I keep having dreams that I confuse with real life.
I dreamed I was in a Zoom meeting with colleagues, saying things I would say in real life, and the next day I’d have to check my calendar and assure myself that no, I did not have that meeting yesterday.
I dreamed I was picking green worms from my nasturtium plants. The next day, I picked a green worm from my nasturtium. This would seem prophetic, except there are often worms on my nasturtium.
Even when I don’t remember my dreams, there are times in my day where I swear I remember having a conversation or doing something, but then have no evidence of, and wonder if I did those things in a dream.
For most of my life, I haven’t really remembered dreams. There are two recurring dreams I remember from when I was a kid. In one, I could fly, and could soar above crowds and people and look at them from above. I’d fly next to the ceiling fan with my teddy bear and no one could notice me. In case there was any doubt I’m an introvert. I still have flying dreams as an adult. These are not the ones I confuse with real life.
The second has vaguely to do with a boat on the ocean and an island and a cave. I’m sometimes alone and sometimes with others. This one is about being lost and found at the same time.
I’ve been remembering dreams more, at least in snippets, at least when I first wake up, during the pandemic. I’m sure I could Google if my medications have such side effects, or if it means I’m more or less anxious or depressed or stressed or traumatized or whatever. I haven’t been writing them down or telling them to anyone. I’m not trying to derive meaning from them. I mean, I have enough trouble with the voices in my head when I’m awake, let alone when I’m asleep.
I don’t know if I have these dreams overnight or during afternoon naps. Oh the naps. These are my current Janus. I love them and I feel guilty when I take them. I’m also vaguely concerned that maybe I shouldn’t need a nap in the middle of the day? Like, are they depression naps or I’m surviving a pandemic naps?
(Yes, I’ve talked to “someone” about them.)
If I don’t take a nap due to meetings or something, I’m fine. But I do love them. So then I’m back to a common battle for me: the line between indulgence (true self-care) and laziness (false self-care).
Lindsay Crouse recently wrote about this line in terms of running, which obviously resonates with me. The lesson is the same, though: you can’t wait around until you feel like doing something. The desire is in the action. As Crouse says, “Self-care isn’t doing nothing; that’s self-neglect, cloaked in excuses… For me, I discovered that maybe one way to deal with pandemic burnout isn’t going easier anymore — it’s trying something hard.”
And maybe the “something hard” for me is setting a 15-minute timer on my naps. That’s a good first step.
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