I stare blankly out my window, entranced by the surreal beauty of the soft sunset pouring into my room as I gently pull the shutter closed. I feel around in my pocket, pushing aside sharp thumbtacks, clinking metal coins, and mini cucumbers to find the pocket watch my father gifted me some years ago. I grasp the warm leather band and yank, but the watch stays stuck. Furious, I yank again, spilling tacks all over the floor. I glance at the face – 4 am – and shudder in panic. I rush over to my closet, snag a Wharton shirt, and bolt out the door.
This short, innocuous dream sequence reveals many of my subconscious desires. My blank stare at the start, a rare moment of pure unhindered joy, represents a desire to escape back to my dear home of Kentucky. The sunset clearly symbolizes my long-term partner whose intense attractiveness I deeply miss. A subsequent impulse to check the time interrupts my bliss and snaps me back to reality.
As I reach into my pocket, I fight through an interfering crowd of thumbtacks, threatening my delicate hands which hold great importance for myself as a researcher and prospective physician. Why then would I hold such dangerous cutting instruments close to my body? Perhaps I carry an intrinsic will for self-harm to end the stress and lift the weight of lofty dreams, reveling in the comfort of unattainable goals. I carry coins as a material reminder of the benefits of crushed dreams, the possibility of selling my soul for an easier life. The cucumbers in the way obviously act as a phallic symbol, and this struggle condenses into a single event the inner tension created by repressed homosexuality, a physical representation of mental combat against raging homoerotic desires.
These internal contests occupy my thoughts as I search for the watch, a definite reminder of the distance I maintain from my family being at Penn. It measures every second I spend away, mocking my loneliness with every tick. I aggressively grab the watch, lashing out against my repressed feelings. Angered by the resistance I feel against fulfilling my subconscious wishes, I act with great force, spilling tacks and creating a dangerous situation. I manifest my inner impulsivity and channel my inner frustration, blinding me from the consequences of my actions.
The rage turns into anxiety as I read the time, an exhibition of my inherent phobia of missing important deadlines, and further showing my discomfort with the rapid pace of student life. The early time reflects the burden of trying to meet high expectations as well as the disappointment I sorely face each day. In my hurry, I grab my only Wharton shirt in the closet, not a stroke of luck, rather a fulfillment of my deep wish to leave behind my burdensome plans in favor of a lame career.
Though quite compact, this dream abounds with meaning I have only begun to uncover.