Tag Archives: dreams

Perchance to dream

16 Apr

4:26 pm

I had to look up this quote from Hamlet to make sure I wasn’t using it totally out of context–no, I have no intention of ending my own life, but the phrase conjures this idea of dreaming, of an uncertainty toward the future precisely because you have one.  I like this.  That is what I mean, perchance to dream…

I haven’t been writing much lately mainly due to the fact that life just feels busy–has felt busy, for going on years now.  I average one post a month here, and sometimes I feel like I have more to say, and sometimes I feel like I have nothing more to say.  So it goes with writing, I guess.

Anyway,  my brain has felt overloaded for the past too many months, with doing what needs to be done:  all the little details of work, earning a living, making life happen.  Two weeks ago, my contract job ended, and I don’t know if it will come back to me as a full-time role, and I know I don’t necessarily need to work for a few months–well, it’s the first chance I’ve had to breathe, to clear my head, to DREAM in a good long several years now.  Shit!  It’s been years since I pitched a journalistic story!?  It’s been years in the making, my to-do list of personal projects and ideas!  YEARS, friends, not months!  And, how GREAT does it feel to finally, at last, have some real time off in my new city (well, it’s suburbia, but it’s been home for three months now).

I feel like I can finally take that much needed step away from the daily grind, enjoy a slower pace, see what there is to see in this new home, and really look at what I’ve been spending my mind time doing–finally use this time to DREAM.

I need time to figure out what’s next.  We’ve been living states-side for about three months, and frankly, we don’t like it.  Well, no:  we LIKE the conveniences and cleanliness very much; what we don’t love is, well, the TOO much convenience, and the TOO much cleanliness!?  I know this feeling, as I felt it when I came back to America a couple years ago for a while after having lived in the islands for a few years.  It felt sterile, and the consumerism was just too much–cars and malls, malls and cars.

Now, that sense of “buy buy buy” is acutely intense–everything is about buying and selling here, and nothing feels to be about community, or “culture,” as it were.  I sort of hated the “culture” when we were in the islands, as I never felt all that welcome; now, all I see here is a lack of character, and a lack of history in some parts, which kind of lends a certain soullessness to the place.  On the other hand, I am grateful to be here, to have been able to finish out my contract in a new apartment with easy access to green space and with reliable, always-on utilities!  So, it’s not all bad.

So, yes, perchance to dream?  It’s a luxury that many people don’t often get.  In this mental space, though, I’ve noticed that a LOT of self-judgment is coming up, and I guess I should see this as a chance to work on simply accepting how I feel, and going with my gut, and not judging it as bad, or wrong.  We all have gut feelings about people, places, and things.  I am not sure why, but for most of my life, I did what I “should,” and not necessarily what I wanted–partly, it was and continues to be about deciphering calling from job; and discarding things that I simply don’t like or don’t suit me, that don’t make my brain hurt or scare me to death but that challenge me just enough to feel fulfilled.

These things change, and I am pretty sure that they will keep on changing–what fulfilled me in my teens and 20s is no longer what I want or need to do now!  So, instead of judging the way I feel about being here, in this new place; instead of punishing myself because I “should” like it–why not honor those feelings, and embrace them for what they are, which is guiding lights?  I need all the guiding light I can get right now, and so, embracing how I feel, actually honoring my feelings instead of hating on myself for having them, well that seems KEY to future happiness.

Perchance to dream–I will let you know what I come up with!  For now, it includes finally working on finishing the start of a big writing project; checking out the barista scene here; taking some camping trips (one reason we moved out here was to be able to camp and see all the great natural wonders of the West; we didn’t realize that a desert climate has all sorts of variables that might slow us down, like wind, and lack of humidity, and dangerously high temperatures); looking into finally moving from corporate work to nonprofit or NGO or disaster response (I once dreamed of getting a degree in public health, and maybe that’s something, too)…the list goes on, and I am super-duper grateful for days like today, when I feel “up” enough to not be overwhelmed, when I feel energized and clear-brained and well-rested enough to WANT to do all these things.  NOT always the case, folks; there have been quite a few days here when I haven’t felt like doing anything, where I’ve been wondering, will I ever feel excited the way I used to, about doing all these things on my “bucket list?”

