yawn

So I finally got sleep again. I have read and read article upon article about how important sleep is and yet over and over and over again I stay up late and then regret it the next day. And then once in a while I stop the pattern of pointlessness and actually force myself to go to sleep around 11 and then I rejoice the next morning and then I’m happy all day and then…. Maybe it lasts for a couple days and then….. I stay up late again once I’ve forgotten what joy and jubilation I felt after having gotten sleep and I go right back to my old ways. I’m a recovering notgettingenoughsleep addict, only I have not totally recovered.

I have justified this pattern to myself over the years because I am a parent and the only part of the day that is truly ever mine is the last couple hours at night. And it’s true. Even though now my kids are growing up and don’t require as much from me? still. The feeling of absolute stillness only occurs around 10pm. And that’s when my hair finally comes down.

So I know that the only way I will break the chain of stupidity…. (not that I’m stupid. In fact, I really don’t like the word ‘stupid’ at all because people tend to use it too much meanly. But I like it right now so I am preemptively striking at ‘the editor’ who I KNOW will try to use it against me. take that!!!!! Slap slap smack sucker punch!!!!)….. is by touting the joys of sleep, of describing in excruciatingly detailed deets how good it feels to have gotten sleep last night. Woooooohoooooooo yayyyyyyyuuuhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Ok so here I am, sitting at my computer, and wherever I have been today – standing up, sitting down, walking – I feel this nice calmness in my stomach. A gentleness. Nothing GETS to me. as  soon as I see something almost starting to GET to me, I am able to deflect the barbs (or as the buddha described them, arrows of attachment) with humor. With a laugh. With stupid (nope!!! No jokes about the word ‘stupid’ allowed) joke. With a wonky look in my eye that takes the other person off guard who might be trying to offset my equilibrium and nothing NOTHING really bothers me. somehow my mind is able to maneuver through the steep and windy and twisty and turny and serpentiney offroad ATV driving narrow hairpin turn mountainous highway terrain of my daytime challenges and come out free and sassy on the other side. NOTHING gets to me. and I feel fine. And strong. And easy (don’t go there!! Editor!!!!). and relaxed. The follicles on my scalp are more relaxed. My mind comes up with weirder and tastier combinations of foods like putting pasta alfredo and tomato/meat sauce spaghetti on the same plate. I realize that my cat is even fluffier and more kissable (on the head!!!) than usual. And when people stand around waiting for me to finish a conversation before they need instruction (because I’m a director of a play right now and multi-tasking multiple conversations is the soup du jour de rigeur), it just don’t rattle my ass!!!! Normally, if I know someone is waiting on me to finish… that makes me very nervous and antsy and I feel the need to put on a song and dance to keep everyone entertained. But today? I didn’t care. I realized that the world goes on and it doesn’t need me to keep gyrating in front of it. that the world doesn’t depend on me entirely. That life can and will go on without me having to stick my finger in every pie. That I can let loose on the reins of life. That I do not have to be an Alfred hitchockian or steven spielsbergian controlling dicktoramus of a dictator. That other people can function fine and do what they need to do without my guidance all the time. That’s a hard thing to accept sometimes. Not being in control all the time. That it’s actually really good to let others do their THANG. Because, you see, my pendulum swings both ways (nuh uh, editor, nuh uh uh…) and I’m either too laid back at times (I know it – I admit it  and I’m not ashamed to admit it) or I can overcompensate at times by being toooooooooooooooo CONTROLLING so to find a happy medium and still not worry about others think of me is a pleasure to behold and experience and inhabit and embed and assimilate and to remind and remind and remind and remind and remind myself TO GET MORE FUCKING ASSHOLE GODDAMMIT SLEEP.14563366_10209509250701050_718826908145240181_n

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Sleep is my new drug of choice. I have gone without enough sleep for too fucking long. Seriously. For almost like the last 9 years – except for summertime (long story) – I have skipped on sleep in order to keep up with various demands for far too fucking long. I’m done with it. seriously fucking done with it. I am done because I realized the vicious cycle that it is. You don’t get enough sleep and then you don’t ‘perform’ as well the next day which makes you a bit grumpier about things than usual and then you stay up at night dwelling on shit that could have gone better because you want at least some part of the day to go ‘your way’ and thusly you don’t get enough sleep again and the cycle repeats. I’m not saying this is how my whole life has been the past 9 years but… there have been days like this. and it can add up. And…

