Tuesday, August 19, 2008


When I was younger, I used to have nightmares of physical threat. I was chased, or menaced, or injured, or even killed. My nightmares these days involve being unable to complete a task. I am trying to do something, but I can't do it for one reason or another -- there are obstacles I can't overcome or other tasks intervene. I am striving and I just can't get to the goal. (Remember Giles' dream in the Buffy dream sequence, where he can't finish his song because he has to follow the electrical cord? I resonated to that.)

My classic nightmare now is teaching-related. Last night I dreamed that I was teaching my big intro psych class at Georgetown and couldn't get the Powerpoint file open. I was perpetually trying to take attendance (which I don't even do at GU), and music and video files kept spontaneously playing and distracting the students, no matter how many times I closed them. I was acutely aware of losing the class time and the attention of the students.

Why this theme? Is is the lack of completion, a failure to do what I'm trying to do, touching on issues of generativity? Or perhaps it is an attack on my competence, a failure of my abilities. It might even touch on broader fears of being unable to control my environment, a common fear. And of course, there is usually a frisson of public humiliation to add to the mix, although I don't feel that this is the main concern.

What are your main nightmares at this point in your life?

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