The Juxtaposition of Two Math Dreams

  • December 24, 2019
  • 6 minutes
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I just completed my first quarter of a Post-Bacc mathematics degree. I am fortunate that most of my classes from more than a decade ago were accepted for credit. I think that if things go as planned, that I’ll have my BA by the summer of 2020. That isn’t so bad. I would have completed it sooner but I realized that I can only juggle about two classes with my work schedule. I am also volunteering with a organization called Science Talk which puts on a conference for science communications.

I have sooo many times attempted to write about my experiences. The thing is…it is so deeply personal. I would have to tell you the story of my life. The absolute worst and the absolute best. Every painful heartbreaking moment.

I actually have a 30,000-word manuscript documenting some of this that I wrote several years ago. Hopefully, I will complete it in the future.

I can tell you some of the story by juxtaposing two math dreams.

The Observer

I’m not sure how long ago that I dreamed of this. I think we can say at least 5 years.

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I was on a hilltop watching a Numberphile video being filmed. The hill was lush and green with these beautiful white lilacs. Around us were more hills also covered in flowers. The fog hung low to the ground. The presenter was talking about how by looking you could only see the white flowers. But you would be wrong. The fog lifted and the sun came out. On the sides of the hill, you could see many purple lilacs. The video was all about errors in representative sampling.

I am just that sort of math nerd. This is my happy place. When I had troubles over the years, I would return to this memory. It was a safe space.

Just for fun, I looked up the symbolism of lilacs.

Lilacs have a long history. With meanings varying over time and cultures.

Here is the meaning of their colors.

White Lilacs- innocence.
Lilacs (as in their purple hue) – first love.

Lilac and White Lilac Flowers
Image Credit: "Lilac and White lilac" by АрсГеоИст is licensed under

“Although various colors of lilacs have different meanings, the lilac has always had a strong association with love and romance throughout history.” – FTD.com

The Teacher

I had a very stressful finals week at the end of the quarter. I had a true nightmare. Someone I love very much told me that they never wanted to see me again. Thankfully, just a nightmare but it really cut my self-confidence. Though for those wondering, I did pass both my classes.

There was one respite during this time period. It was one of the more interesting math dreams that I ever had. One that I hope comes true.

Small boat on the river

Image Credit: "Small-boat-in-cheriyoor-river" by Ajeesh.valliyot is licensed under

]I was on a small boat afloat in a rocky inlet. Similar to the boat featured in this photo. Double the size and without the slats. I was under a black sky. The water was dark and murky and you could not see the bottom. The boat tethered to the shore of the beach.

I was sleeping on my back with another person. We were laying feet to head. Beneath us there was water, but the boat was not leaking. The rough waves were splashing water into the boat. I woke up afraid. The other person reassured me and we switched positions to a cuddle. They put their arm around me.

In the light of the day, I was sitting on a rock on the beach. I had a piece of paper that I was writing math notation on. I could see the notation raising off the pages and into the air. In the water, boats were coming into the inlet. People coming to be taught mathematics by me.

Symbolism and Meaning

The Water

The first thing that I found meaningful was the depth of the water. It seemed deep and never-ending. Water represents many things. It can represent the subconscious, emotions, love, nourishment, and sexuality. I also think it can represent danger and the unknown. Especially in this case where the water was rough and murky.

I think that is an exceptional interpretation of my feelings about mathematics.

I have some strange coming out stories about telling friends and family about my love of mathematics. Something that I had hidden for years. One friend told me that they had never loved anything as much as I love mathematics.

The Boat

I’m not sure what the meaning of the size of the boat was. It was just big enough for me and another person to lay comfortably. But, I can say this, I think that it represented a home. It gave a sense of safety and security on the water. I don’t know if the person represents someone in real life. I think it is more of a representation that I’m not in this alone. That there is someone who brings comfort. I think the water in the boat means that we share some emotions between us.

I think it is important also that the home is a boat. This implies mobility and exploration. The boat is tethered. I think that means that I have the freedom to explore those emotions without losing my grounding. That I won’t just float away. But also that I am free to head to other places when I wish.

The Beach

A rocky beach

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Image Credit: "Rocky Beach Visakhapatnam 1" by Kalidhar P is licensed under

I think it represents something pleasant. Especially because I was having a good time. I think it means a connection between something physical and the subconsciousness since a beach is where the water meets land. Maybe it means manifesting those emotions into something tangible.

I also think that my writing of mathematical notation is about writing this blog. With the floating notation representing the transmission of those thoughts through the internet. Like radio waves.

I think the fact that I am alone on the beach represents my introversion. I am much more comfortable working from a remote location instead of an office. I don’t think it represents reclusion. Especially because people are sailing to find me. I’m not sure about the teacher bit. It may mean something more like building something of renown or gaining a following.

The feeling of being a teacher may also be that link to the tarot card of the Hierophant that I have talked about before. Someone who teaches and upholds the traditions.

My Transitional Thirties

When you compare and contrast these dreams, I think you get the narrative of the timeline that is my thirties. The first dream was about innocence and love. My main role was to observe around me. Mathematics was something that I was learning about through videos on the internet and books. I didn’t take an active role in representing those mathematical ideas.

The second dream shows my maturity. I no longer observe mathematics. I study and write about it. I channel what lies in my subconscious into an experience that can be shared with others in a physical way.

And the things is, I’m not done yet. There is so much more ahead of me. That boat is showing me that I am in control of my future and what happens next.

I’ve made so much progression and personal growth in a short period of time. My world was very small and now it seems so expansive that I’ll never see all of it. So, what do you think will happen in my forties?

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