I know more about sleep than any ordinary person should (anyone who doesn’t study it for a living of course). This may be due to the fact that I had frequent nightmares as a child leaving me to not want to go back to sleep. My parents would put on Cinderella for me on the old VCR we had which I suppose at that time wasn’t that old. In all seriousness, without my anxiety medicine it takes me at least a half-hour or so to get to sleep. An average person needs about only fourteen minutes to get to sleep. While on my medicine, however, it takes me even longer. I estimate it takes at least an hour for me to get to sleep.
Sometimes there are obvious factors as to why I’m having difficulty. One such factor is what I call “racing brain syndrome” (catchy no?) where my brain either has too much creative energy or too many worries going through it. Often I also seem to want to recount the day or even random events from my past. Sometimes it’s like my brain missed a memo from my tired body and the late time on the clock that I am supposed to be sleeping. I have read that people have written in a journal to help with this so they can get all the ideas out and finally have their brain rest. I’ve tried this before, especially if I have creative ideas, and it has helped a bit.
Sometimes the room is either too hot or too cold. I’m either curled up in a ball trying to warm myself up enough or I’m stretched out with my legs search for the cool places at the sides of my bed. I have read before that the best temperature for sleep is in the mid-sixties. Other physical factors can be aches and pains (often due to my scoliosis) but if this happens at least that can be quickly fixed by taking an Advil.
And before you ask, yes I have taken Benadryl and melatonin before for my issues getting to sleep. They don’t really help me much. One positive is how much I have learned about sleep because of my problems. And even though I still struggle sometimes, at least I know I have a lot of knowledge in my back pocket to try out if I need it.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about Happiness. Yes, Happiness with a capital “H”. I often wonder if I am really happy with what I am doing. Right now everything is just a means to an end; the end being a career so I can support myself in this world. It’s not so much that I hate college specifically as that I am disillusioned that my life has become school. In fact everyone’s life is school until they are at least 18 years old and since I chose to go to college it is longer. Don’t get me wrong. I love education and I love being in school and learning new things. I just have a lot of problems with how much time students (including myself) actually have for themselves.
Despite my Education teachers preaching about and having us read about better practices and how to include students in learning, I still feel all of us are missing a major piece of the problem. Kids are being allowed to be kids. I’m not being allowed to be a young adult to some extent. Instead of spending time with friends and doing fun activities during the week, I am spending my time hitting the books struggling to read about how to best teach. What if we made education about happiness instead of anything else? I mean..isn’t that everyone’s end goal here; to be happy?
I don’t really have an answer as to how we can still be intelligent human beings and also have enough free time to be happy. Maybe, the key is to make learning more fun and therefore a happy experience across all levels (this means college too), instead of something which is a means to an end. It puzzles me that I truly enjoy the subjects I am studying yet find myself restless to have social interaction beyond schoolwork related talk. Overall, I think people need to slow down and not put too many responsibilities on each other. Relaxation time is important too.
I’m a writer only because I can’t be an artist. There are so many pictures in my mind that are just waiting to be drawn or painted. Yet, when I put pencil to paper, all that comes out are words. Don’t get me wrong; they are wonderful words which taste so delicate on my tongue when read out loud. But there is no color in them. There is no immediate reaction to them of “Wow. That is beautiful”. Instead you need to spend time with the words letting them sit there on the paper streaming into your eyes before you can see how lovely they can be. This is why I have always preferred reading words out loud because at least then they are akin to music.
But oh how I long to be able to draw and paint the portraits in my mind. For example, I have had this image constantly in my brain since Freshman year of high school. I read a story in English class about a man who sees a woman and proceeds to have a daydream about her. To make a poem or piece of writing about it seems trivial. After all, it has already been put well in words. However, this short story has left me with this image which repeats itself in my brain every September.
The image is this: A pale woman wearing a grey wool pencil skirt with a white blouse. She has her hair pulled back in a bun and is wearing a red hat. She has delicate makeup besides red lipstick. In my mind her hair is always either blonde or brunette (my mind seems unable to decide which is more appropriate). She is always reading a book and leaning against a tree. There is a granite brick wall behind her with dark green ivy crawling on it. Sometimes she is eating an apple or there is an apple somewhere in the image.
For some reason this image sticks with me throughout the years. I think it is because it’s my ideal for me. It is as if I see her as this perfect woman. This is really why I would love to be an artist; In order to give this woman (this snapshot) I created in my mind a true form.
