my first k-drama dream

dreaming SOM

Last night, I had a dream that only lasted maybe five minutes. It was probably just one scene, but it rocked me so hard that when I woke up, I didn’t know how to feel.

I plan to blog about this later, but a lot of really awful things have happened to me since last September–well, maybe you could say last July. While I was in grad school, I got into watching Korean dramas, or k-dramas. While I wrote and revised my thesis, I’d watch it and say I was “on k-drama support.” I was writing a lot about my family and growing up, the shows had a lot to do with family and heartache and joy. K-dramas helped me to access those emotions, both painful and pleasurable, that I wasn’t able to access. Maybe I’ll blog about my favorites later, but you should watch The Greatest Love to start.

I preface my own calamities and losses because I believe dreams and nightmares have to do with the subconscious being able to work through issues that one cannot work through in waking life. For example, during my 20s, I had a reoccurring dream of screaming at my father. Once I worked through that stuff, the dream never returned.

Now in this dream that I had, I’m pretty sure it was referencing one of the k-dramas that I am watching, Heart to Heart, specifically the female lead’s disguise as a grandmother (you’ll have to watch to see why she’s disguised as a grandmother). In my dream, it was an actual Korean grandmother. We were outside of her door and there was an eviction notice on the door of her apartment. I remember the date, January 22, 2015. That date has no significance to me except the double number of 22.

Numbers in duplicate and triplicate have been following me around since I entered grad school in 2012, increasing in frequency. In woo woo land, they are called angel numbers. Twenty-two does have some significance here, but not necessarily in the dream.

Back to my grandmother–we were both so upset, loud voices wailing. This was my fault because I hadn’t been able to find full-time work and support us. And that is true-to-life, too: my financial worries were (finally?) being projected into my subconscious. I had also faced eviction during my second year of grad school and had to leave. I’ve had unstable housing ever since and that was at the end of 2013.

Mind you–this is also like an actual TV show, so she’s speaking in Korean, and there are subtitles. So I was confused and yet I knew what was going on. When I saw those numbers, I was reminded about this man who had left me. And this is why I said bad things started happening last July. I met a man last July who disappeared into thin air and haven’t necessarily been able to shake him spiritually. It’s hard to explain and not worth writing about here. It’s just all to say that I knew what this dream meant from jump, which is rare.

So my grandmother and I are deeply sorrowful and my heart is smashed on the floor. I look down the hallway–and if you’ve watched k-dramas, just imagine your typical apartment complex, which is pretty sterile and white–and see a glass door that leads outside. It was semi-opaque–there were maybe papers over it. I just remember the number 55, which has been following more than any numbers lately. I thought to myself: “What if he’s been outside this whole time? What if he came back for me? Why did I never look past this door before?”

Now, I am jumping into my own k-drama mid-season, if you will, so I don’t even know who this man is or our backstory. I just have a suspicion as a viewer that this guy has been pining for me the whole time and that I had just neglected to see it. Confused yet?

Anyway, I run to the door, but slowly push it open and there he is. But he’s like older, with saeguk hair, a very long beard, mostly grey (the guy I met in the summer is only one year older than me, but he feels way more grown up than I do, so I feel like this guy partially represents my own ambivalence with aging). I jumped up, threw myself into his arms, wrapped my legs around him, and wept. In real life, I would never ever do this. I am never this demonstrably emotional…unless I’ve been drinking. And even then, I have never felt that sort of deep emotion to the point that my body had to act it out. Even writing about it is still quite emotional.

In that little scene, I went from losing my home to finding the love of my life again in the span of a minute. My grandmother is happy and sad–we’re all happy and sad. K-dramas usually are able to run the gamut of emotions like this, but I don’t think I’ve watched anything that made me feel like my heart would explode out of my chest out of sheer emotional confusion. I’ve never felt happysad like that in my life, either. It’s a very visceral, distressing feeling, like I’d want to collapse to the floor and clutch my chest in agony, like getting the emotional bends–meeting the grief of loss and the joy of return. The feeling may be one in the same somehow.

Beyond the interpretations I’ve given here, I have no earthly idea what it means for my waking life, besides, clearly, I want love–and that’s good; and that I’ve been through hell and want some sort of happy end to it. It’s one big reason I love watching k-dramas. Even though it’s fictional, the writers of these shows put their characters through such almost immeasurable pain and heartbreak and loss. Yet, through their suffering, they are able to find love and personal life satisfaction. K-dramas gave me hope that I would make it through this, even if I lost my home or other things, or people were plotting against me. Somehow, at the end of the twelve or twenty-four or fifty episodes, I would be OK. I would be more than OK. American television never gave me hope like this, so readily and so easily. And maybe my subconscious needed to root for me and lend me some hope last night, in my own little, tiny TV show. And the show ended with me, wrapped around the man I loved.

It seems silly to me, but that feeling makes me want to weep–not only because that feeling itself is so intense and rich and bursting with truth, but also because I may never feel like that in my waking life. Even if I did, I don’t know if my heart could take it without exploding. I can’t even dwell on it–it’s too much to think about. But I am a hopeless romantic, so I know that even if my waking life can’t handle such love, let alone the idea of it, my subconscious knows what it wants and is already working on finding that for me.

Or, so I hope.

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