i once read that it is impossible to read written language in one’s dreams, because that part of the brain shuts down during sleep. and if you *do* see any text in dreams, it’s likely to actually be nonexistent symbols that your own subconscious interprets however it likes.

this baffled me because i swear i often read in my dreams. in an old facebook memory, i have a status from around 2009 that says,

I dreamt of a giant banner on the side of a building that said “Follow Your Dreams, Before Your Head Tells You What To Do”

so at the very least, i had evidence of seemingly reading in my dreams before i had ever heard of this scientific claim.

but, if it were true, what a great test to see if i am dreaming! now, whenever i find myself lucid dreaming, i go on a mission to see if i can read anything.

recently, after realizing i was dreaming, i made my husband, who was the one driving in my dream, pull off to a restaurant so i could test this skill.

there were lots of signs and menus at this dreamy beach-themed restaurant we were at. but sure enough, when i concentrated hard enough on one sign, i realized the words were strange symbols—alien writing. i knew what they said in my head—i could “read” them in that sense—but they were not written in the english alphabet i knew in this plane of wakeful existence.

but was i just seeing them as strange symbols because i was expecting them to be strange symbols? was that just part of the dream—a dream where i can read an alien language? a nightmare where i can’t find english text? or was i really physically/mentally incapable of dreaming of the english written language?

there is one word that i believe i can actually see in real letters, since it has happened a few times since trying to study this. and that was my own name.

i figure that it’s because when i was a child, because it’s so short, i could recognize my name before i could comprehend written language. so maybe my brain sees “Ali” as more of an image—like a logo—rather than a word. and that’s why i have seen it in my dreams a few times since i have began pursuing this.

it’s interesting. the next time i realize that i am in the dream realm, i will try to dig deeper.