Tuesday, September 4, 2012

a bad bit of cheese

I'm prone to nightmares. I have been since I was a little girl. I remember vividly a dream I had routinely when I was 6 or 7. A dream so terrifying that I would will myself to stay awake as long as possible, squeeze my eyes tight to keep from seeing the ghosts dance across the walls - knowing and yet not knowing they were cast by the few passing cars. And, eventually, falling asleep only to wake drenched in terror. I missed a bit of school because of them - school I loved but was too exhausted to get to for a few days. And then they passed. Maybe my parents prayed over me at night. Maybe I learned more self-soothing techniques. I do remember laying in bed and trying to think about happy things - Snoopy cartoons and silly, happy songs, mostly. 

I still do that. 

When I remember. 

Of late, the nightmares have been back. For years and years I guarded against them - was careful not to watch supernatural or murderous or otherwise scary TV shows and movies. Tried to keep my 'sleep hygiene' routines. But, somewhere in the last year, they came back. Different from the nightmares of my childhood, but just as vivid. Just as lingering. And just as likely to colour my days. 

It's harder now. You can't just call in to work and say 'I'm not coming in, I had nightmares.' You can't just sleep with the lights on when someone else is in the room. I wish, in this instance, I had a less powerful imagination. I wish that when I woke up the specters didn't linger. And I wish that the stress and worry that causes them would just move on. No, not move on - evaporate. This isn't a tide we want turning again and again. 

And, I wish I didn't believe that dreams are, on some level, messengers. That they return until you know what they are saying. I think that's the most upsetting part - the dread, laying in bed, craving and fearing sleep. I wish that, like my transcendent friend Scrooge, I could write my wraiths off as a bad bit of cheese, roll back over, and go back to sleep. 


  1. I go through phases with them, too. I've never read another blog post about it, though, so this compelled me to stop by here and give you a comment hug. It sucks, it really sucks. I've been kind of lucky right now while I'm packing up the house--Myron is already at his new job, so if I need the lights on, they get to go on!

    1. Thanks, Kim. I try sometime to be accepting of them and see how they can make me more creative, but mostly I just want to sleep. Hooray for lights on. Hooray even more for having Myron by your side when you need him. :)


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