Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lilapsophobia: I Used To Dream About Tornadoes

About a year ago, I started having the same recurring dream almost every night.

In one I was with my  mother and my little sister, and we were driving in a car so fast the air was screaming. In another, I was running with no shoes on toward a gigantic, empty theater to hide underneath the stage. In others I was on top of a building, on a bus, flying a plane while crying and yelling out names into a microphone. In all of them, I was running from a tornado.

The books all said this was a sign of a tumultuous life, a time of hard decisions and stress, and that the tornado dreams were my unconscious mind trying to work out fears in my waking life. In one of the dreams, I was trying to reach my sister who was having a baby in a hospital. I could see the hospital in front of me, and the overwhelming gray funnel beside me, as I raced it on foot to try and reach the doors before the raging storm demolished the place. I woke up before I found out who won.

I knew these dreams must have meant something important, as tornadoes have been my biggest fear since I was a little girl. Even the lightest of thunderstorms would send me to the space beneath our basement stairs, clutching a radio and my teddy bear. One night I asked my parents to put my most prized possessions in a safe box underneath my mother's desk to protect them from the impending storm. The box contained my first-place blue ribbon from a math competition in first grade, a collection of pennies, and a doll from my great-grandmother.

A few months back the dreams stopped, and it wasn't until I was talking to one of my friends that I remembered them. "Remember the dreams I used to have all the time?" I asked, "The ones with the tornadoes?" We both felt that they seemed weird and coincidental, now that everywhere we turned in our waking lives, tornadoes were all we saw. "What do you dream about now?" she asked.

Now I keep having this dream where I'm driving. I'm driving down my street and I take a few turns and I'm lost. I know I'm in Tuscaloosa, I was just on my street, but I've never seen this part of town before, or at least I can't recognize it because all the houses are destroyed. I keep turning, growing more and more frantic, and can't find my way back. As I drive faster and faster, I keep seeing every house has the X painted on the side, and every single one of them has the number 1 written on the bottom. No matter what street I turn onto, every single house had someone die inside. I want to get out but my doors are locked, and I don't know where I am. I have woken up crying twice.

I never could have predicted that in my dreams about real tornadoes, there would be no tornadoes in them at all.


  1. I had no idea there was a clinical term for fear of Tornadoes?