Skip (drifterskip) wrote,

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Realism Imagined

My dreams are both vivid and mundane; in either case, I miss the days of sleeping and waking to speak of dinosaur laser robot wars. Go forth, I say to the cyborg stego, and burn the retinas out of the raptors! Or something.

I can see where someone like me has the capacity for somnolent flights of fancy. With an unapologetically overactive imagination and a day-to-day life lacking a lot of wish fulfillment, it would only make sense that my dreaming self would take advantage of the lessened encumbrance of my physical form. Asleep and in some other realm than this, I don't have to be sick or weak or even human. My capacity for insomnia makes the dreamscapes I might inhabit even more precious. I took a psychology course in dreams in college and it honestly helped me to understand waking dreams more and to pinpoint better where day residue bleeds into the tumbled chaos of the unconscious.

All of that being said, I am so fucking sick of my recent dreams... the ones that feel /so/ real that I'm disoriented when I wake up, uncertain whether any of it has happened, as I have to take more and more time coming back to reality, remembering what there is to remember.

I've had two teeth extracted on two separate occasions, nine days apart. That's been October for me. And this second one, right top back molar, was a difficult removal. At the beginning of the month, I had a less-than-ideal reaction to Percocet which I will try my damnedest to never, ever take again. I finally have Vicodin now and it's a sad state of my life that I was relieved to get it. I'm aware that all of that is having an impact on my dreaming self. Because it's having one hell of an impact on my waking self, that's for damned sure.

Under Percocet's sticky-fingered influence, I dozed off and woke convinced I'd done stuff to piss off my nearest and dearest. And then scrambled, still dazed, to make amends. Or at least to start to: it's not like I could get very far, mentally or physically. The less said about my state of mind that night, the better.

I've dreamt whole days. Some good, some bad. And I wake up and have to crowbar the fictional from the actual and it's just getting terribly frustrating. Piecing myself together after every period of sleep is exhausting in and of itself. But finding out that I didn't do something that I was so bloody sure, sixty seconds ago, that I had...? It's... I'm not even sure if there is a word that exists that can properly express the jumbled feelings and thoughts that accompany such disappointment. Even when I thought I'd done something bad, there's a scrap of disappointment attached as I let go of that dream. Because at least, if I believed the dream was real, I'd done /something./ Something would have happened. I would have done things and reacted to situations. And so on.

In the past two weeks, I have /not/ done any of the following: betrayed my friends, purchased the entire series of Psych on sale, planned two separate and very detailed vacations, gone over to my grandmother's house, publicly denounced bigotry, openly bullied a few of my neighbors, hosted a board game party, turned down the United States Navy when they showed up at my door with a proposal for me to work with PTSD sailors, asked a cute guy out, buckled down and began writing the novel that will one day be published. I thought I'd eaten meals that haven't been cooked, I thought I'd talked to people I haven't seen in years, and I thought I'd written a number of stories or tags that did not get written.

It all felt so real. Whether it was a big thing or just an average couple of days of writing and resting... whether it was something I'd like to have happen or something I'd just as soon avoid forever and ever amen... whether the events are immediately recognized as improbable at best or seem imminently possible...? It doesn't matter: whilst in the dream and for a brief time after waking, it all feels /real./ I spent a handful of confused seconds searching my bedroom for the Psych DVDs because I thought I could really get into that show and maybe finish it up before the new season starts (in the spring?) if I started from the beginning now. And then reality edged its way in and said, "Skip... you went to Target last week and they didn't have the discs. You never bought them. That was a dream." Oh. Right. (But I'm holding out hope I can snag them for a song on Black Friday or Cyber Monday or some sort of sale.)

I suppose the little things irritate me more than the big stuff, in terms of disappointment. Because it takes very little time for me to disavow extravagant vacation plans or book deals. Of course we're not going to Hawaii; I can't even afford to go to the dentist. Of course I'm not contractually obligated to write three novels; I can't finish a piece of fan fiction that was due a month ago.

But the little things, they pull at me. When I thought that most of the people I know were refusing to speak to me for some nebulous /something/ I'd done wrong, I'd panicked and eventually regrouped and went: wait. I'm a good friend. Hell, sometimes I'm a fucking great friend. They can't all be mad at me. But let me sleep and wake up after dreaming a fight with just one friend and it's harder for me to shake it off. I got disappointed when I dreamt I wrote a journal entry or a short story or an RP tag... and in a couple of cases, it took me longer than I'd care to admit to convince myself that no amount of dream realism made the entry, story, or tag real in the material world.

Even when I wish I wasn't, I'm anchored in reality. I'm tethered to the here and now. Awake, I know I don't have a date with a cute guy and that I haven't done much with my social life. When I'm feeling better, I could work to change that. I can write the things I dreamed I'd already written and I can write exceedingly more. I can hope about vacations and outings (though dream!me spends more money than actual!me would dare). I know what's real and what isn't... except in that span of time when I first wake up, anywhere between two seconds and two minutes, where I have to get over the desperate vividness of the dream and remind myself that it's just the next day and none of that has happened. The best dreams aren't real, haven't been real, and I'm just me trying to get through day-to-day life.

I suppose the flip-side is this: the worst nightmares aren't real, either.

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