The flip side is so much better. Actually getting sleep. Actually taking care of yourself. Because then you have the energy you need at the beginning of the day to get things done and to face whatever challenges come your way. and sleep deprivation is one of those things that people like to parade around with their ‘coolness’ factor. Moi included. “oh!!! I was working sooooo hard!!! I didn’t get enough sleep!!!” but the fact is you are a much cooler human being when you are a sane human being, a human being that can think creatively and not snap at the merest thing and getting enough sleep DOES THAT FOR YOU!

It’s not easy forcing myself to go to sleep on time. I want to catch up on all the things I can’t do when everyone else is awake and wanting/needing things from me. finally, late at night, nobody wants anything from me. the world seems to understand that it’s bedtime and people just need to stop making demands. It’s like a universal unwritten rule and I like it. I remember when I was in 5th grade, living in cobalt, Connecticut, and I remember the funny feeling of being awake late at night when no one else was awake. It was a bit of a scary feeling but also an exhilarating one. I felt powerful knowing that everyone in the house was asleep but I was still awake. I felt like the king/queen of the castle {even children’s games are gendered. Lord}.

You don’t realize how much you need something until it’s gone. Or been gone a long ass time. Like exercise. Like sleep. Like…. Duh!!! Sex…Like anything. You do without it for so long that you just get used to that icky, dried up feeling. And then, you get it. and like the sun coming out after day upon day upon day upon day of greyness and wetness and cloud cover, you don’t realize what a fog state your brain has been in until the sky is now clear and you can see farther than the end of your nose.

Sleep is like a drug. Sleep is a drug that I want to make sure I take every day. Sleep is the most underappreciated friend in your group of friends. Sleep is the secret sauce, the underground river leading to the fountain of youth. Sleep may seem pointless and it may feel like life is being wasted as you sleep it away but really… you’ll enjoy your life so much more if you get it. trite but true. And so easy to dismiss as being too obvious to spend any time thinking about it. but when I finally turn off all the gadgets and gizmos, turn off my lights, shut the door, lay there with my dawgies, look up at the night sky upside down through my window and feel the quiet and let my mind drift wherever it wants to rather than wherever it is being told to go, I am finally really free and I’m finally myself again.

rip

i can’t stress enough the power of opening your mouth and letting it rip. haha – not what you think. i mean… just opening your mouth and letting the words come out or typing and letting the words be typed without a plan or direction of where you’re going. i know in buddhism it’s called having an ’empty mind’ and i seriously think i finally know what that means in a nitty gritty way. when you really stop planning and controlling things, life definitely emerges the way it needs to in the most natural, effervescent, indubitably interesting and soul satisfying way that it can. life is so much more interesting unplanned, in my opinion.

a man came to my door yesterday. he came to fix the internet by replacing the modem/router. as if i know what those things do. anyway, as soon as i opened the door, he began praising and saying “yayying”1 upon seeing me again after several years since he had taken my class. i was embarrassed but also happy to have made an impact on someone. we ended up talking about everything important in the span of an hour. he told me about his family, his life’s purpose, the importance of civility and how ‘it’s really not that hard to be nice and if people just realized that we’d all be so much happier.’ and that ‘it doesn’t take much to be even just a little bit polite and respectful’ and ‘psychologists are great and all that but just being able to be your true authentic self with a few good friends is really all you need to refresh your sanity’ and more and more and more. while he calmly changed wires and removed old machinery and punched buttons, i stood there amazed that here was this person who was telling me that something that had happened in a classroom with 20 other people two years ago had helped him somehow. as my ego grew more and more massive – yikes! – i tried to explain that the whole reason i keep teaching and enjoy teaching is because i actually really learn a lot from my students, too. and the more i thought about it, the more i realized that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a teacher or not. you can learn a lot from every person you run into every day. even the most difficult person has something to teach you. and he agreed. and we talked about what it really means to be ‘enlightened’ and how he felt it was his destiny in a way to help other people ‘wake up’ to their potential, too. and on and on we went in our high falutin’ philosophical conversation. and i spouted how i read once that the more ‘deep conversations’ you have per day, the higher your level  of happiness tends to be. and so on and so forth. and then he left and i felt like i would probably never see him again but that’s ok. i would immortalize the moment somehow. and really what it all boils down to is…. we all have amazing lives, amazing stories to tell from our lives. and if someone ever stops to listen to our story, we may think that THAT PERSON is so amazing and we owe it all to them that we feel so good. but the reality is that if people just stopped and realized how amazing their own life stories are and shared them more often, they would be happier wherever they end up. it’s not just about getting a bigger and bigger salary. or a bigger house. or a nicer car. or newer clothes. or a cushier job. or retiring at 30. it’s feeling like the stories inside you are worth telling and remembering and that somebody out there is actually interested in listening to them. and once you feel that, then you realize that your time hasn’t been wasted.