It brings me ’round to mentioning that yup, over the past few weeks into months, I have wanted to start drinking red wine again, mainly for the “anticipation celebration” effect.  When I was getting sober, I wrote a lot about how drinking seemed to fuel a long many years in my life of achievement-oriented work, play, goals.  I drank in order to get excited to do things–and it worked, as wine drops dopamine, and your entire system just feels excited, and MOTIVATED–and I drank while I was striving for “excellence” and “achievement” in order to reward myself for all this freaking brain-crushing, soul-sucking “excellence” and “achievement.”  It was as if–and maybe it was actually so–my entire life of striving was built on the anticipation and then, reward of wine after a “job” well done.

So, when I quit drinking, and even now, of course, I struggle with feeling excited to do stuff!  Like, at night, I often feel I’ve done nothing, or not enough, with my day; I felt that way before I quit drinking, and I would mask it by downing wine.  I can’t hide from these feelings anymore, and I still have them, and I struggle at night when it’s time for bed and I’m like, I feel SO GOD DAMNED BORED but yet of all the MILLION things I could be doing, I don’t want to do any of them.  So, I go to bed, moping, feeling defeated, depressed, wondering, what’s the point here?  I am SO squandering my talents, my time, my LIFE.

Wow.  I know, I am neurotic, and it’s helped and hurt me.  What I am saying is, lately, I have been wanting to drink out of a sense of frustration at night (I am so not sexy anymore, here, this wine will make me feel young and hot again–NOT…haha) and a sense of existential panic (I feel so bored and so maybe I should read or write, but I SO don’t feel like doing that, and I can’t escape both feelings so here, let me have this wine to just erase the fuck out of all of this nonsense–NOT…haha).  Of course, I have no intention of drinking again, I stay firm, but, it’s not to say that this wispy idea hasn’t been coming back to me over and over again, sneaking its way into my “Oh, that sounds like a good idea” thought patterns…  I know I could benefit from meditation, and it’s something that has helped me in the past.

It’s a process, but I stand firm because I KNOW that drinking is not going to change ANYTHING but the cosmetic appearance (to myself) of my life; that I will wake up with the same face, black eyeliner smeared into bruise-like patterns where rouge and lipstick should be, wondering why I just spent $50 on wine and wasted another night?

Anyway, perchance to dream, and inhale, and exhale, all while sober–how lucky am I!

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Not a Broadway show, but maybe off-off-off Broadway?

19 Jul

10:55 am

Drip, drop. Drip, Drop.

It’s the sound of the change going on in my life. At least the way I hear it. Drops. Falling. Out. Of. The. Sky. One by one.

Wait: I think I saw one go back UP. Oh, me.

I’m trying to be patient, and I don’t want to drink, but I feel like I need to do more, work more, pitch more, blah blah blah. The thing about getting sober is, you embrace a much bigger picture of who you can be, what you could do. Your to-do list gets really big, your bucket list, humongous. Which is amazing, right? To be able to dream like that is probably a distant memory for a lot of us, isn’t it?

Yet, you’re still you and things still happen and you still have to work and go running and make dinner, walk the dogs, visit family, and do all these things that you used to do and that are mundane and that seem to have nothing to do with that Big, Sparkly Unicorn Sober Life that “everyone” keeps saying they’ve been leading and you will be, too, once you…? I’m not sure what, but my sobriety has been pretty much drip, drop, drip, drop.

Another thing about being sober–and this has been my experience only–is that just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean that your life is going to resemble a Broadway musical. (I have a twin brother who’s actually written a musical, so there ARE some people who literally strive for this, but they, too, have day jobs.) No, no musical going up in this house. There are no built gay men breaking out in song and dance here. No lights, no orchestra, no costumes. Just me. Just life. Just not drinking. Thank God(dess) the pangs have subsided–it only took a year–but beyond that, life is still just life.

Drip drop, drip drop. I want to see more and bigger and way different, but I just see…me, now. I see what I WANT to do more clearly, and that makes the stretch look even longer: How am I going to get THERE? All the way over there? Dude, I’m tired. I want a glass of wine, shit maybe I’ll drink at Day 180 (nah, yeah, maybe, nah, yeah, maybe)… Oh, wait, what? Right. Weren’t we talking about big changes and Broadway costumes? Sorry, got distracted there–AGAIN.