I often marvel at dogs. What they can accomplish when working with humans is astounding as well as their loyalty and compassion. There was one episode of Dogs 101 on the channel Animal Planet on TV, where a police officer from New York City describes his black lab who worked with him after the twin towers fell to help the rescue effort. He said that the dog would go into places where he wasn’t sure he would come out again. Dogs can be so brave. Recently before the interview the dog had to be put to sleep having served a full life of working with his human partner. It was hard to watch such a dignified man get teary eyed talking about it.
My Aunt’s Dogs Olive (front) and Maizie (back).
There was another account I think I saw on the internet of a dog in Japan who waited for his owner days after his owner died. Can you imagine giving up food, water, and your own general comfort just out of loyalty for one person? Dogs are so selfless it is mind-boggling. There was also recently a picture online of Marines saluting an old German Shepard who was going into the Vet to be put to sleep. Who better to have this honor than a dog? The dog was in the service and being a dog worked his tail off (pun totally intended) selflessly just to please his master and be affirmed as a member of the pack. If more people did something just to make other people happy, the world would be a better place.
My Family’s Previous Dog Ace. He passed away in 2012.
Adding to that idea, there are a lot of life lessons people can learn from dogs. I often see dogs portraying the best emotions and qualities of human kind; Then again dog backwards is God. Coincidence; I think not. Dogs are self-less, compassionate, loyal, brave, and above all know how to appreciate the small things (like a tennis ball). So how about we become a bit more like them in our daily lives.
My Family’s Current Puppy Remus. He is a sweetie.
Here is a piece of writing I quickly came up with for a professional writing class in which we have to do communiques each week. We are allowed to write about anything as long as we are conveying something through writing. So expect to see more of these.
Dear Artists, Poets, and Creators,
I have convinced myself as of late that we creative people were not meant for this world. I say this at the risk of sounding very cheesy and airy fairy. Yet everywhere I look, we are being squashed, looked down upon, or simply shoved aside. Many times during the day I find myself either daydreaming or find my mind wander to other responsibilities.
Here’s a crazy idea, maybe society should include creativity within the classroom? Or make jobs for creative people which will allow them to have a decent life? I feel like society is under the assumption that only a few of us are sprinkled into the population and can easily find a position where we can do our work. Yet very few of us find a stable position and the large number is left to work on something less intriguing. So it’s simple. We can split our time and attention into work and creative pursuits; right?
Once we have time taken up by work and responsibilities, where is the time to be creative? Oh wait….there isn’t much time is there? I suppose there is always the option of not sleeping or slacking on work. But those aren’t very good options are they. And there is always the proverbial “If you are passionate about it then do it. Make time for it.” Ah yes thank you I will wave my magic wand and make my laundry list of responsibilities disappear…but only just as soon as my laundry is done.
Okay so the world we live in is not congruent to the dreams of the right-brained creator. But what are we supposed to do? The short answer is daydream more. The longer answer is that in our nature we want to escape from a world where we don’t fit, and in that create worlds and people of our own. Or lose ourselves in making a scarf or a piece of art. When this happens our personal worlds make more sense and then we can deal with the “real” world better. So interestingly enough the cause of the problem also becomes the solution. However, there is a logical inconsistency here. We need time to be able to breathe, slow down, and create. But that’s exactly what society is missing in their understanding of us left-handers and right-brained people; we need our creative expression like we need water, air, and food. It is not an option to ignore the voice that tells us we need to do or make something. It is not an option to ignore us any longer and for us to ignore ourselves. We need to change society and who better to do it than us creative types.
Megan (fellow left-handed, right-brained, creative daydreamer)
I recently listened to this song yesterday and woke up with it in my head. I love her skill at playing the piano as well as her voice. If I were to pick one word to describe her work as a musical artist, the word would be “haunting”. Also anyone who saw my previous post may have seen that my boyfriend was looking for an apartment. He has decided to go with an apartment which was offered to him and we are moving him in this upcoming weekend. Very exciting.
Hope you enjoy the song,
I love this song and it definitely describes how I’ve been feeling lately. My boyfriend has been looking for an apartment he can afford and I wish that I could get one with him. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get a job despite my efforts and one of things standing in his way is not having a roommate to split everything. It is unfortunate and I want to him to be happy. Anyway..
Much Happiness to you all,