a singing blog post

This time I am singing as i write out my blog post. Sometimes I like to sing and sometimes I like to talk. And sometimes I like to do accents to lift my spirits. Why don’t we all sing more than we do? Why do high notes make me feel happier? Why don’t we sing more? Why isn’t there a culture that sings to each other all the time instead of talking? I’d like to live in a world where people sing to make their points to each other. Wouldn’t that be nice? It would be so much easier to talk to someone when you’re singing because even if you’re telling them that they’re a ‘royal pain in the ass,’ it sounds much better because you’re singing about it instead. And if you had to tell yourself to get off facebook and start grading it would be much easier to listen to yourself nag at yourself. And it would be so much prettier and the airwaves would look nicer and the world would be brighter if we all just sang our thoughts out loud. Yes it’s true. I do believe it to be so. Does it really take much more energy to sing than just talk out loud? Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. maybe I have to push more air through my throat to sing? I’m not sure. I haven’t really thought about it. ok, I’m going to try to just talk again. Here it goes. I guess if I stop singing and just talk it doesn’t seem to take as much air to come out of my throat so back to singing… I think it’s a cardio workout to sing and that’s why it makes me happier because exercise tends to make people happier and that’s why I like to sing and that’s why I never did sports in high school because I was always singing on my guitar or in choir or to myself in the shower or in my room with the radio playing because I wasn’t hip enough to demand to have my own stereo system or I was in school which was really church because I went to a catholic girls school where we had to attend mass toooooooo much…….. and there was lots of singing there. So I did a lot of singing about jesus which didn’t necessarily make me happy but not unhappy either.

rough and not ready

sorry but i’m really going to do next to nothing to tidy this blog post up. I am in a particularly lazy mood and whatever drivel comes dribbling outta my mouth is spilling onto this page/screen. [‘spilling onto a screen’ just doesn’t have the same bite, does it? I will never get used to computers.]

anyway, thought of the day: sometimes I talk too much. sometimes not enough. maybe everyone feels this way but I feel it big time. all the time. I either don’t feel one smidgeon of inspiration to say a word to people and any effort to speak seems completely boring to me. or I can’t stop foaming at the mouth with my ideas and I pretty much obliterate anyone else’s chance to speak because I get so excited about what i’m saying. according to a recent article I read about ‘boring people,’ that sounds like I would qualify as a boring person: someone who goes on monologues (like i’m doing here in a blog) without much ability to notice if anyone is listening anymore or cares. or, the other extreme, someone who has very little interesting to say in most situations.

well, i’m one of those people who is anti-fads. when everyone started loving star wars, or star trek, or twilight, or harry potter, I go running/fleeing/screaming in the other direction. I can’t stand being part of a self-identified group all holding their signs saying that they are loyal to [fill in the blank of current trending novel/movie/celebrity]. something in me recoils. so… when it comes to social situations, I either am ready to be gung ho into it and stay on top of that wave and ride it all the way into shore (thus talking a lot and wearing myself, and probably everybody else, out) or… I give up and just bob up and down in the water out there, way out there, probably too far out there. now of course all of this is probably a distortion of my mind. it’s just me being self conscious and overthinking, but who knows. maybe there is some truth in it.

so somewhere in between… the give and take of a good conversation… somehow that passed me by growing up and i’m only just barely getting good at it now. it doesn’t help that i’m a teacher and I have to go on monologue like rants sometimes just to get all the info out there but I try not to as much as I can. I try to have dialogues with my students. basically there is something in me that is like a counterweight. when people have diarrhea of the mouth, I tend to clam up. I have little to no desire to outspeak them. i’d rather observe. when people tend to say next to nothing, I speak too much to fill up the void. that’s the essence of it really. I don’t know if that is a bad or good quality. should I be more aggressive about it and just jump on top of that wave and outtalk the talkers? or is laying low and letting people chill on their own and then speaking the best response? I don’t know. of course there are no pat answers. just a willingness to try out different ways of being and not getting stuck thinking that one way is the right way.

