Getting to Istanbul

For a good while now, I’ve been visited by a kind of recurring dream. It’s always shifting, but retains some key elements from one time to the next. I haven’t been able to recall dreams very well lately, probably because of one of the medications I’ve been prescribed. But for the past week I’ve been back to sleeping a lot and I was finally able to remember details from my dreams from last night. Probably because I awoke several times in the course of my sleep cycle without getting up, which allowed me to remember bits and pieces. I didn’t want to get up because I felt exhausted, but I also wanted to give myself a chance to have a pleasant dream for once, instead of my usual fare of stress and confusion. I don’t know why I bother because I can only remember having one pleasant dream in all my adult years. I wonder what it’s like having pleasant dreams on a regular basis? I won’t go into all the minute details of my dreams here. I’ll just describe those elements that keep coming back almost every night because I figure if the dream keeps repeating itself, it must be because there’s a message I’m not getting. I’ve often found that the insights some of my readers share with me sometimes help me see more clearly, and perhaps with a little luck, this will be the case here.

Anxiety. The first element that is always present is a state of high anxiety. I know I’m supposed to be somewhere and I’m constantly running around, even when I’m meant to be resting in the dream. This is true of all my dreams.

Work. There is almost always a work situation where I return to work after my prolonged absence, and find the corporation has undergone extensive growth and has been completely restructured; they’re usually in a new building and/or in a different city and there have been so many hires that I hardly recognize anyone. Sometimes I’m left by myself in my new office as though I was expected to know what to do and who to pass on my instructions to, but usually I’m mostly wandering around the building trying to find something. As I’m wandering, I inevitable pass by one, or several boardrooms which have glass partitions so that I can see in and vice-versa. Last night as a change, I was actually sitting at the boardroom and was expected to make smart pronouncements but instead whenever I opened my mouth, a long stream of gibberish would come out, which another of the attendants would eventually cut off with his/her own remarks. My boss is always in one of those boardrooms, or on her way in or out of one. Sometimes we exchange a few words, sometimes not.

The work situation is always especially stressful since, in addition to the understandable stress caused by the prospect of going back to work after many months of leave and the usual stress that comes with my job, there is almost always a major problem with my wardrobe. Once I was wearing a micro mini dress which would lift with every passing breeze… while wearing no panties. Which is a variation on the “showing up naked” dream which apparently is quite common. I don’t remember the specifics of other dreams, though I do know that in almost every instance, the clothes do not do an adequate job of covering my nakedness and/or are highly inappropriate for work (for example, a party dress I’ve worn the night before which has gotten drenched in the rain and is still soaking wet) .

Vacation. There is often a situation where I am on vacation somewhere, or on my way there, or am in a location both for work and play. The “vacation” part of the dream is not fun or relaxing at all, since there is always a strong sensation that I’m supposed to be somewhere else, though I don’t know where that is.

Istanbul. This is usually the time around which I figure out that I had booked a trip to Istanbul and that:
a) I’ve already missed the flight by hours or days, up to a week, or
b) the flight is only a couple of hours from now, which doesn’t leave me enough time to get to the airport, let alone pack my suitcase, or
c) I decide to drop everything and fly to Istanbul, even though I don’t have clothes or passport or money to take with me, or
d) I decide I don’t want to go to Istanbul, even though I’ll have wasted a very expensive ticket.

In many cases, as happens in dreams, I don’t actually take a flight but just spontaneously end up all by myself in a small residential area of what at that point I can only assume is Istanbul. I’m hungry and tired and the street I’m on has shops and cafés and a homemade ice cream stand/juice bar, and even a youth hostel or bed & breakfast-type place, though no one speaks English or French and I can’t make myself understood when I ask for anything. I point a lot, but I can’t get directions on how to get to whatever it is I’m trying to find. Furthermore, in this scenario, I don’t have money or a plane ticket to fly back “home”. I don’t have a suitcase or change of clothes either since as you can see from the options above, I didn’t have a chance to bring any of that.

Why Istanbul? I’m not sure exactly why it is that the destination is always Istanbul. The only connection I have to Istanbul is that I was meant to go there about ten years ago when I went to visit the Greek Islands, but I ended up living in Crete for five months instead. The way I had originally planned the trip had me doing some island hopping in Greece for two weeks, and then finishing off my trip with one week in Istanbul. Initially, I kept calling the airline and changing my flights so I could stay in Crete longer until eventually I decided I didn’t want to leave Greece and would visit Istanbul some other time.

This dream has been baffling me for a while now, but today I literally haven’t been able to shake it. And I keep wondering if I haven’t forgotten about an arrangement I’ve made, and hoping that’s not the case because I just couldn’t handle having to pack my suitcase on the fly right now.

Pic: oberazzi (Tim O’Brien), Flickr


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