I am a dreamer. No, literally. I have incredibly vivid dreams with sights and sounds and strong emotions that are present long after I awake. I have the usual stress dreams that I think many people have in various versions. The one where I can’t remember my locker combination. The one where I’m running and some unknown creature is chasing me. The one when there is a ten-page paper due the next day and it’s 8:00 the night before and I haven’t started it. The one in which I am in my senior year of college and I’ve realized I probably don’t have enough credits to graduate, yet I can’t find the right office that will confirm this sad fact. The one when I arrive back to college in the fall and my single dorm room has been converted in to an eight-person dorm.

Yet for someone who is not afraid of flying, I seem to have an inordinate amount of plane crash dreams. I’m never in the planes, though. I am always on the ground, watching. My most frequent dream is one in which I am watching a jet go down fairly close to where I am standing. The plane goes down behind trees and all I can see is a burst of flames and screaming from the people around me. Sometimes I am closer and I see the entire thing: the plane going nose down, the screams of people as they watch in horror, the final crash as the plane hits the ground, the sound and smoke from the explosion.

Last night, however, I was directly in line with the wreckage. I watched as two planes, a jet and a smaller plane, played some sort of game in the sky. First one was in the lead, then the other, then finally the jet flew ahead of the smaller plane and make a sharp right turn. The smaller plane then crashed into the jet and they both went down. I was on the ground, and as the two planes came crashing down not more than a football field’s length in front of me, all I could think was “this is not happening.” But I was strangely calm. Then they both crashed down so hard the ground shook and huge chunks of debris began to tumble toward where I was standing. Yet while the other people around me screamed, ducked, and covered their heads, I just stood and watched. I saw the fuselage and huge chunks of wings and entire rows of seats soaring through the air and hitting the ground all around me. Yet I just stood there. I stood there and watched, calmly waiting to see if I would survive.

I’m not good at analyzing dreams, but from a literal point of view I was either suicidal or just plain dumb in this dream. But I know enough about dreams to know that one cannot take them at face value. These dreams of mine about plane crashes are not about aircraft or flying seats at all. I think (and this is only my own amateur interpretation) that these planes represent my life and how I want to live it. Think about it: years ago, when I was always pretending so I could fit into whatever situation I was in, my dreams were of a far off crash. I was seeing my life from far away and watching its potential crash somewhere in the distance. Now that I am making significant changes in what I am doing to live my fullest life, i.e., writing every day, actively searching for ways to control my chronic pain, hopping back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon, the plane crashed right in front of me. Not only that, but I did not cower. I did not scream out in fear. I just simply observed.

I guess one could say I stood up to the wreckage that could be my life if I didn’t change it. I stood up to the fear of what could potentially be a huge crash. And I did not shy away. So bring it on, life. I’m ready for whatever comes my way.

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