Searching in My Dreams

Robin Botie of ithaca, New York, photoshops woman prisoner searching a haunted house in her dreams.In my dream I had lost everything. My house, my money, my family. And I was incarcerated. For a crime? Or for being crazy? It wasn’t clear in the dream. What was clear was that I was searching for something. In the middle of a group of women prisoners, I was always on the lookout for something as we were taken to various parts of town to work, supervised by some nice man. Who loved me. And maybe I loved him back. A little. Because when the dream ended and I woke up, I lay very still, trying to get back into the dream.

“Don’t move when you wake from your dream,” I’d been told in real life, at a conference for bereaved parents months ago, “or you’ll forget it.” They’d given me a blank journal to record dreams of my daughter who died. But ever since I got the journal, Marika stopped showing up in my dreams. Completely. This latest dream, about being an inmate, had not included her. So I let it go. The journal still sits on my night table. Still blank.

How are you supposed to dream if you hardly ever sleep? Most of each night I lay awake with my mind racing, and tell myself it’s enough to just be resting my body.

Somewhere, I’ve read that we dream what we think about. Hah! Also, that our brain is simply remixing and replaying our waking times, and searching for connections between unrelated experiences.

Maybe dreaming is really just our minds continuing to search, endlessly, even as our bodies rest. And maybe the important things in life are not who we are or what we have, but rather what we’re searching for. I’m just putting that out there, being one who searches day and night, awake or asleep. All that seeking; you’d think it would tire me out.

New plan for before bedtime: watch less of Orange is the New Black, the Netflix series about women prison inmates, and read more of Anne Lamott’s inspiring books about finding hope, and mercy, and faith. Spend more time looking at photos of my daughter. And maybe even consider taking a peek, now and then, of the offerings on


Dreams don’t matter, you say?


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4 thoughts on “Searching in My Dreams

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    I missed this one somehow. My favorite source of nighttime digestion and occasional clarity. Dreams! They point me where I need to go. So I’d ask: How do you feel imprisoned? How do you feel free? Any associations with that guy? And is it wise to watch movies about imprisoned women before bed? I caught a snippet of a dream last night, but it slipped away. Vic hasn’t been around in a starring dream role for a while, but he’s often part of a group. A sort of silent witness.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      It definitely is not wise to watch these (often desperate) imprisoned women before bedtime. But they have become like family to me now. I’m hooked on keeping up with their latest misadventures. As for my dream – it reflects very little of how I feel in real waking life. Because i feel so free and fortunate, not imprisoned in any way. Well, maybe by all my silly fears. But I know I’m free to pursue men, passions, anything. I do not know who the man in the dream was. There are no guys in my life right now, no romantic interests anyway. No one lording over me telling me to do anything. Whew! Sure would be nice to dream about Marika. Or my dad. I hope you get some really amazing dreams starring Vic soon. Part of a group? I’ll have to be on the lookout for dreams where my daughter may be camouflaged in a group. Hugs, Elaine.

  2. Lynne Taetzsch

    Robin, “Orange Is the New Black” is addictive, but probably not the best thing to watch before going to bed. I always have lots of dreams, and sometimes my deceased husband, Adrian, does appear. But so does my first husband, even though I left him when I was 27. Often in my dreams, I’ve lost the people I started the dream out with, like my sister or daughter, and spend the rest of the dream trying to find them until I wake up.

    I looked at briefly a year after my husband died, but found it too scary. You should go for it, though. I have friends who found their partners that way.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I agree, Lynne. Orange is the New Black is definitely not conducive to good sleep. But I do think I’m addicted. I missed The Girls like they were family went I was away in Australia. And they haven’t invaded my dreams. Yet. Yeah, I guess I’m searching for Marika in my dreams too. But I am not looking for anyone on No more. I mean, really? Do I need a partner? Will my life be better with a partner? I think I was lonelier when I was married. Both times. Since my trip to Australia, I’m almost convinced I need only an occasional tour group.


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