Friday, September 20, 2013

Dreams. And a short letter.

When you hear somebody complain about trouble sleeping it's likely you don't think much of it. I mean, we're adults , and adults can't possible have a problem falling asleep--adults are hard-working and tired people. Unlike toddlers, we like taking naps, and we don't cry about it if someone says we're too tired to be social or share our toys. I myself am an avid fan of naps, and would take them often, except that they seem to add to my very-real, very-adult problem of not being able to fall asleep, not being able to stay asleep, and then not being able to sleep peacefully if and when I actually experience the glory of slumber--I'm talking about intense dreams.

Most grown-ups will probably tell you they have nightmares every now and then, but not ones that sincerely scare them, or even wake them up in the middle of the night. I might also add that the majority of adults I've talked to A. Unless they're experiencing some traumatic stress, don't dream that often. B. Don't remember their dreams when they happen. C. Don't talk about their dreams if they have them and remember them.

I don't fit into any of those categories. I dream often, intensely, and usually remember my dreams for several days, and (if I think it might interest others) I talk about my dreams. I don't mean "I dreamed that I could fly" or "I dreamed that I was falling" sort of things. I once had a dream that I was Superman, flying around in my boxers and a white-collared button-up shirt. (As Superman) I stopped at a hotel, took the elevator to the top floor without anyone making a fuss about my attire, and once there a grungy, leather-clad biker pushed me out of a window and I died. At the age of 10 I dreamed that I was Brendan Fraser (whom I've realized it actually quite creepy looking) but the dream was a little more complicated, and I was decapitated at the end.

And yes, it had an end. All of my dreams have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I can blame this on my love for books, or stories, the fact that I'm a writer, blah blah blah. Or, I can blame it on the fact that my father is the same way and somehow dreaming in this manner is hereditary. Personally, I'm not really sure, but it's important to know that we dream the same way, and also have nightmares the same way.

I don't talk about my dad a lot in this blog, but today it's necessary. The next paragraph might embarrass him, but he can handle it. 

My dad has crazy nightmares. I don't know much about them, except that when your father starts screaming at 1:00 am, it might as well be a nightmare for you too. I only ever heard about one of them, in which he apparently was running from something and ran straight through a glass door, then woke up screaming.

(Dear Mom, if you read this, don't tell Dad unless you know he won't get upset. Dear Dad, if you read this, well... you're the one who woke up screaming, damaging my fragile psyche as a child, and this blog is cheaper than therapy.)

To be fair, my dad has also had plenty of crazy-awesome dreams, and we've talked about those together too. The point here is the intensity with which we dream, despite the fact that you only hear about adults dreaming in books or movies, or maybe on television when it can add to the hilarity of your favorite sitcom. 

Now, the last two nights I have had two very similar dreams. This might make sense if I had a normal sleep schedule, but I don't. I really, really, don't. Two nights ago I took 3mg of melatonin along with one PM acetaminophen. This allowed me to (miraculously!) fall asleep quickly and then stay asleep for a good 8 hours--typically taking both of those things allows me to stay asleep, but it takes me awhile to get there. Last night I decided to test my luck, so I didn't take anything. Fell asleep quickly, but woke up a few times.

Both nights each dream was about me and a friend--a "long-lost" friend, if you will--and how desperately I wanted to reconcile our friendship. This sounds juvenile, and dramatic. Except that it's part of real life. I have this dear friend who won't speak to me, won't respond to phone calls or e-mails, and won't tell me why we aren't friends anymore. Most of the time I try not to think about her, because as you can imagine, it's incredibly painful and sort of pointless to just focus on how horrible it feels. There are times when it's impossible not to think about her, because we were friends for many years, and there's this pen I still use--and she bought one to match mine. There are inside jokes that linger in other conversations, photos on my computer. Unless I make the effort to remove all memory of her, I will still think about her periodically. 

