At best we get 8 hours of it—that blissful stroll through our subconscious as our body rests. Sleep is supposed to be a magical time when the body heals wounds and replenishes enough strength for the next day. Not for me. Almost every night my mind loops through scenes of heartbreak like a romantic masochist: old boyfriends, dying dogs, but usually Joel and I break up and I wake up feeling worse than before I went to sleep.
My body literally hurts when I dream of the sadness in his honey-gold eyes. It feels like there’s a boulder in my chest when I first sit up. My eyes are puffy. My brain whirls. But the worst symptom of a nearly-nightly nightmare is feeling the heartbreak get easier.
The first time I woke from a breakup I immediately crafted a three-page text about how much I love him and that I’m lucky to call him mine. By the fourth time, I was sending sappy youtube songs. But now, I’ve lost count. And now, I don’t do anything.
My bedtime routine became brush my teeth, drink some water, then punch my heart its squishy, fleshy face. After regular beatings it grew callouses—I feel them when I don’t feel anything beyond my hearts steady drum. My heart and my thoughts, both are suffering as my dreams stretch well into the waking hours.
- Am I dreaming it, or are our conversations becoming like a day in December? Short and cold.
- Am I afraid to get married, or is this like the dream with the t-Rex chasing me through a library? At first, I woke up with a racing heart and sweat on my brow but now it just makes me laugh.
I’m split between worlds. I want to be with Joel. And at the same time I’m grieving over the death of something that’s still alive, I think.
As if wrecking my relationship with Joel isn’t enough, my dreams have started to dig up guys from high school. You’d probably never guess it, because of my socially awkward and pessimistic aura, but I blazed a trail of broken hearts through high school and into my first year of college. It’s yet another thing I’m not proud of, but my mind always kept the awful conversations and painful memories safely tucked away—saving them for special nights like these I guess.
Maybe that’s the danger of fantasy. It adds another layer of life experience—real or really made up—to the ice cream cone that makes us who we are.
Note to future self: Do whatever it takes to keep track of what’s real, and what’s makebelieve. Otherwise, you might have a dream about your dog dying from a disease and pay $240 dollars to have your vet run all the tests and find out everything is perfect…
Yeah… Sorry about that…
I learned that dreams are not like Las Vegas. They, can, will, have, and do influence who I am and how I behave when I’m awake.
Banner photo by GoaShape on Unsplash