Thursday, 21 November 2013

Interpretation of DG's Dream - Gender-swap Washrooms & X-Men

This is a dream I have interpreted for DG - an online friend who is a male computer science/engineering student from India. For this interpretation I have varied the format from my previous Dream Interpretation Report of third-party dream (see DA's Dream here).

The dreamer and his friends are at college. They enter the washroom and are surprised to find it is clean and decent – however they are unaware that the placement of the male and female washroom has been swapped. Some girls enter the washroom whilst they are inside and ask “is this a common washroom?” The dreamer’s friend replies “we don’t know, it was a boy’s washroom before”. The girls leave, laughing. A member of staff argue with the dreamer and his friends, telling them it is a female washroom. The dreamer then proves him wrong by showing him the changed nameplate on the door. The scene then changes and the dreamer is in the X-Men’s house, chatting with a few X-Men. Wolverine enters and the dreamer rushes towards him and hugs him tight, saying “you are my favourite X-Man”.

College/learning institution
Generally, dreaming of college or another learning institution refers to the dreamer undergoing some form of social or cultural change – typically the expanding of knowledge or awareness. It may also symbolise changes within your circle of friends. It indicates that the time is right for experimentation and the college location is a symbol of where you are now – your current circumstances and environment. It may mean that the dreamer is undergoing some form of stress and perseverance is required to achieve goals.

Public washroom
The symbol of the public washroom represents a ‘disorderly attempt’ to cleanse the mind of unpleasant or unruly emotions or negative thoughts. The fact that the dreamer sees a usually dirty or unkempt public washroom in a surprisingly clean state may indicate that this ‘cleansing’ process has been successful in some respect. Typically, a bathroom appearing in dreams, signifies basic instincts and desires. It is possible that these feelings are overwhelming the dreamer and it is his or her intention to rid himself of anxiety caused by them. Public washrooms may symbolise the fact that other persons are interfering with the dreamer’s ability to ‘cleanse’ negative situations/thoughts and are holding him back from making important changes in his life. I wonder whether the fact that females entered the washroom is an indication that certain relationships or interactions with females are a distraction to the dreamer and are creating confusion – this would certainly also relate to the fact that the dream symbolism suggests there was some uncertainty as to whether the dreamer was in a male/female-orientated environment and whether the genders were supposed to mingle in the washroom (i.e. ‘is this a common washroom?’) or remain separate. More effort is required to face and resolve issues in the dreamer’s current waking life in order to bring about purification and renewal. The presence of other persons in the public washroom may also represent an intrusion into the dreamer’s personal space and privacy, although in this particular dream it does not appear that the presence of either his male companions or the females who enter are the source of anxiety or aggravation. Dreaming of a washroom may also represent the problem of holding onto old emotions or feelings and the dreamer’s fear that revealing these feelings may lead to criticism or judgement by others.

Gender-swap of washroom
Specific to this dream, the dream concept of being in a washroom intended for the opposite gender (i.e. the fact the washrooms had changed and there was some confusion by both the females and the staff members) may indicate that the dreamer has crossed a boundary and ‘overstepped the mark’ in some way. The fact that the dreamer confronts the staff member as to whether he is in the correct washroom points to the idea that he is able to defend his actions/feelings, which are justified in the circumstances. The dreamer may realise that criticism or judgement by others is unfair and unwarranted.

Fictional characters, superheroes, mutants, Wolverine
To dream of specific characters from fiction may indicate the dreamer’s personal feelings about these persons – whether it is the actor who has played the character in a movie, or the character itself. In the case, I feel the dreamer’s emphasis is on the characters, rather than the human actors who have played them in movies based on the X-Men comics. The characters will represent some aspect of the dreamer’s personality or internal thought – it may be positive aspects which he is pleased to possess or it may be negative attributes he wishes to change.

The dreamer indicated to me that he was having some issue with linking this dream scene including the X-Men with the earlier washroom scene of his dream, but I feel the link may be quite clear, if the individual components of the scene are broken down further and analysed. X-Men are mutants. To dream of mutants is symbolic of negative or worrying aspects of the dreamer’s self which he is unable or unwilling to confront. It may also indicate the need to perceive things from a different angle or perspective in order to resolve them. Something in the dreamer’s life needs to drastically change and the mutant symbol may represent a fear of difference or transformation – openness and tolerance is needed. However, as the dreamer was chatting with the X-Men, it may be that he is confronting such issues or attempting to assimilate changes into his waking life. Dreaming of superheroes tends to reflect an admiration for the courage and characteristics of the character. Wolverine – the dreamer’s ‘favourite’ of the X-Men (and the only one he embraces in the dream) is an overtly masculine character with extremely sharp instincts, enhanced physical capabilities and healing ability. He has near-destructible metal alloy (adamantium) bonded to his skeleton, meaning that internally he supernaturally strong and powerful. ‘Wolf’ brings to mind the symbol for repressed anger, violence and aggression, but also survival, self-confidence, solitude and pride. It represents to the dreamer that he should not underestimate his own strength and abilities/instincts which will allow him to bounce back from setbacks and navigate obstacles faced. I believe Wolverine here, symbolises an assertion of masculinity and a signal to the dreamer that he should actively embody the characteristics of this character into his waking life. He may subconsciously desire the attainment of some of the ultra-masculine qualities embodied by the Wolverine character – such as inner strength and durability; assertiveness and aggression etc, and the dream is either highlighting the fact that these qualities are either already possessed by the dreamer, or that he needs to actively encourage their growth and development through some form of personal transformation (which would also link in to the symbol of mutants generally). This transformation should not be feared. I see the earlier dream scene in the washroom as an indication that the dreamer needs to ‘man-up’ and face a current problem which he is already attempting to resolve in some way, or at least has taken some steps to confront – whether mentally or in relation to other persons or situations in his waking life. However, some confusion remains (i.e. the confusion as to whether the washroom was male or female) – it may be that he has doubted his own masculine powers and wishes to assert them in the future (hence, embracing Wolverine) or has been in some way bewildered in his interaction with women (i.e. understanding how females think or feel) – and the dream is reminding him that he (as a male) is fundamentally different, possessing masculine traits which are to his advantage – indeed in arguing with the college staff member and proving he was in the correct washroom, and the later scene with Wolverine, tend to suggest this. The fact the females ask “is this a common washroom?” may reflect the dreamer’s uncertainty as to whether he and female acquaintances share the same common qualities, beliefs or goals etc - but he is reminded by the symbolism discussed above that this is not the case and he should embody the gender differences rather than fear them. Perhaps, on the other hand, he has been too concerned with masculinity and maintaining such qualities and the dream is reminding him that he may indeed benefit from encouraging some personal qualities typically associated with the female gender – such as compassion, nurturing, caring etc. The later scene with Wolverine and the X-Men may suggest that this causes some anxiety in the dreamer, who is proud of his masculinity and does not want to appear weak to others (although this would be an unfounded fear) and thus, scared of any transformation into a different self, he is clinging to stereotypes of what a male should be rather than acknowledge the advantage of personal change. This ties in with the idea that the dreamer may need to view current situations from a different perspective – i.e. instead of taking what he considers to be a ‘male’ stance, maybe he should try and address a scenario from a different angle, even if it means using aspects of the personality or unwanted feelings which the dreamer is scared of confronting.

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