Memory can remain consistent, altered, or erased. Is there a definite answer to why dreams change? Is it because we are ashamed, proud, or something else? Dreams are stories that pull pull thoughts and imagery from our memories. They don’t mean anything, but the impact of some dreams are everlasting.
I had a dream when I was nine about dinosaurs. I woke up in the middle of the night, my family still sleeping, to find a tyrannosaurus rex making a disturbance outside my bedroom window. He was yelling and stomping around. I was annoyed at it because I didn’t want the noise to wake my family up, so I got out of bed, went downstairs, through the front door and around the corner to find a huge t-rex standing there. I yelled at him, “My family is asleep! You are being very noisy and you’re going to wake them up! Be quiet!” This made the T-Rex so angry that he said he wanted to fight. “I’m just a kid – I can’t fight a T-Rex!” I thought to myself.
I heard rumblings in the trees next to us. I looked over and a Brachiosaurus came racing out. He stopped running when he got to my side. The Brachiosaurus and the T-Rex began to fight and it went on for hours. Eventually, the Brachiosaurus triumphed and the T-Rex ran away. I thanked the Brachiosaurus for defending me, keeping my family safe, and for making sure they didn’t wake up. He bowed his head and went back through the trees. I went back in my house, up the stairs, in my bed, and fell back asleep.
The next morning when I woke up, I went downstairs and told my dad about my wild dream. He believed in documenting a lot of what has happened while we grew up. He asked me to tell the dream again, while he typed it up and saved it on his computer.
I think I dreamt about dinosaurs because I was really into reading The Magic Tree House books, by Mary Pope Osborne. One of my favorite books in the series is the first one, “Dinosaurs after Dark.” In the book, the characters Jack and Annie get transported back into Cretaceous period. They begin to explore but are threatened by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Pterodactyl rescues them, and they eventually figure out how to get back home. This sounds oddly like my dream.
A couple months ago, I was talking with my parents at home about this specific dream. I forgot that my dad had recorded what I said, until he reminded me of it. We searched for it on our computer and eventually found it. We read through it and I was shocked.
I, along with a T-Rex, joined together to fight dinosaurs inside of my house. My family was outside the house. We were able to communicate in a different language. We fought a Brachiosaurus and a Triceratops. The T-Rex hit the dinosaurs with his head. I tied them up with ropes so I could jump on them. Graphically, I killed the Triceratops while the T-Rex killed the Brachiosaurus. We took their bones out with gloves, used them to make wood and used the wood to make beds. We used their heads for pillows and skin for blankets. We fell comfortably asleep.
I can’t believe I was nine years old and had this vivid of a dream. Maybe I altered this dream so I didn’t have to remember how graphic it really was. I thought that the dinosaurs fighting in my dream was due to the book that I read, but I’m not really sure anymore. What caused me to have these crazy dreams when I was nine years old?
I’m sure it is obvious of how my real dream has changed into the dream that I’ve remembered my entire life. As a child my parents always told me how fierce I was. I’d stand up to anyone, anytime. This carried into my dreams – especially this one. What other nine-year-old dreams of fighting alongside a T-Rex against two other dinosaurs, triumphing, and then using their bodies for warmth.
It’s interesting that I had this violent of a dream when I was raised Quaker. We stand for nonviolence, peace, and equality. Maybe I changed how I remembered my dream completely when I was younger because I felt guilty that I am a Quaker and having such crazy thoughts and dreams is outlandish. I’ve told the dream to many people, boasting about protecting my family, scaring away the big bad T-Rex, and becoming friends with a nice plant-eater dinosaur.
We all have memories that change over time. I know I have a couple recent memories that are so devastating that I pretend they don’t exist. I’m sure everyone has had at least one thought, memory, or dream that they regret having. They regret having so much that they change it completely to make it bearable to remember. I altered my terribly detailed dream to make it bearable to live with. My nine-year-old self knew I shouldn’t grow up knowing I had a dream that I dissected and salvaged body parts of dinosaurs for personal gain.
This brings into question of all my other memories. What else have I changed to make it manageable. Not just dreams, but memories as a whole inform us of who we truly are as people; however, they are imperfect. Do we really remember events perfectly? No. Nothing is ever completely spot on. So what does it say about each of us when we realize that our memories aren’t complete. I think we surround ourselves with people that reinforce our perfect perspective of ourselves. I surround myself with other Quakers and non-judgmental people. I’d like to think that their opinions rub off on me, making me more accepting as a whole. We all need to take a close look at the people around us, how they affect the way we think, and how that alters how we think about ourselves because if we think of ourselves as a good person, we will change our memories to match that.