Monday, June 10, 2013

On Sleeping and Dreaming

I seem to very frequently have trouble sleeping. I'm not sure when this problem started, but I know I was living in Washington when it became a regular thing. 

I think lately it would help if I asserted myself more in bed with River; rather than molding around her, I should probably make her mold around me. But I'm a sucker. At any given rate, this is usually how I like to be positioned and find it easiest to drift off:

The top arm isn't always supporting my face;
the bottom arm may do that, especially if
it's my left side, as that's the ear with the cartilage piercing.

What I hate is that the lack of sleep leads to/is part of one of those gorram recursive situations I and everybody else finds themselves in. I can't sleep because I'm stressed; I stress over not sleeping. And I mean, honestly, how can a person actually "remove" stress from their  life? I hate it when doctors and shrinks say that- as if it was so simplistic, right? And it makes it sound like I or anyone else being told that is somehow doing it on purpose. I mean, sure, maybe  some people love the drama and  make  shit up to stress about, but I don't, and I'd absolutely fucking LOVE it if  I could flip a switch and cut the bullshit out. But I can't. So I'm gonna be stressed.

Of course, what matters is how I do or don't deal with it. I think part of why I don't sleep well is that I actually don't dwell or wallow as much as it  may seem from this  blog- between either distracting myself or putting on the happy face when that isn't working, I'm pretty bubbly  and jovial. And I think my avoidance techniques lead to me bottling it up and storing it in my subconscious and back and shoulders.

One reason I'm not sleeping well lately is my back, especially left side, is really sore. Like pinpricks if I'm positioned wrong in bed. It's hard to sleep when you can't get comfy. For the first time since I lived in Walla Walla, I took naps this past semester- not on purpose, but I'd be so exhausted mid-afternoon and on the couch watching something with River, and I'd just crash. I'd sometimes have enough consciousness to turn off the PS3 just before it hit me entirely, but not always.

(I know this is also a sign I'm monstrously out of shape, but meh. Our new apartment has a lovely fitness center; once I'm over the initial shock of losing  my roommie for the rest of the summer, I plan on gradually becoming a gym addict.)

But sleep is important, and I like being in bed, once I'm comfortable. And especially when there's a warm body with me- River certainly makes me happy right before bed or in the morning, the way she looks at me (either begging for me to turn out the light, or begging me not to turn it on). It's of course optimal when that warm body is a dude, but River certainly helps beat back the loneliness.

I feel like this is a good spot to post this as a transition:

I don't go to sleep to dream, but for entirely different reasons than she seems to be professing one would do it. I do it because I have to- I need fuel for life, after all. The dreams can be fun, though, so when good ones, they're a perk, I guess, that comes from the necessity of sleep.

Not always, but quite frequently, my dreams are detailed and sensical enough to make for decent (or at least cogent) films or short stories. They have fully realized "plot arcs" and make internal sense. And they often look like movies- weird "camera angles" and closeups, even slow motion sometimes. 

One of my favorite dreams, despite being really sad, was a zombiepocalypse dream I had well over a year ago. It involved me and a really close friend fighting our way around together, and one of the major "plot" elements was that neither of us would shoot or kill zombies- we'd beat them off to run away because these zombies at least used to be people (and this was before season two of The Walking Dead). And even after joining  other people with guns, we refused to kill, much to the annoyance of the others. After a while with this group, he and I went to help rescue some people in a house nearby.  I got semi-tackled and dropped  my baseball bat, so as I was holding the offending zombie at arm's length as best I could, my friend hit it hard enough to kill it. His first kill, and his face went from panic over the danger I had been in to sorrow at realizing what he'd done to pain as another zombie came  around  a corner and bit his upper arm- not ripping a chunk, but enough before someone else  shot it to infect my friend. We hid it as long as we could, but eventually the symptoms started to show and the others figured out he was turning.  I locked myself in a room with him, and after a few moments of depressing dialogue, I shot him in the temple at the last second (he was crying out in pain and begging me to do it) with someone else's gun. And then I totally lost it and ran out of the house we had all barred ourselves in. To a park where we had chained up some zombies behind a fence. I lured them to it, and then I proceeded to shoot a bunch of them execution style, just putting the gun up to their forehead through a gap between links and shooting. At some point,  the person whose gun I had stolen showed up, and he handed me another one once the first gun was empty, and I unloaded that one, too. And the last "shot" in the movie is of me with this incredibly empty look in my eyes and my friend's blood on my face.

I'm leaving out a lot of details, but I'm telling you, if it was a movie, it would at least not suck.

Some also recur. Here's a list of some  repeat scenarios. I've had  all of these dreams at least thrice a piece. And I realize they all sound like bad fanfic, but if some things were changed and they were done well enough, they could be alright as books or movies. 

