Almost as long as I can remember, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep. I’ve been told that I used to. There are well-worn anecdotes of how I slept through someone crashing their car into the tree outside my bedroom, or the huge earthquake or the enormous neighborhood party. But that was when I was a kid. A lifetime ago.
Somewhere along the line, there was a switch in the subsequent 30 years.
I imagine that it’s not unusual with most people; whether it’s biologically-, socially-, economically,- emotionally- or mentally-constructed obstacles we all have to hurdle that make sleep such a far-reaching grasp. Yet most endure and toss and turn to eventually leave way to give our brains the the rest and cleansing they need.
So when a friend, who felt far too comfortable asking to sleep in my house, asked me why I would give up my bed to her and her boyfriend instead of leaving them with the couch, I was stumped at giving up a reply.
My principle, really-lame-sounding, reason was simple: I didn’t want to go to bed and therefore not watch reruns of crappy TV. I didn’t want to be trapped in my bedroom, although a super comfy one, without the company of crappy TV while these other people got to control the remote.
My other reason was not so simple and one that I’d say most people don’t have to deal with: sleep fucking terrifies me.
“But why, Molly? You otherwise seem so put-together.”
I know, fair reader, and you’re completely correct but a little known fact about yours truly is that when I go to sleep, and consequently dream, the literal nightmares begin.
The horrifying, terrifying, sphincter-clinching nightmares that I have. All. The. Time.
Not night terrors. While I can’t really articulate it, I do know the difference. These aren’t just flashes of terror, they are full-blown story lines that would make Wes Craven and John Carpenter stop and say, “That’s fucked up.” In fact, that’s what my ex said when I finally told him, one tiny time, some of what my nightmares entailed. His exact words were, “That’s the most fucked up thing I’ve ever heard.”
I’ve done things about it. I’ve sought therapy. I’ve sought medications. I’ve sought out alcohol and Xanex (not together, I’m not an idiot). I’ve sought out the care of a Native American shaman.
For the most part, the shaman did the best work. Which makes me think that so much of my blood-chilling nightmares is either psychosomatic or truly a case of spiritual intervention. Both DO NOT lend themselves to making me feel better about it.
What’s better? To think you might be crazy or that ghosts are really out to get you? Either way, I’m fucked.
I’ve thought about writing some of them down but dreams are not interesting to anyone but the person who borne them. And, like I said, they’re fucking terrifying. The last thing I want to do after waking up sweating, unrested, and shaky, is relive the horror I just witnessed in full color and try to evoke that out of black and white to share with people who are clearly not making my hilarious blog posts viral. Not you. You’re awesome.
Anyway, I guess it’s one of those things that make me, me. And while you don’t get to live vicariously through my nightly horror, you do get to enjoy the daytime slippery ridiculousness that comes from someone who hasn’t slept well in 30 years.
And that is usually pretty funny.