DREAM ADVICE COLUMN: DREAM AS WISH FULFILLMENT

(Background: I am 21 years old, female, white, studying fashion, in a relationship)

I often have the same dream and it it starting to bother me. Basically, I dream that I have a number of different Pop Tarts spread before me — different colors and flavors like cinnamon, strawberry, Oreo, etc., and even some flavors that don’t exist in real life like cookie dough and white chocolate fudge. I heat them up and begin to eat. My, they are delicious! I eat and eat as much as I can. They taste great! In the dream I can taste them. Like when you have sex in a dream and it feels amazing. But then you wake up and it’s a let-down. You are alone. The Pop Tarts were not real.

I do have some issues with eating and dieting. Is my dream really about food, or is it about sex? You should know that I would never normally eat Pop Tarts, or at least confess to eating them or desiring them, but in fact I crave them every day.

-B

Dear B,

My what a decadent dream! As I read your dream I kept picturing a film like “The Wizard of Oz,” where Dorothy leaves her drab world of Kansas for the brilliant technicolor of Oz. Your Pop Tart wonderland seems to be compensating for your restricted palette of the everyday, as you mentioned you have some issues with dieting. Maybe your sex life could use some technicolor also?

Carl Jung wrote about this notion of psychic equilibrium. Just as molecules, planets, and all organic life in between seeks homeostasis, the psyche is no different. Say you take a long, hot shower. A very complex and interconnected internal system helps regulate your body temperature so that it remains largely

unchanged despite the intense external heat conditions. Your pores open, you sweat, your heart rate speeds up, drawing blood toward the skin in order to cool it. Think of the opposite when you’re freezing and blood rushes inward to keep you insulated, leaving your extremities ice cold. You don’t have to tell your body to make these adjustments, it does so of its own accord. Our psychic life also regulates itself voluntarily, and communicates that it may be under stress through symptoms, soma, and dreams. Your dream life is doing you a favor by feeding you at night the treats you limit by day. This kind of chronic denial you’re imposing on yourself through dieting is putting stress on your self-regulating psychic system, and I’m sure your body as well. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go get a Pop Tart! But not before you read what my friend Mikita Brottman, Freudian psychoanalyst and author, has to say about your pop tart dilemma. 

“I would say in some ways this is a simple wish fulfillment dream. Freud believed that all dreams were the fulfillment of a wish. We can see this most clearly when we dream that we do something we actually want to do, or should be doing — getting up and going to the bathroom, getting a glass of water, getting up and going to work, writing that paper for school — while enjoying the pleasure of staying asleep the whole time. This dream clearly fits into that category — the dreamer, who in real life has to restrict her diet, can enjoy a heavenly array of forbidden flavors and tastes without ‘paying’ for them in terms of calories or weight gain. I’d suggest the dreamer should go a little easier on herself when it comes to her diet. A treat now and then is not a disaster.

Also, being a Freudian, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the sexual aspect of the dream. The dreamer draws attention to a curious double standard in our society. Young women who overeat rich desserts are taught to feel guilty, to treat themselves with disdain, and yet when it comes to sex, modern ladies are encouraged to have as much as possible, be adventurous, experiment, go solo, insist upon multiple orgasms, etc. Ironically, if it were flavors and varieties of sex this dreamer was describing, her desire would be a lot more socially acceptable (less “vanilla”), which is perhaps why she would like her dream to be ‘about sex’ and not about food.”

B, I hope you can enjoy this food for thought as much as you’ll enjoy that Pop Tart!

*DISCLAIMER: Dreamwork is a collaborative process that relies entirely on the associations of the dreamer to create a dream meaning. Without the dreamer’s input, I can only describe my personal associations and amplify the dream images as they exist symbolically on a cultural level.

See original post on the Free People blog here

Illustration by Erica Prince

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