  • I'm the  head of a non-profit lawfirm  in Gotham City that takes on anti-discrimination cases. I go after Wayne Enterprises for  not having good enough disability access and win, so Mr. Wayne comes to the office one day with coffee for the two of us a few weeks  later. I'm wearing feather earrings from a tribal elder back in South Dakota (where my family is from), as well as sneakers with my suit and am changing a light bulb when he shows up. I say no thanks. He sends me a picture of my deceased great uncle, a former lobbyist for Indian Country, shaking hands with Bill Clinton, so I call him all angry and say he has no right to go into my background, yadda yadda. He donates a bunch of money to the firm, forcing me to put up with him, and he ends up almost shadowing/apprenticing and helping out a lot (using his detective skills I don't know he has, he conveniently brings up lots of evidence  of deliberate discrimination that wins cases for us).
  • I'm a special education teacher in Washington, and Paramount asks me  to consult with the writers and director of a movie about a single dad with a kid in special ed. in that area, and I end up meeting the actor playing said dad- it rotates among a number of male celebrities, including Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris O'Donnel, Shawn Ashmore, and Cory Monteith- to help him figure out how to do the scenes with the teacher of the kid (I also work with the actresses meant to play her, which have included Natalie Portman, Amy Adams, Drew Barrymore,  Winona Ryder, and Scarlett Johansson). Said actor and I end up bonding and as a favor, he takes me as his date to the fancy premier, and kisses me for the first time on the red carpet. 
  • I'm a disability advocate in Chicago, and I accidentally sideswipe a car as I'm turning left. The owner is just coming out of the house their car was parked in front of, and it takes me  a while to realize it's JGL because I'm so distraught and freaked out. We exchange insurance info, and as it's the first time this has happened to me, I see no problem in him asking for my number and email address. He leaves me a voicemail, asking to meet at a small coffeeshop in a burb-ee area to "go over things," and I'm still pretty embarrassed and upset and don't realize he's flirting with me a lot (in that adorable JGL way). After the  insurance  stuff  is done and payments have been made where necessary, he calls again and I freak out, thinking something  has gone wrong. He reassures me, nonono, it's fine, I wanted to invite you to a party at my place with some friends of mine as a thank you for being so cool about all of this. I agree to go, and I take a pie I made with me, something oddly  unexpected. The people are all pretty sophisticated and there are a few celebrity faces there, so even though Ellen Page seems to be trying quite hard to make me feel comfortable, I'm kind of awkward and nervous until JGL breaks out his guitar and asks if anyone knows the song he starts- I, of course, am the only one that does, so I sing along, and he then asks me to make  requests for him, so we do a few more together, and  at one point  when everyone is clapping between songs, he holds my hand and gives me a smile that makes me  turn bright red. 
  • I'm a Rhodes Scholar, and running late for a meeting, so I spin around really fast with my coffee at a coffee stand on the Oxford campus and collide with/spill my coffee on a tall guy. I write down my number on a napkin in a rush and give it to him, apologizing profusely but  I really must be  going, I have a meeting. The message I get is from Benedict Cumberbatch. We meet for tea, not coffee, later that week and I offer to pay for his shirt, he says  no need, he's here studying for a role as a professor in a play he's contemplating doing. Of course, we hit it off, and he visits me  a few times while I'm still on the campus. Eventually, we get a flat together, as well as a British Golden Retriever. 
My favorite kind of dream to have is lucid. You know, when you can sort of control what's going on? I've been able to take some of the crazy dreams that make no sense whatsoever and turn them into vaguely understandable clusterfucks. And  sometimes, they replay themselves more or less the same after I've plotted them out the first time. I've even  been able to turn  genuinely random, acid-trippy dreams  into ones that have more of a story and, eventually, make the acid-trippy parts not even matter (and  then just replay the sensical parts). 

Lately, I've been having dreams about people from my past. I don't really know what this means, why it's happening, etc. I do know they're usually either sad and/or just plain weird. I can be at the store and have them in my shopping cart; I'm in a classroom and they're the teacher (and others are also in the desks near me); I keep saying I'm sorry and they start talking about sugar cookies; I'm at a funeral for the dog I grew up with, and they're holding my hand.

Yeah, weird, right? Again, no idea. 

But speaking of sleep, River is giving me that, "MoooOOOOOOOM! Time for beeeeEEEEED!" look from right next to me on the couch. Observe:

Corrections: Apparently I suggested I'm losing my roommate for the rest of the "semester." I meant to say "summer." Given the context, I'm surprised it was that confusing for people, but whatever, fixed now. 


  1. 1) You have crazy dreams and 2) that is my EXACT ideal sleeping position, down to the humping leg.

  2. I also sleep in that position. Which makes it really hard to sleep anywhere but a bed, which is why I hate spending the night away from home (because at our age, there is a good chance you are crashing on a couch).

    Additionally, you just blew my mind with the roommate thing. Though this is not the place to discuss it.

  3. Substitute "semester" for "summer." How is that so confusing? One typo.