I was having a conversation with two people today. one who was domineering. the other who was very passive. I found it interesting that the passive person let the dominant person go on and on and spout all of their ideas. and then when it came time for the passive person to speak their mind, they surprised me by actually not simply absorbing the opinion of the loudmouth. I guess passive doesn’t always have to mean opinionless. it just means that you don’t care to share your opinion at that time. or, better yet, you’re formulating your own unique response in the quiet recesses of your mind and when the coast is clear, you will come out to play.

 

feeling good

This morning I woke up and didn’t want to move. And then I had to move. So I did. And I realized that the only way I was going to be able to keep moving was if I moved slowly, so I did. I thought to myself, ‘ok, I don’t want to wake up let alone make breakfast but at least I can do all of this shit at my own pace. Even if it’s a pokeymom pace.’ And that worked. I took back a teensy bit of control in my life.

I think life drags on when you feel powerless, with no choices anymore. So I’m trying to change that. I have a choice whether to wear the somewhat shredded pair of jeans but which are more comfortable to wear and yet less professional but kinda hipper at the same time… or…. the spiffed up looking jeans that don’t fit right but they don’t have worn out knees and yet they hug me too much around the waist and make me feel like I’m wearing grandpa pants up to my chest.

[excuse me for a sec while I go and change back into the slightly shredded but hipper pants].

[ok I’m back.]

Speaking of which, I am so lazy when it comes to buying clothes that once I find some pair of jeans that actually fit, I will go to any lengths to find that same pair of jeans online and order several more. Is it just me? Or does shopping for pants suck? I mean, you can buy a shirt easy. If it’s too big, so what. If it’s too small then you would just never wear it and return it. but with jeans, you keep hoping that they will eventually mold to your body or maybe that they’re too cumbersome to ship back or you like the style so much and they’re the right length and they sort fit your waist well enough. ok look, pants are just more trouble to return than shirts. They just are. I don’t know why.

Why am I talking about this stuff? Because it’s the little things that make you happy or not. It’s not the big stuff. It’s the little stuff. That’s why comedians nitpick and make jokes about little grievances we have about airplane rides or cats wearing booties on their paws. Little stuff can piss you off or lift you up.

When I’m teaching, people always want to ramrod right to the big questions. Nobody wants to take their time anymore to know a subject inch by inch. Detail by detail. We are all running short on time. Nobody sews anymore. Nobody cooks anymore. Ok, some people but so many don’t. fast. Fast. Fast. Everything is instantaneous. Nobody washes dishes by hand. Nobody writes letters by hand. Nobody walks five miles to school in the morning. Ok maybe some random forest dweller who is homeschooled but not many. So the only way to get back at ‘the man’ or ‘the machine’ or whatever you want to call it, is to slow down and focus on the little shit.

And so I try to although I can easily get caught up in the rat race too. It’s hard not to. I admit it. I don’t want to be uncool. I don’t want to be ‘slow.’ I don’t want to be last all the time. But what I’ve found is being last has its perks. You get to have the bigger picture. You get to be alone more, yes, but you also get a bit more peace on this earth before you end up down in it.

 

 

 

Attaboy!

[This is a poem because I never write poems.]

A poem to me is like an abstract painting.

It doesn’t have to make sense.

In fact the less sense the better because then your mind has to formulate new ways of seeing.

I stood around a fire.

Three people, including me, didn’t speak.

One woman with tattoos on her neck kept cackling.

The wine wasn’t free.

The hay bales were covered in plywood and the kids looked like they were having more fun than the adults.

It wasn’t a barn. It was a shed.

And when I’m dancing hard enough, I don’t need vino.

My favorite moment: a little boy kept grabbing everyone’s hands to form a linked circle of dancers. The circle grew and grew until we all were dancing together.

That boy is going places!