Dreams and Sleep and Dreams
I’ve been sleeping a lot…even for me, in the last month or so. I’ve been pretty stressed in work/life/living/feeling/thinking/everythingeverythingeverything of late so I think that makes it even worse.
When I was married to my first husband, Harry, and things got stressful, I’d instantly start to feel that pull to sleep. He was incredibly immature for his early 20’s having been coddled by his mom and life until I took his pathetic ass off her hands. He moved directly from his parents home into mine…should have realized it at the time that we were on different planets having had been on my own since 15 years old. Still, I didn’t understand myself then and I didn’t know how I loved…how I attached and bopped along in life without actually feeling much of anything. All that came crashing down on me in my 30’s after becoming a mother to a disabled, screaming little boy who seemed to hate me. Ohhh the memories eh!? Anyway, Harry was an asshole. He would argue with me if he didn’t get his way and it was always over such silly, self focused crap that didn’t really matter. One time, he decided he wanted a bbq to put on our 3 foot square “balcony” that exited the living room of our 12th floor apartment. It’s not like he cooked or anything, but wow once he sunk his teeth in…
“Grainne? Grainne? Hey Grainne? Grainne grainne grainne grainne? Hello Grainne? Graaaaaaaaaainne? Grainnnnnne? Grainne? Hey! Hey!! Hey!!! Grainne? GRAINNE! GRAINNE! Grainne??” He would demand in a whining, three-year-old-wants-a-cookie voice.
I’d ignore him as long as I possibly could but would eventually snap, every time.
“WHAT? Harry? What do you want?”
“Can I have a barbecue?”
First, we had no money. I worked at the mall full-time and he only part-time. That does not equal much money at all. We had no car but did have cable TV (no satellite back then for the poor kids) and had to pay rent, heat, hydro, food and laundry. That left a negative number in our accounts each month as it was and then he would go out and spend more on beer – a necessity he refused to live without. Once, he told my mother that “No creditor was going to stop him from enjoying his life” a quote he learned from his abusive, alcoholic asshole of a father who had never been even close to out of debt in his miserable life. My mother was unimpressed…lol…to say the least. Anyway….no money. Plus we had an apartment and couldn’t bring propane up the elevator, of course, so would have to pay for a delivery where they would hoist the tank up to our balcony for a very dear price. It seemed ridiculous to me, considering we would barely use the damn thing.
“Come on Harry, that’s just stupid. We’ll get a bbq when we have a house okay?”
But no. That was never good enough and it never, ever, ever ended. I think I held ut for a year before he wore me down and I, in the midst of near hysterical tears after an 11 hour onslaught of his stupid nagging, just gave in.
“Get your fucking bbq and leave me the hell alone!” I remember yelling loud enough for all the neighbours to clearly hear.
The bbq was purchased later that week and we had to pay for a cab to bring it to us, since we didn’t have a car. It was winter at the time so we couldn’t use the thing anyway and when spring came we paid the ridiculous fee to have our tank of propane hoisted to the balcony from the outside. Harry used the thing exactly twice before we moved and decided not to bother dragging it out when we moved into a house. We bought another one.
(I should write a book about not getting married until you have at least ten people who care about you vet the person as being good for you. Parents the world over would buy it for their stupid kids who thing they’re all grown up and know what they want despite all the warning signs.)
Of course, that was just a silly thing…things got much more serious down the line, particularly after I married the idiot, but that’s another story. The point of this memory was that, after our first year or so, I would instantly start to yawn and feel my eyelids drag down the moment he started one of his temper fits and called my name incessantly in a whining voice until I gave him what he wanted. Stress of that intolerable nature has always pulled me to sleep. Work, these days has the same effect, along with the endless exhaustion I feel. When the two combine I’m pretty much a walking zombie, arguing myself from the brink of unconsciousness in a constant jumble of thoughts and internal words.
With all the extra sleep comes extra dreams and the more I dream the less I feel able to drag myself from them, even when I’m awake. I’ve been having constant dreams of having to hide children, which is a strange one. Sometimes I’m the child that needs to hide so they aren’t taken away by some powerful force (like an army? or mob of people?) The other constant theme is the place I used to live. I’m forever finding myself back there, hiding inside, not wanting to be seen by the ex landlords but not having anywhere else to go. I woke the entire house up several times last night when I sat up and screamed bloody murder while in the grip of a dream. Once, I woke in the kitchen….just standing there, in front of the sink. It was exhausting for everyone and it makes me feel bad. Colt and Dayne are so used to this that they automatically know what’s going on and don’t ever wake panicked, even if I’m screaming.
“Mom? Mommy? It’s me, Colt. You’re having a bad dream mom. Time to wake up.” A very familiar disembodied voice said, floating into my dream.
I was dreaming I was sweeping up a mess in the old house, the walls had collapsed (disintegrated, really) and I was alone in the house. I heard Colt and froze, confused, knowing he wasn’t there but was elsewhere with his dad.
“Colt?” I said both in my dream and aloud – I could hear my dream voice and my actual voice in sync.
That’s when I woke and realized I was in the kitchen, in the dark, and my boy was standing beside me with his hand on my arm, concern filling his eyes. My 11-year-old should not have to take care of me. It feels wrong and backwards, but there we have it…his heart is in tune with mine and he is instantly there when I need him; as I am for him. It turns from embarrassment to a beautiful, graceful bond at that point so…at least there’s that right?
I made my way back to bed and Dayne sat up, bolted really, realizing I had been gone.
“It’s okay dad, mom was just having a nightmare.” Colt said, yawned, and knowing I was in good hands, walked back to his bedroom and went back to sleep.
Dayne’s face changed from defense and surprise to tenderness and he held out his arms to me. For some reason, I burst into tears and threw myself into them and he wrapped me up and held me, arranging the blankets around us, until I was safe, covered and back to sleep.
It wasn’t an hour later that I woke myself up, yelling again, tears drenching the t-shirt Dayne wore to bed.
“Oh my god please don’t leave me here? Please? I can’t do this I’m so afraid…” I stopped talking as soon as I realized the voice I was hearing was my own and I was awake, clinging to Dayne and not where I thought I was in my dreams.
I think it’s the absolute lack of control I have when I dream that messes with my head the most. I don’t know what I’m about to say, do, scream; where I might wander and what I might do. When I was a kid I’d take off all my clothes every time I sleep walked…thankfully I seem to have stopped that but it carries the same helpless feeling. Vulnerable. Exposed. I hope that something in that sleep study helps me understand how this all ties together and they find a way to either knock me out so cold at night I can’t even move, let alone dream, or at least allows me to get some rest between these nightmares.
At least I’m not alone at night anymore. Alone is much, much worse. Much worse.
Ah well. Back to awake for a while.