For now, until the show ends up at my doorstep, I’m going to keep getting up before 9 (yes, I’ve still got time to lounge, but will be applying for full-time jobs today, actually), processing my graduate school application/decision, banging my head against what fees like a brick wall to get some freelance science writing gigs, continue to blog and explore some of my personal writing projects (ugh!). Running, losing weight then gaining it back when I make a LOT of pudding and cake and cookies. Walking the dogs, petting the dogs, getting bit by one of the dogs. Maybe planning a trip home to see my mom before her hip replacement surgery in the fall.

Nope, no mid-air splits here. Just life, and dripping and dropping. Progress comes in tiny increments, which is probably for the best–I, for one, am not ready to belt out a Patti LuPone-style solo just yet.

I have power over my cravings…

29 Jun

12:07 pm

And, that power is the power to forget about them! Or, to laugh in my own face and say to myself, Drunky Drunk Girl, this IDEA that you have that drinking will “fix” things? You’re cute.

My cravings, to reassure you, have DEFINITELY subsided. I still have thoughts of drinking, but the thoughts are much less distracting and come much less frequently (like, once a week, or twice a month, instead of every day). Smaller. They take up less space in my head, and when they do invade–or worse, start needling their way in–I know how to stomp them out. And then, I move on with my day.

I used to have to brace myself against the disappointment that followed me “out-thinking” my cravings–WHAT? No buzz?–but now, that disappointment has subsided, it, too, having been tempered by the rational FACT that wine is just not that great (compared to real treats!). And, well, I have better things to use my brain for, like, figuring out what caused me to start drinking in the first place; why I drank the way I did; and what I can continue to do, in my life, to make sure I stay full so that I don’t “need” wine to fill me up.

The thing is, you have POWER over your cravings.

Cravings are thoughts. Thoughts make feelings. Thoughts and feelings go away. You can wait and watch them leave. You can force them out of your mind. You can distract yourself and sneak them out the back door. But, they go away! Brilliant.

You have the power to let them go. And that is your biggest, bestest tool! Cravings are tied up in the neurochemistry of your addicted brain. I had pretty significant cravings up until about, oh, three or so months ago (nine months after my quit date)–they didn’t just go away. They turned much less severe, though, over those nine months, and it became more or less a psychological battle: me versus thoughts that drinking would be a good idea.

But, thoughts create feelings, which might actually be the more “real” of the two. However, like the power to let go of your thoughts, you have the power to transmute your feelings. Into? Well, into a big pile of poop (which is OK, too) or something new, like understanding. Understanding. Sitting through those thoughts, feeling that anxiety and tension in your gut–after it all goes, you might be able to say, ‘So, this is what I’m actually thinking about. THIS is what I’m actually feeling. I can deal with this!’

These days, I have exhausting dreams. And, these dreams are like, really obvious. Like, big block letters-obvious. I mean, they’re not even representative of what I’m actually going through; they’re like, the same things that happen to me in real life. For instance, this morning, I had one in which my boyfriend and I couldn’t agree on what to do, so we sat around getting frustrated (with each other) trying to figure it out. (There were scary cliffs, and riding a bus at night, and flirty “other women,” all of which meant something, too, I’m sure.) I mean, that’s what we do in real life! In my dream, however, I experienced all these clear, cathartic, and HEAVY emotions related to this experience. I never would have been able to feel that in my real life (I’m not that “enlightened”), and it really hit home, as in, Ahh, so THIS is how that makes me feel. I get it. I kind of think that’s what sitting through and then, discarding, those thoughts of drinking does for me: it allows me to transmute the blunt thoughts of “I want wine” into “Oh, THIS. Ahhhh, THAT.”

Saturday morning. Well afternoon, thanks to the heat and my dream and going to bed at 3 am last night. Did I mention it was hot? Wow, some days, it makes it hard to even breathe. Guess I’ll HAVE to hit the beach instead of working…

Happy day, friends!

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