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Of mice and mind: A subconscious beyond your wildest dreams

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Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a South African columnist, disruptor of the peace and the author of Sorry, Not Sorry: Experiences of a Brown Woman in a White South Africa. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @sage_of_absurd

This week, I had a disturbing dream about mice. They were everywhere and I could not get away. Now, I have to tell you that my fear of rodents is off the charts. I will not even take a walk across the road to the shops after sunset because the fear is that debilitating. So, naturally, my first thought was that it’s just a reality in a dream.

I once read an article on a psychology website that said everything and everyone in your dream is you. You are the incarnation of the object, the thing, the person you dream of because it is your own subconscious at work while you sleep. Now even though I am not a believer in star signs, dream dictionaries, fortune-tellers – you know that sort of thing – I thought the above statement was something I could give some thought to, given that it was on a scientific website and for a while it kind of made sense. Or at least I convinced myself that it did.

Of course it’s you, it’s your subconscious. You cannot dream the behaviour of others and if everyone is you, every message in the dream is your own…?

 But then I started to think about the dream I have, which has happened consistently since the age of about 20. At least two to three times a month, I have the same dream of my teeth falling out.

I am talking to someone – and this person changes, once it was even Oprah – and all of a sudden I find my hand in front of my mouth catching teeth. There is never any blood. There is never any pain. Just the shock and confusion about why my gums have suddenly decided to spew out my own mouth bones.

It happens so regularly now that I don’t even wonder about what it means any more when I wake up. But I did find myself revisiting the “everything and everyone is you in your dreams” theory. Is each tooth me? That just seems ridiculous.

But this week I had a disturbing dream about mice. They were everywhere and I could not get away. Now, I have to tell you that my fear of rodents is off the charts. I will not even take a walk across the road to the shops after sunset because the fear is that debilitating. So naturally my first thought was that it’s just a reality in a dream. Also, the “attack” took place at my old family home, not my own, so there was a bit of relief in that, I guess.

Yes, I googled its interpretation. Apparently it means someone’s going to betray you or you are not focusing on your own goals, or someone is spreading rumours about you. Well, in the name of Google, which damn one is it? Must I now figure out who’s bad-mouthing me? Or who in my small circle of four friends is going to betray me? Between my dreams and my chronic sleep deprivation, I do not have time to think about this.

But I pay someone every week who does. And perhaps she can hew the stone of hope from the heap of mice. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.

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  • There’s another possibility here: our dreams don’t mean anything. Or rather, they are just the result of our cerebral cortex trying to make sense of a random series of thoughts & images. But agreed, they can be alternatingly horrifying and entertaining!

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