I used to love to sleep. It seemed like such a natural way to find peace. And there it was. Every night. Waiting for you to brush your teeth and give in to it. I remember the days when I used to try control my dreams before falling asleep by doing things like eating sugary treats or staying up for days or thinking hard about something or someone. Sleep was a cool way to watch TV that was all about you.
As a kid I was called a dreamer so many times that I just said "...Okay." and embraced it. I day dreamed and wandered off into the thought world by myself and met all sorts of situations to cool for the real world. I considered all my imaginings and "what ifs" to be dreams because everyone kept telling me how impossible they were. Funny, because 30 -40 years later many of the things I dreamt up are here in abundance.
I don't dream now a days with any regularity, when I do they come in spurts. I often spoil them before they can be cool. I spend so much time in fantasy lands while I'm awake that dreams get edited before they get buck wild like my "hunt and peck" typing. I think my hyperactive brain just gets too much of a kick out of chiming in and directing to let me just dream. Besides, I have sleep apnea and often wake myself up despite my Darth Vader / Bane CPAP machine.
I know yearly I can count on one thing to make me dream... start of school anxiety. Yup. Does it every year. Most teachers i know get them too. We don't even sweat them. They come with the territory like end of summer colds. Naked in front of the classroom. Falling. Kids laughing... Whatever. This year I expected the dreams to start as the school year approached. And they did. I dreamt clearly enough to remember quite a few of them. But as I reflected on them, because that's what teachers do ( we can pick them apart and figure where they come from after a while) Irealized that thes dreams weren't normal "Oh DAMN!! School is STARTING and my Sweet SUMMER is OVER" dreams. These seemed to have nothing to do with kids. There was my 86 year old gof-father, my 15 sibling family, my awesome fiance but not a lot of school kids or even my colleagues who usually count as family. That is until this morning.
This morning's dream was intense and disturbing. I dreamt I was in the middle of a school shoot out. Admittedly this is not the only time I've had one of these. With so many happening in the U.S. within the past decade and the types of places I have taught and the irrasible memory of 9-11 happening while I was in class it should not be a surprise. Still this dream surprised me. After avoiding gunmen and hiding students while being fired at I remember dreaming that I picked up a dropped weapon and cooly fired at the assailants and picked them off one by one to end the nonsense.
I don't like guns. I've seen too many and seen the outcome of too many fired carelessly. I'm not a pacifist and I know that defending against human predators is necessary but I haven't needed one yet. All my gun loving friends can hold the editorial comments for another day. This post is about why this particular dream freaked me the eff out. It was because I shot and killed a bunch of kids. Somehow I woke up and knew that the conflict was with students. They were who was shooting at us. They are who I shot and killed. I know it was a dream and probably holds no meaning at all or is a metaphor for something else going on that I haven't figured out yet but it bothered me so that I just lay awake until 4:25 when the gym time alarm went off for me to get up.
I know that there is a lot going on in the world and I'm VEXER than usual. Between lil girls being found, the racist creeps coming out from under rocks and dumpsters to speak in public, the police, Congress, file clerks, neighborhood thugs and asshats... I have a lot to be VEXED about. The price of a nice wedding, the struggle to do what I love, finding an audience for my work. I know, I know. All first world/champagne problems. We stand where we stand. We all demand our own homeostasis. It seems my brain is crying out for its own balance while I sleep. Probably because I don't cry out for it enough while I'm awake.
Being the eternal nice guy seems to be taking its toll. Constantly ameliorating others when inside I imaginge choking them is taking its toll. By profession I am a fixer and a problem solver and a peacemaker. My dreams seem to be telling me that sometimes it is not time for peaceful negotiations but rather for direct confrontation.
You can't begin to know how excellent that epiphany felt as I had it just now while typing.
This art thing (even in writing) is cathartic and life saving. The Vexation must be appeased and must be expressed or it will find its way out. The dreaming is the evidence and I listen to warnings.