I guess I can talk about how my dreams are affecting me, though. I think dreams are your subconscious attempting to tell you things that you're not quite equipped to deal with yet, so the message has to arrive in code, as abstract as a poem. I'm not revealing anything significant by talking about my dreams. It's at the perfect level of abstraction, you have the same opportunity to read things into them that I do.
I used to feel ashamed of having dropped out of college so many times. As such, I got the typical school-anxiety dreams. I'm in class and suddenly realize I'm naked, and wondering if anybody has noticed, and thinking nervously about how I'm going to get out of there. Or I'm in class and there's a test and I haven't studied and I'm sweating bullets. The usual.
Eventually I got to be very successful in my field. I've done daring, interesting things that many of my college-educated friends never had the guts to even attempt. So, that was pretty much the end of that particular area of shame. In some kind of strange role reversal, and for the first and only time so far in my life, it was my conscious mind that had the up-to-date 411, and my subconscious just kept right on trying to embarrass me with school-anxiety dreams. There I'd be again, naked in class, only now I was having none of it. I'd be all like, Oh, I'm naked? How about that. I'm going to stand up and go introduce myself to that hot chick in the front row. Maybe we could hook up! And then my subconscious would be so embarrassed it would put an abrupt end to the dream right there.
My subconscious made one more valiant attempt. It was probably stewing up there for months, trying to work out something fiendishly clever that would make me cower in respect. When the dream finally came, it seemed to last forever. I was sitting near the back in a huge classroom. It was the first day of class. The teacher was droning on and on in a very haughty tone for what seemed like hours. The message I was taking away from it was that she was establishing who's boss right then and there, so none of us would ever forget it. Getting down to business, she rattled off prerequisites for this course. Thinking back, I realized I met none of them. As a final coup de grace, she announced that, starting immediately, the class would be conducted entirely in French, and we were all forbidden from speaking English.
I can't say I transcended it in the "I realize this is a dream" way. I've had that happen a few times, but that wasn't until years later. This time, I transcended it in an "aww, this is stupid" way. I got up and started walking out. The teacher flew up out of her seat, raging at me in French, and grabbed my arm. I twisted away violently, yelling back, making a fist. I waited to see what she was going to do. If she touched me again I was going to clock her, teacher or not, woman or not. She stood there frozen and shocked. I calmly finished walking out of the classroom and closed the door behind me. And that, Dear Multiply-Tentacled Reader, was the last school anxiety dream I ever had.
That was all at least ten years ago. Last night, I guess I had what counts as the modern equivalent. It was the first scene in a play, the curtain had just gone up, and I was on stage. Maybe twenty of us were seated around a table. It was some kind of farce. Everyone in the cast was taking turns introducing their characters in exaggerated PRAWP-er British English. "I'm a besotted dandy fop and I fancy the comely lassies" and other such folderol. The guy next to me was exhaling his character's M.O. through his nose and looking studiously at me, and I knew any second he'd stop speaking and expect me to start. And I had no idea what to say. Not only had I not memorized my lines, I had never even cracked open the script.
That's likely an echo of one of the few things about school I ever took seriously enough to have any genuine anxiety over. When I was a senior in high school, I got the lead in the very last play of the year. I had over forty pages of lines. At the beginning of every act I'd have a multi-page speech I had to get through without anybody else around. I was terrified that I could never memorize that many lines, but I did, and in record time. I recorded myself reading my lines out of the script onto my cheap cassette player and I listened to it constantly, even when sleeping. I was the first actor in the play "out of script," meaning I could get through play practice without ever consulting one.
For this dream though, the tone was different. There's a very nasty undercurrent to the school anxiety dreams, it's all like HAW HAW HAW UR DUMMM U = F4G0RT. There's nothing to be done, no way you can reason with the situation. It exists only for your humiliation.
I didn't feel like that, sitting up there on stage. I thought: They are all counting on me, and I'm about to let them down. What can I do? Surely there's some way I can salvage this. Maybe I can improvise something! Who am I? I looked at my costume, trying to invent a PRAWP-er M.O. for myself that I could exhale through my nose when called upon. I started running through things in my head, to hear what they sounded like. I wasn't sure I wouldn't clutch and, when my turn came, say "Hey, sorry, I don't know what's going on here" and destroy the story.
The dream ended before I discovered if I was successful or not.
I think similar symbolism crops up in real life, if you're willing to pay attention to the signs. Yesterday, a stuffed skunk showed up here in the house, after an absence of many months. I thought it was gone, having been put out with the trash or given away or something. It has an electronic battery-operated voice box inside of it. If you squeeze its butt it says "How ya doin', I'm Punk the skunk," then it makes a sort of a hissing sound, like a fire extinguisher. Squeeze its butt again and it says "What's that smell?"
I believe that skunk is the talysman of someone in my real life.