I come from a family with the fantastic dream gene; not only do we have surreal dreams but we get to remember them. My nights are invaded by aliens, monsters, and fabulous clothes. For me, the best part about dreams is that the laws of physics need not apply – we can all be superheros. But what superpower would you choose? The classic debate is flight vs invisibility (as outlined in this great “This American Life” episode). Is it better to fly at great speeds and heights or just invisibly sneak around and spy? Good vs evil? My subconscious brain definitely comes down on the side of flight. My earliest dream memory is from when I was about 5 or 6, and I was flying. I had ethereal wings that could appear or disappear at will. I could also change size – which really gave me the best of both worlds as I could become small and still sneak around to explore small passageways and openings. In practice, I was a fairy. I would meet up with other small flying people, mostly girls. It wasn’t long after that my dream persona also gained the ability to switch genders at will. This transition wasn’t sexual, just my body image was already very fluid and it felt like the natural extension of being a small flying person. I was still too young to appreciate any effeminate slurs associated with being a fairy, the guilt came later. Today, I still have fantastic dreams. I can switch genders and fly, though I no longer need wings as I effortlessly levitate with a single thought.
In talking to other transgendered friends, I am surprised how often they have some form of similar early childhood dream where one’s subconscious first encounters another identity. These windows into our subconscious are often brutally honest, freed from not just the laws of physics but also society’s expectations. I would love to hear other people’s dreams – so feel free to share. What was the first dream you can remember?