I have a recurring dream. It’s a nightmare really. I am always in the same house. It is a house I know but unlike any I have ever actually lived in. The house is huge and navigation between rooms is difficult. Staircases have been positioned haphazardly and there is no central corridor so many of the rooms can only be accessed through other rooms. In the dream I know it is my house and my responsibility to maintain it properly.

In the dream there is always an issue. I need to get something urgently from one of the rooms or something is leaking and I need to gain access quickly to stop it. The problem is I also know the house is haunted. And guarding the room or rooms I want urgent access to is the ghost. Don’t think white sheet, think terrifying banshee. I know she is female. And she is out for my blood. Sometimes she has a weapon. Sometimes her claw like nails and razor sharp teeth are threatening enough. Her features are twisted. She represents darkness itself. Think Charlotte Bronte’s Bertha Mason. The Madwoman in the Attic. No one is safe from her irrational cruelty. And about two years ago waking from a particular vivid recurrence of the nightmare, I realised she was me.

Dreams fascinate me. I believe a dream is my subconscious communicating with my conscious self. There is lots of dream research and I have dabbled in it but do not proclaim to be an expert. These are only my own musings. There are recognised symbols in dreams. A house for example represents your sense of self or your mindset. The particularly vivid dream I referred to above involved me needing to get access to a balcony leading off one of the rooms. I couldn’t because the madwoman was waiting there for me. This time with a gun. And I knew in that moment she was me.

So I was the banshee. I was the darkness. Something inside me was haunting my mind and stopping me moving forward. That’s what my subsconscious was telling me. Frankie Valli sings a beautiful song called Fallen Angel which has always spoken to me. In it his lover has returned after what ‘seemed a million years’. There has clearly been an heated argument and a suggestion of her infidelity whilst being away from him. Yet the song tells her that he will always love and forgive her.

You can’t help the things you do, now something’s gotten hold of you

Fallen Angel 

You got a demon in your soul

And later when the fever’s gone I’ll be here where you belong

I need a man like Frankie. I have a demon in my soul. She cannot be eradicated. She is part of me. So I have to manage her. And to do that I have to understand her.

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