He was wearing a very light blue – almost white – T-Shirt and blue Jeans and he was really short, about my height, which is weird because I’m pretty sure he’s quite tall. Anyway I approached him, said ‘hi’ and he looked at me like he’d just been approached by a giant talking turd. I mean, seriously, the look of contempt on his face was so awful I woke up in a cold sweat. It took me a while to process my surroundings, I wasn’t at home in my own bed. Then followed the inevitable question: Why the fuck do I keep having the same dream about Tobias Menzies?
For those of you who don’t know, Tobias Menzies is an Actor. I guess his most notable television roles might be as ‘Brutus’ in ‘Rome’ and currently some psychopathic guy named ‘Jack Randall’ in a show called ‘Outlander’. He’s also acted in a number of theatre productions.
The first dream I had about him was just before I was due to start a 6 week drama class. Although it was weird to dream about this man completely out of the blue I didn’t give it much thought and carried on with life. This was in May and the classes went well. I recognised our tutor immediately as I’d seen her on TV in a few things. This made me a bit nervous but I was also relieved as it meant I hadn’t handed over a ridiculous amount of money to some random nutter with no acting experience at all.
They were a lovely group of people and a couple of hours a week after work spent pretending to be someone else was just what I needed at that time. It had been a rough year prior to this. I’ll give you the abbreviated version of events: Jan 2015, stared a new job, June 2015 resigned from the job; July – October; used this time to get over the traumatic experience that was that job; November 2015- March 2016 was broke and job searching; April 2016 started a new job.
Unemployment doesn’t agree with me but what made the situation even worse was that my confidence had been all but crushed as a result of my previous employment, so applying for jobs was even more stressful because I was convinced I would be shit at everything I applied for. Anyway, about a month into the new job I decided that I needed to do something that would not only be fun but would also help to restore my confidence. I had no intention of acting professionally, no interest in being ‘discovered’ and no wish to become the next Dame Judi Dench. I just needed to do something a little different to make the transition in to my new job a little easier.
I was at some kind of event in a hall somewhere. There were loads of people milling around and I think I remember someone drinking wine. This time he was wearing a brown jacket. I approached him and was about to introduce myself when I was faced with that contemptuous look. I froze and I think I eventually did manage to say hello. Menzies mumbled something then walked away. I don’t know what he said but I doubt it was very nice.
That dream took place a few days before I was due to meet with my solicitor. Let me make this very clear: I am not the kind of person who has anything to do with the criminal justice system, nor do I have any need to be fucking around in legal matters. I’m a humble person who tries to live a quiet and content life so you can imagine my horror at having to acquire a solicitor and engage with the legal system because some dipshit was trying to take something away from me which they, despite their own feelings of entitlement, had absolutely no right to.
Even though I had done nothing wrong but be born, I still felt terribly nervous whenever I had to communicate with my solicitor or engage with this matter at all. I wouldn’t be able to sleep on the nights leading up to the meetings, I would have terrible nausea and would feel generally down. It was stressful, expensive and anger inducing because I had done nothing to deserve this. There I was being forced to defend something that is rightfully mine just because someone had decided that they wanted it. It was never theirs, they had never contributed to it, and they fucking knew that it was mine yet still they wanted to take it from me for no other reasons than greed and malice – malice which had nothing to do with me by the way, I just happen to be related to the person they were really pissed off with.
I was extremely worried because having this thing essentially stolen from me would have a very negative impact on my future.
I will never forget the eerie silence on the train the morning it was announced that Britain had voted to leave the EU. That morning was odd for a number of reasons; namely that Southern Rail was actually running and not only was I able to get on a train I was actually able to get a seat too!
I was tired – really tired – so much so that I had a little doze on my way to work which I don’t normally do. I thought I had slept well the night before but for some reason I felt exhausted. Perhaps it was the shock.
I hadn’t dreamed about Menzies during that time and it only occurred to me much later that this was significant.
My last dream about Menzies was in September. It was the one I mentioned at the beginning with him in the T-Shirt. I was in Antigua at the time and had spent that morning emailing information to the university and trying to order my student card. My family and I had travelled to the Caribbean to take my grandfather’s ashes back home to Montserrat where he was born but the trip coincided with the induction taking place that week for the course I was due to start in October. Since I wasn’t in England, I had to complete much of the induction and enrollment paperwork online.
It’s good to take some time out to think. It’s even better to do so in the Caribbean. The morning after the dream I sat on the balcony in the baking hot sun (not a great spot for someone with albinism but hey!) wondering if I was going slightly mad. Why did I keep having random dreams about this man? Why did he always hate me in the dreams? When would Netflix be bringing back a new series of BoJack Horseman? – Okay, that part was a little off point.
I know who Tobias Menzies is. I’ve watched a few things and he is an amazing actor, definitely one of my favourites, but none of that explained the randomness of these dreams. It wasn’t as if I had watched something with him in it, then subsequently dreamed about him. That would actually have made more sense. Instead he was just ‘appearing’ with no prompting on my part and it was beginning to freak me out. I thought about each of the dreams; in May just after I had started my new job and was about to enrol on the drama class (That one is a little hazy but involved me smiling at him and receiving the now familiar look of contempt); in June/July before meeting with my solicitor, and in September a few weeks before I was due to start studying for my Masters. I figured the dreams were taking place when something important was about to happen. But why no dreams leading up to Brexit? That was a pretty important event too.
Perhaps it’s because it effected everyone and not me directly?
But why him? And why was he always so horrible to me in the dreams?
Dreams are basically symbolic of the things that are happening or have happened in your life. Menzies himself isn’t important, it’s what he represents that matters.
Okay, so what does he represent? Well, he’s a successful actor so perhaps he represents success?
But he was so mean to me. Unless… If he represents success and he is always mean to me then success is always outside of my reach?
Or maybe I just think it is?
Am I scared of success?
No, I’m scared of failure.
And there it was.
The new job, the drama class, the legal issues, starting a Masters Degree… they were all things I was afraid of failing. I was nervous about screwing up in the new job, I was terrified about losing the case and I was – and still am – scared of failing my Masters. Each dream represented my anxiety and fear of failure.
And Brexit? Well, I wasn’t nervous about Brexit. I genuinely didn’t believe for a second that the vote would go the way it did. I was confident that we would be staying in the EU hence no dream.
I haven’t had any more dreams about Menzies since Antigua which is a relief. I am no less worried about failure than I was previously but I think the fact that I no longer have those dreams means that I was supposed to recognise and be aware of my fears going forward.
Hopefully 2017 won’t present quite as many challenges but if it does and I begin to feel fearful I’ll be more aware of my feelings and better able to manage them. Hopefully without celebrity help this time!
So here’s to our fears (and our conquering of them).
Wishing you a happy and fearless New Year!
*** I have been in the ‘New Job’ now for eight months and passed my probation period so fingers crossed it continues to go well.
*** In December I won the case after a Judge ruled that the person had no rights to the thing that was mine.
*** My first essay is due in on Jan 11th. Wish me luck!