47-year-old Wendy McDaniels has been keeping a dream journal for the past 15 years, having gone through 17 notebooks and countless tissues in which she documents her dreams in as much detail as she can recall.
Despite the low likelihood of the journal ever changing her life, McDaniels says she’s not stopping anytime soon.
“Maybe it’s silly for a grown woman to care so much about writing down the narratives formed by my unconscious brain,” says McDaniels, knocking the table with two knuckles for emphasis, “but I don’t care what they say. Everybody’s got dreams, and I’m gonna keep writing mine down until the day I die.”
She began her journal journey one morning after waking up from a dream where her husband cheated on her and refused to apologize; she immediately jotted it down on a notepad to confront him about it later. “Before I even got to him I thought, ‘Hey, writing it down feels pretty great, too.’” She filled up that notepad, then another, then another, until she upgraded to a nice gift diary you’d buy near the registers at Barnes & Noble. “I could feel it in my bones,” she said. “This is what I was meant to do with my life.”
In spite of gaining no greater understanding of herself or the world around her, McDaniels continues to tirelessly describe her dreams in great detail. “As a serious dream journaler, I have absolutely ended friendships over things that happened in dreams” says McDaniels. “If it can happen in a dream, it can happen in real life, that’s what I always say.”
“Honestly, I think she might have misunderstood someone who told her to ‘never give up on her dreams’” says friend Jodie Purdy, “but at this point I think it’s become an addiction and there’s no stopping her.”
Her friends and family have tried to stage a number of interventions over the last 15 years, which McDaniels always interprets it as “negativity”. “People have this idea like you have to give up on your dream journal when you’re young, but that’s not gonna be my life story,” McDaniels insists. “I’m a dreamer and a journaler, and if you have a problem with that, then you can get out of my way.”
When asked to recount one of her most interesting dreams, just to see if maybe she had what it takes to journal about dreams, we learned that she was in fact still honing her craft. “Okay, one time I had a dream that I was in Stop & Shop and it was surrounded by water, but not in a flood way, and then Nancy was there and she wanted to show me the underpants she always buys, but then I thought, ‘They don’t even have underpants in Stop & Shop,’ and then I woke up.” McDaniels quickly added, “Maybe it’s nonsense to you, but for me, it’s a dream.”
After being asked if she ever thought that journaling might be a waste of her time, McDaniels responded “No” and continued scribbling down what had happened the night before. She then checked her watch, announced it was time for her nap, and then left abruptly, journal in one hand, melatonin in the other, and danced all the way to her bedroom. You go, Wendy!
Let’s raise a glass to the dreamers!