Of Dreams and Nightmares
Sometimes I have these crazy dreams and they inspire my writing mind. The dream demands that I develop a new story.
Other times I have a crazy dream that just makes me question my sanity. Like last night.
Call me crazy, but I think this is great!
Dreams are such a powerful insight into our minds. Today, for some reason, my simple, strange dream reminded me of past dreams. So, that's what I'll write about today.
True courage doesn't come from being unafraid. True courage comes from looking your fear in the eyes, and challenging your monster.
When I was a kid, I had nightmares every night. That's not an exaggeration, not an embellishment in any way. I literally had nightmares every night. I was terrified. I had dreams of being crushed, burned, lost, floating in space, spiders biting me, giant spiders, monsters, shadows... you name it, I probably dreamed it. Death visited in my dreams. Aliens experimented on me. Monsters ate me. Monsters chased me. People shunned me. I was naked in public. I had to talk on stage. Terror struck in many forms. Some seemed so silly and simple, but the fear was often just as powerful over the little things as it was over the big. Fear knows no limit when your ability to feel fear knows no limit.
This... epidemic of nightmares started when I was eight, and ended when I was ten. For two years, my mind was troubled deeply and I was terrified every day. The fear wasn't only from my dreams. But my dreams were a representation of the daily fear I was suffering. My daily fear was compounded by the imaginative new fears I dreamed up. My dreams were so real, complete with physical sensation and pain. While I knew when I was awake, that didn't lessen the power of the fear.
I used to think it was a terrible thing. Now, I see value in that experience. I have learned a lot from it. I understand fear. I understand abject terror to a degree that many people can't seem to comprehend. I know how strongly it can hold you back and I identify personally with with the victim mentality. Drawing from these experiences help me as a writer to create a scene out of a nightmare. And more importantly, these experiences help me as a person to identify with the people I care about. What greater empathy than to understand someones fear? Stand with someone to face your fears together, and you have a friend for life.
I also learned then; true courage doesn't come from being unafraid. True courage comes from looking your fear in the eyes, and challenging your monster.
© 2013 Cole Ikerd