Random Top Five: The Stuff of Nightmares (and Worries)

Not-so-pretty pictures.

Welcome to my nightmares…

Last night, I went through a grueling battle with a nightmare, dealt with nagging worries, and laughed about a funny recurring dream.  It has become a tradition for me to sometimes toss and turn in frustration at night because I can’t help but think of all of the problems I will have to tackle in the future.  They play out in front of me like a TV “funniest home videos” show full of my most nagging worries, some hopes and aspirations, and sometimes things I liked during the day.  Most of the time, I tend to be annoyed with being reminded of my worries, but sometimes reflecting on them helps me to figure out how to make them go away and think of better things.  The following is a laundry list of fears and concerns which weighed heavily on my mind last night, as well as one “funny” dream which distracted me from these worries for a bit.  These visions tend to stay with me during the day, too, but I find them a bit irksome when they interrupt my sleep at night, so I’m thinking about how I felt when I originally saw them to best present them to you. 

5. Job interview prep

For quite some time, I have been reading books and studying YouTube videos regarding how to prepare for job interviews and how to handle some of the trickier questions that may come my way during an interview.  To be quite honest, I can’t imagine what a job interview might be like considering I’ve never participated in one and because of what I’ve done with my life so far, but if it can lead me to better opportunities, then I’m willing to learn.  I have figured out that the best things I can do during an interview are:  to give honest answers; to talk about experiences which are relevant to the job, the employer, and their expectations; and to make sure all of my answers can be given in sixty seconds or less so as not to waste the interviewer’s time with long, boring speeches or irrelevant information.  All of the tips I have received have been very helpful, but there is one thing which bugs me about the materials I have studied so far, an important detail which my nightmares rudely reminded me of.  Most of the examples of good answers given in the materials reflect people with a moderate to large level of formal work experience.  Beyond one small section for recent college graduates in one book that I read, there wasn’t a lot I saw which reflected anything in particular that I have experienced.  In my nightmare, I saw myself in a formal job interview in which the interviewer kept asking me for examples of workplace experience which I simply did not possess.  All the questions he asked were straight from the books, but I had no suitable answers to give him.  Some other guy got the job while I was back out on the streets, looking for another interview to start the humiliation all over again.  After the nightmare ended, I thought about what experiences I might use to prove my points in job interviews.  I figured I have about five or six really significant or useful examples I could bring up and reduce to sixty-second anecdotes, but I don’t have a clue as to what context to put them in or how to introduce them when the time comes to do so.  I hope to figure these details out soon because in the world of job interviews, you only get one shot at a good first impression, and I want my first swing to lead to a home run!

4. The sleeping bugs in my bedroom walls

Last fall, an army of hornets built a nest inside the walls and window of  my bedroom.  I didn’t really notice them until a few of them started flying around my room.  My family and I killed any hornets we saw for the next couple of days until the infestation grew so bad that we had to call in an exterminator to get rid of them.  Even though he was successful in killing most of the invaders, there were still plenty left over that had largely taken over my room.  In addition, the exterminator had used a foul-smelling substance which was too overpowering for me to sleep comfortably in the room, so I was forced to sleep in other areas of the house for the next few weeks.  When cold weather came and the bugs went into hibernation, I went back in and have stayed ever since.  I worried last night about what will happen when spring comes and the bugs wake up.  I keep thinking I’m hearing the hornets buzzing about inside my room’s walls, and I’ve had enough of this silly fear.  If they do end up taking over again, we will have to call another exterminator to handle them.  I sure hope we can get rid of the bugs permanently, but hopefully next time, a method we use to kill the buggers won’t force me out as well.

3. Mom’s car breaking down

A common theme of recent trips in my mom’s van has been the vehicle threatening to shut down completely once we get underway from our home.  Last Saturday in the middle of our trip, the car began to slow down and rattle.  This has been extremely disconcerting to my mom to say the least; without that car working right and if no one can give us a lift, we just aren’t going anywhere.  We’re taking the car up to a local repair shop to have it looked at for the umpteenth time in the past few weeks.  Last night, I thought about what we would do for transportation if the car is still acting like this.  My dad is out of town, and we need that car working or else we’ll be confined to the house.  Here’s hoping it gets repaired quickly and permanently! Come on car, I’ve got things to do!

2. High school math

I’m taking some elective classes at a local community college over the next few months.  I’m not trying to get another degree for the time being (That’s one struggle I’ve already fought and won!), but I would like to broaden my insights into certain fields of expertise, so I am looking forward to these classes with great expectation.  I still have recurring nightmares, though, about one of my old college classes in a subject I have always had a hard time with.  Last night, I kept imagining I would have to solve algebra problems in one of my new classes, even though I know the subjects of the classes don’t directly involve math.  I have never really understood algebra very well.  I did very well with it when it was introduced to me in middle school, but somewhere around the use of multiple integers or quadratic equations (I’m not sure which, but it did involve a lot of numbers to keep track of), I found myself unable to keep up with what the math courses were teaching me.  This went on all through my high school years and right into college, where I did well with every other course except advanced algebra.  It’s one of the few academic courses that I had a hard time understanding.  To me, it’s as hard to wrap my brain around as the “Potent Potables” category on Jeopardy.  I won’t let my fear of algebra run my life, though; I’ve been doing pretty well without it so far.

