Where We Go and What We know: Déjà Vu and Other Weird Experiences
October 23, 2019
After conversing with some of my peers, I’ve come to find that not everyone experiences déjà vu the same way, some not experiencing it at all. In case you don’t already know, déjà vu is when you feel you are experiencing the same exact moment twice. In my case, I’ve always had pretty odd and specific dreams. For example, several years before I came to Mercy, I had a dream that I was sitting in a wooden desk three rows from the door, two from the front of the classroom reading from a heavy, dusty, textbook. I wore a Mercy uniform, clad in an ill fitting red cardigan and socks pulled up farther than I’d like to admit. A girl I didn’t recognize turned back to me and asked what page we were on in the textbook. I told her, and turned my head to the tall windows and listened to the loud sounds from the streets outside.
Then it was over. Just like that. I remember waking up, disoriented, especially considering it was 2014 and I had only seen Mercy in a few ads and I had never seen the actual classrooms or how the desks were arranged. Naturally, I brushed it off and went on with my day.
Nothing has ever been abnormal about the abnormal to me. I’ve always walked hand in hand with peculiarity.
Flashforward to spring 2016, the final quarter of my Freshman year here, I sat quietly, three rows from the door and two from the front of the classroom in an old wooden desk, the nails tugging on the ends of my hair, with a red Mercy cardigan on. The girl in front of me had become one of my closest friends here. Just as she had done once, she turned to me and asked what page we were on. Let me tell you, I was spooked. But it wasn’t my first time experiencing the feeling that I had been in weird and similar moments. Since then, I’ve had all sorts of dreams or daydreams that come to face me again years later — and I don’t think it’s an accident. I think whether we realize it or not, the weird moments (even beyond déjà vu and other odd moments we experience) not only stick with us, but connect us to something beyond what we can comprehend; even if this claim falls flat and these weird coincidences mean nothing, at least they’re amusing. I often see memes and comments on social media talk about how you can never look at someone the same way once they visit your dreams, which I couldn’t agree with more.
In middle school, I had a dream about a classmate I had a total of 10 minutes of conversation with over the six years we had been in school together. However, walking into homeroom the next morning, it felt like I knew them more than most of my friends. Dreams and déjà vu expose you to those tiny memories and moments you don’t realize matter, and I believe moments like these provide valuable pieces of inspiration. All of us can look to odd experiences and memories for moving forward and, in some cases, for our art. I look to many of these memories for my creative writing, because they stick in my brain more specifically than others, probably because it’s such a weird feeling when you’re shot back to a dream you forgot you had from many years ago or a memory you didn’t know you had.
Megan Francis ’20 said she experienced déjà vu a few years back while sitting with her grandmother. She felt as if she had known this moment, not as a dream like how I experience most of mine, but as a distant memory. It’s hard for Megan to explain, as it is for many of us, but she can certainly recall the feeling if she had it again. Olivia Goodwin, also a senior, feels similarly to Megan, however, Olivia describes hers as a dream-like situation. She feels disoriented and it’s an “after the fact” sort of feeling for her. Laura Parada ’20 says she experiences déjà vu a few times a year, but each time, they are very distinct and different.
Even though all of our experiences are specific to us and how we deal with the oddities in life, they all root in the same feeling. When I sat down to talk with these girls, we all agreed: déjà vu is weird and disorienting. It is not going to change anything significant in our day, but it definitely makes you pause and think.
Do you experience déjà vu? How is it for you? If you don’t, do you have other “weird experiences” that make you pause and think “that was weird?” Where do you most experience them? Make sure to tell us all about your experiences in the comment section!