Monday, March 12, 2012

Sleep and dreams

Gah. I'm having the awful, oppressive, upsetting dreams again. This happens when I'm both physically stressed (this is an uncommonly bad allergy season) and mentally stressed (lots of work to do, not a lot  of free time, a couple of rather difficult students in my classes). I actually dreamed last night that one of my students committed suicide and left behind a note essentially saying it was my fault because I wasn't "nicer" to him, and I was having to defend myself before some sort of a tribunal. Before that, I was dreaming about having to carry a jar of mud (? why? I don't know, but apparently it had some purpose) around the vacant lot of the house where I grew up and deliver it to someone without being seen and captured. (It was like some kind of a wartime thing. Perhaps I was influenced by watching part of "I Was a Male War Bride" on TCM the night before, despite its being a comedy....)

I hate that. I hate it when sleep stops being a refuge and starts being something I fight a little because of the dreams I might have. (I woke up from one of those dreams with a pounding heart and in a sweat. It's possible it was a hot flash - thank you very much, perimenopause - but I couldn't get back to sleep for like an hour).

I try to use little mental scenarios to help myself fall asleep. I imagine a place to live that's different from where I live - a lot of them are inspired by things I see on Tiny House Blog. I don't know why I have the recurring fantasy of having a little cabin in the woods, off the grid - but I go through all the imaginings of how I'd have it set up (somewhere cool enough in the summers that I wouldn't need to worry about having enough power for air conditioning; having LED lights that draw less energy, so maybe I could make do with solar panels and be off the grid...). Or a lighthouse. Or a big old farmhouse somewhere really remote, where I make my living raising apples or pears or something.Or even weirder places, like a treehouse (though I still haven't figured out how a person would work indoor plumbing in one, and I'd need indoor plumbing). or a cave that's outfitted for human habitation.

The funny thing is, in every single dang one of these fantasies, I live alone. I guess I've lived alone long enough that it's not really possible for me to imagine - at least in my going-to-sleep-fantasies - sharing my habitation with another person. (Not even really a pet, although in some variants of the farmhouse daydream I have sheep or horses, but they have their own place to live and sleep at night, separate from me).

I get very elaborate in my imaginings...down to what kind of floor-coverings I have, where the bookshelves are, how (in the houses without a lot of windows) I get enough light in my off-the-grid life to be able to read.

I don't know what it says about me that so many of my daydream type of things involve me living far away from other humans. I'm really not THAT antisocial. I suppose it's that I get sufficiently fed up with dealing with people during an average workday that it seems like a nice fantasy to have days upon days where I don't see or speak to another human being...

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