1. My mom’s head on an octopus body

For some strange reason, I’ve had a recurring dream for many years, and sure enough, I had it again last night.  In it, I am at some sort of party at the old house of one of my aunts.  I am very young in the dream, probably six or seven.  I am standing on top of the central staircase looking down in the direction of the living room; I can barely reach the railing to support myself.  Some people are talking in that room, but I can’t make out what they’re saying.  My mom pokes her head out of the room and looks up at me, saying, “Wait there, Ben.  I’ll come up and help you get down the stairs.”  (The central staircase in the house was very steep, and whenever we visited, my mom often helped me to go up the stairs to get to my cousins’ rooms and down again when it was time to go home.)  Mom turns to go up the stairs, but for some reason, her head is on a giant purple octopus body with tentacles flapping everywhere.  Knowing this isn’t how my mom usually looks, I end up screaming, and then I wake up and realize I’ve been having the same stupid, funny dream again.  I don’t mind having this dream as much as my more frequent “worry” visions because it reminds me of a more innocent and fun time in my life.  I actually want to have more dreams like it to make my nights happier.  Dad as Barney the dinosaur riding a jet ski through flaming hoops, anyone?   

I have grown sick of turning my worries into nightmares, but I can’t seem to get rid of them.  I can accept them for what they are, though.  They are just worries, and they have no meaning whatsoever with how my life is now.  They are not rational and I will not let them rule me.  Do you have any nightmares of your own, any from when you were young?  Have you ever had a funny dream which cheered you up or made you laugh?  What do you think they mean?  Let me know in the comments.

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4 Responses to “Random Top Five: The Stuff of Nightmares (and Worries)”

  1. Rosemary Hauswirth Says:

    Hi Ben this is aunt rose, I had a dream when I was little over and over again, when your mother and I were little,we had what we called ” the Indian camp” at grandma and grandpa apple orchard , ( she can tell you where it was) . We played there all the time, the Indian camp used to get into my dreams, I would dream that Indians would be chasing me from the edge of the orchard to the house, I was never able to ran fast enough to the house to be safe , so in my dream I would make it as far as ” the lime pile” (which was located just outside of the red barm going down the path to the gray barn which has fallen in. ) I would fall down and play died as the Indian would pass over me . Then I would wake up , to scared to move, I hated that dream. I’m so glad I don’t have it any more but I had it for many years!! At the time, it was the worse dream I could never of had, now as an adult it has become a happy memory of pass childhood days,.it reminds me of all the good times we had at the Indian camp, without the strong memory of that dream , I may of lost the memory’s attached to the dream of the camp site, so maybe in a way by your remembering the image of your mother at the foot of your aunt stairs, you might of lost the memory of being at our aunt house. There is a saying in life. It’s ” everything for a reason” and sometimes only god knows it. I hope your enjoy me sharing my memeory with you!!

  2. Benjamin Kellogg Says:

    Hi Aunt Rosie. Thanks for trying to help me to understand my dream. I had not considered that my dream might be a way for me to remember my aunt’s house, but I now think that your reasoning is very compelling. I still remember both my dream and that house very vividly, so I think it might be a good thing that that dream has stuck with me all these years. Your dream about the Indians reminds me of the times when I return to my house at night, and I imagine that someone or something is going to jump out of the woods and scare or kidnap me. That, of course, never happens, but I keep thinking I see things like Bigfoot in the woods all the time, so I guess I still tend to jump at shadows a lot. Thanks for your insight and visiting my blog! Love, Ben

  3. Rosemary Hauswirth Says:

    Ben, I’m so glad I was able to help you look a your dreams in a different light! it’s funny how you have the thoughts of someone jumping out of the woods to grab you, because just today I was speaking with aunt dianna and your mother about how I hate locking the front door at night because I think someone is on the other end of the door trying to push on it and grab me!! Even though we know , the chances of that happening are slim to none, our minds still go there. Our wild imaginations are working over time!!

  4. Benjamin Kellogg Says:

    Hi Aunt Rosie. I feel the same way about how my mind works. I guess it all depends on how much I know about what is going on around me at the time. At night, when I can barely see anything, I’ll often see a weird shadow or hear a disconcerting noise. It takes a bit of time for me to figure out that someone or something cast the shadow at an unusual angle or made the noise in a way I wouldn’t normally notice. It can be quite unsettling without something or someone to shed light on the whole matter. It is funny how the mind can play tricks on us! Thanks for reading! Love, Ben

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