The Supporting Cast

Now, aside from the three main players, there are also three more who will be making an appearance.

I have a very overactive imagination. I usually suffer from insomnia, or am unable to slip into a deep enough sleep for my REM cycle. This is because I frequently have bizarre nightmares.

And what is the main theme of every nightmare I have?

It’s big.

It’s great and white.

It has black soulless eyes, fins, gills, and rows and rows of razor sharp teeth.

Yes, sharks.

I can’t remember a specific time in my life where it began, only the after effects. The earliest memory I have of being afraid was refusing to go into a store shaped like a shark’s mouth. Like, temper tantrum afraid.

As much as my conscious mind attempts to say that sharks have a very very very low chance of attacking me while in the water, my subconscious obviously disagrees. So, I am frequently attacked or watching things be attacked in most nightmares. Probably at least once a week. So quite clearly, something is going on.

Now, the dream dictionary on http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/ has a clear understanding of sharks. Their explanation says:

‘To see a shark in your dream indicates feelings of anger, hostility, and fierceness. You are undergoing a long and difficult emotional period and may be an emotional threat to yourself or to others. Perhaps you are struggling with your individuality and independence, especially in some aspect of your relationship. Alternatively, a shark represents a person in your life who is greedy and unscrupulous. This person goes after what he or she wants with no regards to the well-being and sensitivity of others. The shark may also be an aspect of your own personality with these qualities.

In particular, if you see a shark in shallow waters, then it means that you are emotionally vulnerable. You are trying to suppress your anger, but it is just too much to keep in.’

Wow, uh, that sounds like having depression and anxiety. Who knew, huh?

So the third malicious character in my dreamscape of a mind is exactly that: a shark. Its name is Noire, after the word:

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It has shown up in my dreams with red eyes and a great white body. No, not a ‘great white’ shark, but a literal WHITE shark. Many times, it either attacks or escapes out of an aquarium, causing a bit of a problem for whomever else is involved.

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Okay cool, you say, I see a shark there. But also a fish? What is that?

That, my friend, is White Fish.

Oh my word, that name! It’s so…not cool. But, that’s what it is. In the certain nightmare where White Fish showed up, it was a bit of an enigma.

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I’ve had betta fishes my whole preteen/teenage years (5 fish in total at different times). When one died, I filled the hole by getting a new one. First I had Shino, then Discoman, then Majestic, then Vincent, then Imoogi. A couple of them died in particularly tragic ways (Majestic in particular froze to death at the side of his tank in the mythical Ice Storm of 2008, something that I STILL feel kinda guilty about).

Oh jeez, I wondered, is this the ghost of all of them coming back to haunt me?

Nah, in that particular dream, White Fish was another fish that I bought. However, when I was bringing him out of the pet store, he would try to eat the other animals. I vividly remember the image of a few feathers floating to the top of the water and resting there. Instead of blubbery lips, very sharp fangs pointed out. Despite this, White Fish has never felt malicious or evil, merely a morally ‘grey’ character.

The same dream dictionary points out:

‘To see fish swimming in your dream signifies insights from your subconscious mind. Thus to catch a fish represents insights which have been brought to the surface. Consider the common phrases “like a cold fish”, “fish out of water” or something that is “fishy” about a situation. It may also imply a slippery or elusive situation. 

To dream that a small fish is attacking something bigger implies that you should not underestimate someone’s ability because of their size. Consider whether you sympathize with the small fish or with the big thing for further significance of your dream.’

Well, that’s a whole other issue to unpack.

Also, after I realized that both of the dream characters were white, I looked up colors in the dictionary:

‘White represents purity, perfection, peace, innocence, dignity, cleanliness, awareness, and new beginnings. You may be experiencing a reawakening or have a fresh outlook on life. Alternatively, white refers to a clean, blank slate. Or it may refer to a cover-up. In Eastern cultures, white is associated with death and mourning.’

Who knows what all of this means? I used to try to write it off, especially the shark thing, but as the dreams kept coming and coming and coming and I couldn’t dismiss it as a few times fluke nightmare.

But, it’s alright, because I have a dream defender on my side.

Cherry, the horse!

He is different because he is physical.

Now Renee, you do not own a pink horse.

Oh yes, I know that, but I do own a pink STUFFED horse.

And, in the mind of a small child, that IS real. Especially when the horse lies on your bed as a barrier between you and your dark room.

Cherry was real to me, enough that when the family and I went on vacation, he stayed with a neighbor because I was convinced that he needed to be with someone. It was like dog or babysitting. My pleasant older neighbors actually took him, and I was at peace for the week, content that my best friend was in good hands.

I remember specific things with him, like cutting his hair, not realizing that it wouldn’t grow back. He has a bit of a mohawk now because of it. I got him for Valentine’s Day, at a grocery store. He has been on the edge of my bed the whole time, through moves. Some might think it’s kind of childish to still sleep with a stuffed animal, but when you have night terrors, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Here he is, by the way.

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(And another one, courtesy of my dad’s humor)

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But, despite being a large, flat, floppy mess, he is the defender of dreams. As such, Cherry is a strong stallion.

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There you have it! Three villains, two heroes, and one strange fish. The complete cast for the world of MIND.

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