But two nights in a row, I dreamed of her--and I had not thought about her for perhaps a week or so. I dreamed she showed up somewhere with a group of other friends, and she wouldn't speak to me. The first dream it was in a church, the second dream it was at a Christmas party, but both times she appeared and would make eye contact but said nothing. Tears were streaming down her face, and I ran to her, I hugged her and held her and apologized--not because I've done anything wrong, to my knowledge, but because that always seems like a good course of action when someone is upset with you and you don't know why. In the first dream, she refused to hug me back and walked away, but was still within sight. In the second dream, she made some sort of random Christmas dessert, announced to the room, "It's a Christmas tradition!" When I ran to her, she returned my embrace, but she was still crying, and still wouldn't speak to me.

Both times, I awoke breathless and aching with a deep sort of sadness. Missing her. Overwhelmed and confused--especially today, because I still can't understand why I'm having these dreams. It's sort of similar to dreaming about someone after they die. There's nothing you can do about it. There is nothing I can do about this. I've given up on the ideas about calling her every single day, or messaging her every single day.

It would be different if I was home--being in the same state would give me more chances to possibly see my friend. But I'm here in the midwest, as I have been 100% of the time for the last 786 days. I've lost touch with a lot of people back home but usually if I call them or send them a message on FB they at least return my call or send a reply. At least to say hello. They don't delete me from their list of friends. They don't cut me out forever.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to put this out there. This blog is about things I've lost--I've lost a friend. And it's about things you find--I want to find her again. If you know her, and you feel like it, you can tell her that I'm reaching out in the only way I can anymore.

Dear Alyssa,

I miss you terribly. I think about you all the time. I don't know what went wrong or why you won't talk to me. I don't know if it's something I did, or something you think I did, but whatever it is, I'm sorry. I miss you. Please talk to me.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Unexpectedly perfect

Several thoughts consume me this late night... early morning... whatever time this is during which I am unable to sleep. I've been 25 for a whole week now, and--surprise! No quarter-life crisis. I probably won't have one. It sounds exhausting.

So far, being 25 is pretty excellent. My husband gave me some lovely art supplies for my birthday: oil pastels, which I've used a lot, and chalk pastels, which I've used once or twice, and look forward to playing with. Apparently both are used best on watercolor paper, which is convenient, because my parents sent me some, along with a Scrabble mug. I'll probably have to take a webcam photo of me drinking from it, since that seems to be "my thing" with blog profile pictures.

My 25th birthday celebration is in three parts, 2/3 of which have already happened. 1. On Monday (the 26th) we went up to Wisconsin to visit Emily for the day. It was such a lovely break from real life. I hadn't seen Emily since graduation, and we weren't sure if she could come down for any party we might plan, so we finally took her up on the offer to visit. We went thrifting and antiquing and visited a lighthouse. The weather was breathtakingly peaceful, the company was soothing, and I came back a much happier person.



2. On my day of birth, I spent many hours at home, alone in the apartment. I was supposed to go with Joey down to Deerfield so I could visit with some friends, but ended up being sick and stayed home. It wasn't that bad. I don't even remember what I did. I think I read a book and watched Felicity and cuddled with the dog. That night we wanted to go to Caribou Coffee, because they give you a free drink on your birthday, so we drove down to Lake Forest but couldn't find the place. While in the area we called Danny, who said he was busy, and then invited us over to another friend's apartment for dinner. (Yep. That's what my friends are like. They just invite me to other people's houses so I can eat their food.)

We dined on smoked salmon, grilled apples, caprese salad, Spanish wine, white rice, a wheat baguette with olive oil, and (because men can't resist) bacon. Several hours were spent sitting and talking, drinking coffee, listening to Danny strum old John Mayer tunes on the guitar, and then we ended the night at a 24-hour Baskin Robbins--they insisted, because you can't have a birthday without ice cream.

It wasn't a group of people I expected to be with on my birthday. And yet, somehow, among all the bliss of eating with chopsticks and the exertion it took me to be social, it was a perfect day. Two perfect days in a row, that's pretty hard to beat.

3. My husband owes me a birthday party. I don't know when it's happening, but I am definitely getting one this year.

The other thoughts running through my head will come some other time. I'll try to sort them out a little. But for now, things are just good.

P.S. I started a new blog, about my novel. Click here to check it out! I would really appreciate it.