, reports rarely dreaming, so when he actually remembers one, he loves to share it in full detail. I just smile and pretend it’s interesting. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. pambrittain says:

    I used to have gruesome nightmares, but now I take my sewing kit with me in my dreams. That kit fixes everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. caramc says:

    When i was a child i would have several recurring nightmares and to speak of them they seem totally benign. In one, I would see a crocodile (Miffy style) doing a tap dance on a checkered floor and it would completely freak me out. I would also have a dream in which a puppy and a dime were sitting on a pillow or mattress or something soft…nothing would happen, but this deep voice would be talking in the background and it would scare me to death. So crazy to think back on it. The scariest one included these giant tires that were rolling through towns and killing people. I could feel the fear so acutely, not only my own, but of the others in the dream. It was terrifying and I remember that even after I woke from the dream that feeling of fear would stay with me. That was the worst part.

    Like

  10. cardamone5 says:

    Hi Joleen:

    I have very vivid dreams, some of which I remember, some of which slip away the minute I open my eyes. I’ve had dreams where I’ve been shot, and woken up with paralyzing fear, and amazing yellow submarine type dreams where I am floating around with purple walruses and blue cats. I’ve also had, um, dreams about nice looking buff men, but that’s as far as I can go here. You can imagine how I wake from those.

    I agree with you that the feelings are what’s important, but if you can make a story out of some of them, there is an incredible germ of imagination that is totally original. I’ve been trying with no success yet to do that.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a collection of dream stories I’ve been writing about for a long time. They’re the bizarre sort. Dunno where they come from, or where the series is going, but I keep writing them down.
      This morning, I woke Moo, and she said, “Ugh, I was having the worst dream.” I said, “Oh no,” and cuddled her up. Then she said, “I don’t remember it now.” I said, “Those are the best bad dreams!”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Jewels says:

    I always have such vivid dreams, good and bad, usually with strong emotional reactions right after waking, but then they tend to fade away pretty quickly. Sometimes I think I should write them down, so I can try to decipher them later, but then I’m like “psh, I’m too tired.” I’ve always thought that dreams are fascinating…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. suzjones says:

    Are you sure we’re not related somehow?
    I have written down some of my more bizarre dreams and plan to use them one day to write fiction/horror. lol
    I don’t know how to turn Miffy into Frank but to me they are both absolutely scary!

    Like

  13. danicapiche says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your insight.

    Like

  14. meg68 says:

    Ok, weird dreams are my specialty!
    I recently dreamed that Fitty brought home an infant for me to raise, (another one!!) and in the course of the dream the babe grew to have male pattern baldness and curly carrot red hair.
    He tried to pass the baby off as one he’d had “before us”, but even in dreams I’m somewhat smarter than that.
    I interrogated him dream-style and he came up with the Mother’s name….
    This was such a strange dream that I told the family about it the next day. I even remembered the name of the Mother.
    6 googled the name and you’ll never guess what?
    Curly carrot red hair!!
    Mental 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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